Biden’s $1.9tn Covid relief bill passes House vote

House passes covid relief bill
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it would be "catastrophic" if no bill were passed. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus relief plan to help Americans during the pandemic has been approved in the House of Representatives.

The vote was along partisan lines, but two Democrats joined Republicans – who see the $1.9tn package as too expensive – in opposing it.

The bill must now go to the evenly-divided Senate, which has already blocked a key element – doubling the minimum wage in the US to $15 an hour.

The package seeks to boost Covid-19 testing and vaccinations, and stabilise the economy.

The relief package would be extended as emergency financial aid to small businesses, households and state governments. Unemployment is close to 10%, with some 10 million jobs lost in the Covid pandemic.

The vote comes in the same week the United States passed 500,000 coronavirus-related deaths – the largest figure of any nation in the world.

President Joe Biden had appealed for bipartisan unity when he took office last month, but there was little on show in the early hours of Saturday when the Democrats scraped the bill through on a 219 to 212 vote.

Mr Biden has championed what he calls the American Rescue Plan as a way to help struggling Americans through coronavirus pandemic.

But Republicans say the plan is stuffed with Democratic priorities unrelated to the pandemic and it is unnecessarily large.

The divisions were reflected by the representatives.

“After 12 months of death and despair, the American recovery begins tonight,” Democrat Brendan Boyle said.

Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the Republicans in the House, said: “Democrats are so embarrassed by all the non-Covid waste in this bill that they are jamming it through in the dead of night.”

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