WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives voted 220 to 211 on Wednesday to approve the massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that will find itself on President Joe Biden’s desk this Friday for his signature, reports say.
The vote to approve the “American Rescue Plan” was a party line vote, with no Republicans voting in favor of passing it, with many stating that Biden’s plan is too expensive. However, the bill, according to Democrats, will enable the country to recover from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild the economy.
Included in the bill are $1,400 direct payments to most U.S. citizens, a $300 a week boost in federal unemployment aid through September 6, and billions in aid for state and local governments, vaccination programs, schools, and rent and utility assistance. The bill also includes a “child allowance” worth $300 per month for each child under the age of six a family has.
An attempt to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, however, did not make it into the final bill.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the passage of the bill was one of the most important achievements she has been a part of since taking office.
“The American Rescue plan is a force for fairness and justice in America,” she said. “This legislation is one of the most transformative and historic bills any of us will ever have the opportunity to support.”
Republicans, including GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) complained that the bill was too bloated with priorities that focus on “liberal” agendas, unrelated to the pandemic itself.
“This isn’t a rescue bill. It isn’t a relief bill. It’s a laundry list of leftwing priorities that predate the pandemic and do not meet the needs of American families,” he said.
Despite the lack of Republican support, Democrats managed to initially pass the COVID relief bill through the Senate via “budget reconciliation,” which allows spending legislation to pass with only a simple majority, bypassing the typical 60-vote threshold. The bill more easily passed in the House, however, where Democrats enjoy a larger majority than the razor-thin margin they possess in the Senate.
President Biden is expected to sign the American Rescue Plan into law on Friday.