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House passes $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package in party-line vote

The bill faces a tough road in the Senate.

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House passes $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package in party-line vote

The House approved a massive $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, progressing President Joe Biden's top agenda item and providing more funds to colleges and companies, raise funds for vaccinations and testing, and grant financial aid to Americans across the nation.

Democrats passed the step early Saturday morning in a party-line vote, with Republicans united against the bill calling for thinner, more-targeted relief.

Reps. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., and Jared Golden, D-Maine, voted against the legislation.

The Senate is expected to take up the legislation next week, after the room's parliamentarian ruled that Democrats couldn't include a $15 minimum wage in the proposition over budgetary concerns.

House Democrats kept the supply in their own version of the legislation, which is consumed again until Congress could send it to the White House to get Biden's signature by the middle of March, when national unemployment benefits expire.

"This began almost one year ago," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said of this pandemic before the House vote. "Today's vote is a vital step in our fight to defeat COVID-19."

The American Rescue Plan would supply $1,400 stimulation checks to tens of thousands of Americans across the country and extend federal unemployment benefits through the summer. It would also provide hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to state and local governments, schools and vaccine and COVID-19 testing efforts -- in addition to nutrient and child care help.

While Democrats and the White House have touted public polls showing broad bipartisan support for the measure, and the endorsements of state and local GOP leaders, House Republicans are expected to vote against the bill as a bloc. For weeks, they've argued that Democrats' suggestion is too pricey and ignores the $4 trillion in coronavirus relief approved by Congress last year, some of which remains unspent.

"It protects Democrats' political allies whether it neglects to deliver for American families."

Americans"want us to really work together, to come together and resolve the issues in a bipartisan manner," Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, stated on the House floor. "I think that message was apparent. And the majority ignores it, the shorter their bulk will be."

What is to come from the Senate

Biden briefly engaged with a bunch of 10 Senate Republicans pushing an alternative to his strategy, but refused their 600 billion counteroffer as too meager, arguing it did not meet the moment and could cut spending on key apps included in his laws.

Democrats have advanced that the coronavirus legislation employing the budget reconciliation process, in a bid to avoid the Senate's 60-vote threshold and pass their bundle with a simple majority of votes, even provided the slender 50-50 split in the top chamber.

On Thursday night, the Senate parliamentarian advised the Senate the $15 minimum wage growth initially in the proposition would not meet the stringent budget rules of this reconciliation process and would have to be stripped from the package for it to pass with a simple majority.

Progressives faded in the ruling, together with some calling for Democrats to overrule the decision and others renewing their drive to finish the legislative filibuster from the chamber.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., declared they would give an amendment to the budget bill, as it pertains over in the home, that would penalize"large, profitable corporations" through the removal of tax deductions" if these companies do not increase the minimum wage for their employees to"at least $15 a hour." Both chairmen also stated that step would provide incentives to small companies to increase worker wages.

An alternative that seemed to have been taken off the table from White House chief of staff Ron Klain has been overruling Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate parliamentarian, something that would take 51 votes in the Senate. If all Democrats were united in doing so, Vice President Kamala Harris could cast her tie-breaking vote to overrule MacDonough. Va., opposing that action -- citing a need to protect the association -- the demand for Harris' vote seemed moot.

Many Republicans have stood firm against raising the commission throughout the pandemic, citing potential harm to smaller companies and workers, though a little handful, such as Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, have provided a modest proposal to increase the wage to $10 an hour while mandating that employers employ E-Verify, thereby blocking undocumented workers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats would still"absolutely" pass the package without the minimum wage growth, and members of the caucus reaffirmed their commitment to the problem on Friday.

"I am not going to stop till we get it," Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., said Friday.

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