The Home Handed Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID Reduction Invoice
(Reuters) – The House of Representatives on Wednesday finally approved one of the largest stimulus measures in US history, a $ 1.9 trillion comprehensive COVID-19 relief bill that will give President Joe Biden his first major victory.
The move includes $ 400 billion for $ 1,400 in direct payments to most Americans, $ 350 billion for state and local governments, an increase in child tax credits, and increased funding for vaccine distribution. Forecasters expect this to accelerate the US economic recovery.
“Help is there,” wrote Biden in a tweet after the vote. The White House said it plans to sign the bill on Friday.
The approval by a 220-211 vote in the democratically controlled chamber came after weeks of partisan debates and arguments in Congress without Republican support. Democrats have called the legislation a critical response to a pandemic that killed more than 528,000 people and left millions unemployed.
“This is a historic day. It is the beginning of the end of the great COVID depression, ”said the democratic representative Jan Schakowsky.
Republicans said the move was too costly and full of wasteful progressive priorities. They said the worst part of the biggest public health crisis in a century was largely over and the economy was on the verge of recovery.
“It’s the wrong plan, at the wrong time, for so many wrong reasons,” said Republican representative Jason Smith.
The Democrats were keen to get the final bill on Biden’s desk for signature before the current federal improved unemployment benefit expires on March 14.
The House rejected an effort by Republican representative Marjorie Taylor Greene to delay the trial by asking for an adjournment – something she has tried four times since taking office in January.
The House voted for the forward plow between 235 and 149, and 40 Republicans, along with the Democrats, voted down Greene’s efforts.
Although many Republicans backed coronavirus support under the administration of former President Donald Trump, no Republican legislature voted for the bill in the House or Senate.
But the bill is popular with the public. A national opinion poll by Reuters / Ipsos March 8-9 found that 70% of Americans support the plan, including the majority of Democrats and Republicans. Five out of ten Republicans say they support the plan, while nine out of ten Democrats support it.
Legislation could be very important to both parties. If it can manage to give the economy a big boost, it could also improve the political fortunes of the Democrats if they try to maintain their small majority in Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
“We believe this will have significant ramifications for the American people, economically, politically and even for their trust in the government,” said Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer after the vote.
Only one House Democrat, Maine-based Jared Golden, voted against the package, saying the high cost puts the recovery at risk.
“Borrowing and spending hundreds of billions more beyond meeting urgent needs poses a risk to both our economic recovery and the priorities that I would like to work with the Biden administration to achieve,” said Golden .
Democrats have a slim majority of 221-211 in the House of Representatives and could afford to lose few Democratic votes without Republican support.]
The version, passed by the Senate in a marathon weekend session, had repealed an hourly increase in the minimum wage of $ 15 an hour through 2025. tightened the $ 1,400 direct payment eligibility, limited it to those earning less than $ 80,000, lowered unemployment insurance payments from $ 400 to $ 300 per week, and targeted a portion of the state and local government aid to smaller communities.
States that voted for Trump in November’s elections will receive more education and childcare per inhabitant than those who supported Biden, according to estimates by two congressional committees.
Republican residents who tend to have lower household incomes are also likely to receive greater incentive controls and tax breaks, according to an independent research group.
The massive surge in spending is seen as the main driver, coupled with an accelerated pace of COVID-19 vaccinations and a slowed rate of infection, which is rapidly brightening the outlook for the country’s economy.
Both private and public sector economists have raised their growth estimates, and Morgan Stanley expects economic output to grow 8.1% in 2021 this week. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Tuesday forecast that US growth will exceed 6% this year, compared to an estimate of around 3% three months ago.
Now that the COVID-19 Relief Act is finalized, attention is turning to the next round of key laws Biden wants to push forward, including massive infrastructure investments, immigration reforms and climate change initiatives.
While the financial conservatives reined in the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 bill, it might be possible to get a Republican buy-in for immigration and climate protection legislation in the Senate, said Paul Sracic, professor of political science at Youngstown State University.
But getting enough Republican support for Democratic initiatives to get them through will be challenging, and “anything that gets 60 votes in the Senate is likely to be a problem for progressive Democrats in the House,” added Sracic.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell, Makini Brice, Richard Cowan, and David Morgan; writing by John Whitesides; editing by Scott Malone, Jonathan Oatis, and Alistair Bell)