JUST IN – Senate Democrats passed their $1.9 trillion Chinese Coronavirus “relief package” on Saturday, sending it back to the House for expected approval in the coming days.
Democrats had to make several last-minute changes to win support from all of their members, as they say the plan is needed to get the country through the end of the pandemic.
The Democratic-held House aims to pass the bill and send it to Joe Biden for his signature before a March 14 deadline to renew unemployment aid programs. The Senate approved the plan in a 50-49 party-line vote as Republicans questioned the need for another broad spending package.
BREAKING: Senate passes $2,000,000,000,000 pork bill 50-49
— Jason D. Meister 🇺🇸 (@jason_meister) March 6, 2021
The legislation includes direct payments of up to $1,400 to most Americans, a $300 weekly boost to jobless benefits into September and an expansion of the child tax credit for one year.
It also puts new funding into Covid-19 vaccine distribution and testing, rental assistance for struggling households and K-12 schools for reopening costs.
“We will end this terrible plague and we will travel again and send our kids to school again and be together again,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said before the vote. “Our job right now is to help our country get from this stormy present to that hopeful future.”
Hey Chuck, 1995 wants its phone back. pic.twitter.com/eZeqw1EjNE
— Marsha Blackburn (@VoteMarsha) March 6, 2021
Final passage of the bill followed a vote-a-rama, where senators considered dozens of amendments to the package. Lawmakers, at times dozing at their desks or putting their heads in their hands, voted on changes through Friday night and into Saturday afternoon.
“This isn’t a pandemic rescue package. It’s a parade of left-wing pet projects that they are ramming through during a pandemic,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Friday.
Sen. Mitch McConnell: "We could've worked together to speed up victory, but our Democratic colleagues made a decision. Their top priority… was their Washington wishlist." https://t.co/cUgcXRTih7 pic.twitter.com/BBSlmSmgcu
— The Hill (@thehill) March 6, 2021
The House has two options to approve the relief bill. It can either pass the Senate’s version outright, or go into a conference committee with the other chamber.
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