The Senate passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill Saturday along party lines with not a single Republican voting in favor of the legislation after a marathon of a session.
Bloomberg’s Steve Dennis reported the amended bill passed 50-49 and sent it “back to the House, which still needs to pass it” after changes were made.
Amended $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed and sent back to the House, which still needs to pass it.
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) March 6, 2021
Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska was not present after he returned to Alaska for a family funeral, The Hill reported. In the absence of Sullivan, Vice President Kamala Harris was not needed to cast a deciding 51st vote. Republicans did delay the process temporarily by forcing the bill to be read aloud into the early hours of the morning.
After 27 hours in session, according to Fox News, the bill cleared all hurdles.
Democrats celebrated passing the partisan bill along party lines.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Saturday called the bill “perhaps the most significant bill to help the poor and working people in decades,” ABC News reported.
“I said from the beginning, we were going to power through. We’re not going to let anything stop us until we got the job done,” Schumer added. “Unity, unity, unity. That’s how we got this done.”
Do you support the passing of the nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan?
5% (2 Votes)
95% (42 Votes)
Biden, meanwhile, also issued a statement about getting the nearly $2 trillion package through the Senate and closer to his desk.
“I hope it will find quick passage [in the House] so it can be sent to my desk to be signed into law,” he said. “The bottom line is this. This plan puts us on a path to beating the virus, this plan gives those families who are struggling the most the help and the breathing room they need to get through this moment.”
Republicans were less than celebratory with regard to the bill’s passing without bipartisan support.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed the bill on Twitter as exploiting the coronavirus pandemic so Democrats can bail out poorly-run Democratic states.
“Instead of working together to fight COVID-19, Democrats decided to exploit the crisis by jamming through unrelated liberal policies they couldn’t pass honestly. A colossal missed opportunity for the American people,” McConnell tweeted on Saturday.
Instead of working together to fight COVID-19, Democrats decided to exploit the crisis by jamming through unrelated liberal policies they couldn’t pass honestly. A colossal missed opportunity for the American people. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/p321zYjGjU
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) March 6, 2021
The senator expanded on his criticism in a statement, noting: “The Senate has never spent $2 trillion in a more haphazard or less rigorous way.”
The legislation purports to offer immediate relief to families, schools, businesses and budget-strained governments. But the bill does not kick out some funds for a year, or even two years in some cases.
Families waiting for additional stimulus checks can expect them after the American Rescue Plan once more passes in the Democratic majority House — which will need to vote again after the Senate made changes to the bill.
The stimulus checks are expected to be $1,400 per person, ABC News reported.
Millions of Americans who received the first two stimulus payments are not eligible for this round, due to a cap on income. Those who will receive checks are expected to begin getting them before the end of the month.
The bill also adds expanded federal unemployment benefits of $300 weekly, $350 billion in state bailouts and $14 billion for vaccine distribution, NBC News reported.
Democrats were forced to abandon their fight to hike the mandatory minimum wage to $15 an hour after pushback from some moderate Democrats, leading to party infighting.
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