A Congress riven along party lines approved the landmark $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill Wednesday, as President Joe Biden and Democrats claimed a major triumph on legislation marshaling the government’s spending might against twin pandemic and economic crises that have upended a nation.
The House gave final congressional approval to the sweeping package by a near party line 220-211 vote. Republicans in both chambers opposed the legislation unanimously, characterizing it as bloated, crammed with liberal policies and heedless of signs the crises are easing.
“Help is here,” Biden tweeted moments after the roll call, which ended with applause from Democratic lawmakers. Biden said he would sign the measure Friday.
Besides the rollout of vaccinations programs for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) worlwide, the $1.9-trillion measure is seen by the Overseas Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as critical for the recovery of the worldwide economy.
Most noticeable to many Americans are provisions providing up to $1,400 direct payments this year to most people and extending $300 weekly emergency unemployment benefits into early September.
“Today we have a decision to make of tremendous consequence,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat-California., “a decision that will make a difference for millions of Americans, saving lives and livelihoods.”
Republicans noted that they’ve overwhelmingly supported five previous relief bills that Congress has approved since the pandemic struck a year ago, when divided government under then-President Donald Trump forced the parties to negotiate. They said this one solely reflected Democratic goals by setting aside money for family planning programs and federal workers who take leave to cope with Covid-19 and failing to require that shuttered schools accepting aid reopen their doors.
“If you’re a member of the swamp, you do pretty well under this bill. But for the American people, it means serious problems immediately on the horizon,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican-California., referring to the added federal borrowing the measure will force. SOVEREIGNPH