Biden scores legislative win as Home passes $1.9 trillion COVID aid plan


President Joe Biden scored his first legislative win because the House of Representatives handed his $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bundle early Saturday, although Democrats face challenges to their hopes of utilizing the invoice to lift the minimum wage.

Democrats who management the chamber handed the sweeping measure by a principally party-line vote of 219 to 212 and despatched it on to the Senate, the place Democrats deliberate a legislative maneuver to permit them to go it with out the assist of Republicans.

The American Rescue Plan would pay for vaccines and medical provides and ship a brand new spherical of emergency monetary help to households, small companies and state and native governments. The invoice’s big-ticket objects embody $1,400 direct funds to people, a $400-per-week federal unemployment profit by means of Aug. 29, and assist for these in issue paying rents and residential mortgages in the course of the pandemic.

In short remarks on Saturday from the White Home’s Roosevelt Room, Biden stated he known as Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi to thank her for her assist and urged the Senate to take up the invoice shortly.

“I hope it should obtain fast motion. We now have no time to waste,” Biden stated, with out taking questions. “The folks of this nation have suffered far an excessive amount of for a lot too lengthy.”

Democrats stated the bundle was wanted to struggle a pandemic that has killed greater than 500,000 Individuals and thrown hundreds of thousands out of labor.

“The American folks have to know that their authorities is there for them,” Pelosi stated in a debate on the Home flooring.

Republicans, who’ve broadly backed earlier COVID-19 spending, stated a lot of the present bundle was not crucial, highlighting components akin to a subway close to Pelosi’s San Francisco district. Solely 9% of the overall would go instantly towards preventing the virus, they stated.

“It simply throws out cash with out accountability,” Home Republican Chief Kevin McCarthy stated.

Democrats pointed to a current Quinnipiac College ballot displaying 68% of Individuals supported the bundle, together with 47% of Republicans, with simply 37% of Republicans opposing it.

“This essential laws has assist from Individuals throughout the nation and the political spectrum, and but Republicans in Congress try to face in the way in which,” stated Jamie Harrison, chairman of the Democratic Nationwide Committee.

The Home vote amounted to a profitable first take a look at for Democrats, who maintain a slender 221-211 majority within the chamber. Progressives and moderates within the celebration who are sometimes at odds will face more durable battles forward on immigration and local weather change initiatives that Biden desires to push.

The president has targeted his first weeks in workplace on tackling the best U.S. public well being disaster in a century, which has upended most facets of American life.

Democrats goal to get the invoice to him to signal into legislation earlier than mid-March, when enhanced unemployment advantages and another sorts of help are resulting from expire.

The motion now strikes to the Senate, the place Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris could should solid a tie-breaking vote in a chamber the place Republicans management 50 seats and Democrats and their allies management the opposite 50.


Democrats must kind out the way to deal with a proposed minimum-wage enhance, which can should be stripped from the invoice as a result of sophisticated guidelines that govern the Senate.

The Home-passed invoice would elevate the nationwide hourly minimal wage for the primary time since 2009, to $15 from $7.25. The rise is a prime precedence for progressive Democrats.

Nevertheless, the Senate’s guidelines knowledgeable stated on Thursday that the wage hike didn’t qualify for particular therapy that enables the remainder of the invoice to be handed with a easy majority, relatively than the 60 votes wanted to advance most laws within the 100-seat chamber.

Pelosi predicted the aid invoice will go Congress with or with out the rise, and stated Democrats wouldn’t surrender on the matter.

It isn’t clear whether or not the minimum-wage hike would have survived the Senate even when it have been to be stored within the invoice. A minimum of two Senate Democrats oppose it, together with most Republicans.

Some senators are floating a smaller enhance, to the vary of $10 to $12 per hour, whereas Democrats are contemplating a penalty for big firms that don’t voluntarily pay a $15 wage, in keeping with a Democratic aide.

Efforts to craft a bipartisan coronavirus help invoice fizzled early on, shortly after Biden was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, following a sequence of bipartisan payments enacted in 2020.

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