The legislation extends a federal bonus to unemployment benefits through August, elevating the amount to $400 per week. It also provides more aid to small businesses and allocates $75 billion for COVID-19 vaccinations and treatments.
The US House has approved President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which is now due to be okayed by the Senate.
Early Saturday, the House voted 219 to 212 to approve the bill, with every Republican voting against the measure.
“Tonight, Congress is taking action to crush the virus. We are putting money in workers’ pockets […]. As President Biden has said, help is on the way”, Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated, calling the legislation “transformative”.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, for his part, slammed the document as a “liberal pipedream”, saying the Democrats were “jamming it through in the dead of night”.
“Don’t call it a rescue bill. Don’t call it a relief bill. For the American people, it is a loser”, McCarthy argued.
The remarks come amid reports that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been conducting private meetings with Democratic lawmakers to forestall any last-ditch developments that might jeopardize the passage of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
While privately voicing confidence that the bill can pass the Senate unimpeded, Schumer is hoping to avoid any last-minute changes, sources familiar with the talks are cited as revealing by Axios.
Earlier, President Joe Biden made it clear that he would like the COVID-19 relief plan to be passed with bipartisan support, but added that the bill would sail through without Republican support if needed. The GOP is “just not willing to go as far as I think we have to go”, POTUS pointed out.
On 22 February, the House Budget Committee greenlighted the $1.92 trillion bill to carry out President Biden’s coronavirus relief plan in a 19-16 vote.
Among some of the bill’s biggest provisions are direct payments to households, similar to previous rounds of $1,200 and $600, now increased to $1,400.
The package also stipulates funding for the national COVID-19 strategy, increases in child tax credits, and an extension of emergency unemployment benefits set to run out in March.