On Wednesday, the House passed the Biden-backed 1.9 trillion dollar coronavirus relief bill with President Joe Biden planning to sign the bill on Friday. Passing on party lines with a 220-211 final vote, not a single Republican voted in favor of what is described as a bloated and unnecessarily costly bill. Democrat Congressmen Jared Golden (D-Maine) was the lone Democrat to break party lines and vote alongside Republicans.
Entitled the American Rescue Plan, the bill includes $1,400 dollar direct payments to individuals with incomes under $75,000 per year, provides $350 billion in aid for states, extends unemployment benefits at $300 per week, and sends 130 billion to schools to support the re-opening process.
Despite passing, the upper chamber of the Senate did strip away a few key aspects from the bill, including the $15 federal minimum wage hike and decreased supplemental unemployment aid by $100 to $300 a week while adding further exclusions for the stimulus check, among other provisions.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) fawned over the bill as “one of the most transformative and historic bills any of us will have the opportunity to support. It’s one of the most transformative that I have seen in my more than thirty years in the Congress,” believing it to be “as consequential as the Affordable Care Act.”
House Republicans slammed the bill for its failure to address American needs and an exorbitant price tag without delivering significant relief as compared to how much taxpayers will be spending. As Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) noted on Fox News, the steep bill sends $1,400 dollars to certain individuals, but costs each American roughly “5,700 dollars,” and “if you’re not paying for it, your kids are.”
“This isn’t a rescue bill, it isn’t a relief bill. It’s a laundry list of left-wing priorities that predate the pandemic and do not meet the needs of American families,” lambasted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). “Democrats say they need $130 billion to reopen schools. But their bill only allocates $6 billion to help schools this fiscal year. Two-thirds of the total funding for education won’t even be spent until 2023 or later. But don’t worry, San Francisco will get their money now. The schools need to wait.”