The sun sets on the U.S. Capitol building, Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
By: Alex Hider
The House of Representatives passed a massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package Wednesday, sending the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk for final approval.
Biden is expected to sign the bill into law in the days ahead.
The bill will provide millions of Americans with direct funds — individuals earning less than $75,000 a year and couples earning less than $150,000 will be sent $1,400 checks from the U.S. Treasury. It will also provide an additional $300 weekly benefits to those on unemployment, expand child tax credits and provide state and local governments with much-needed federal dollars.
The legislation will also provide funds for mass vaccination sites across the country and re-supply federal stockpiles of both personal protective equipment and materials needed for COVID-19 tests.
The bill’s passage will mark Biden’s first legislative win as president and will come days before some key benefits passed by previous stimulus bills were set to expire.
However, the bill will pass without some key provisions Biden hoped to include upon its introduction. Democrats had hoped to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour in the original version of the bill but were forced to remove that provision to ensure passage in the Senate. Democrats also slightly scaled back unemployment assistance to ensure passage.
The bill is also expected to pass Congress with little to no support from Republicans. During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden billed himself as a president who would work across the aisle, and White House officials have consistently stressed their willingness to work with Republicans.
However, the legislation passed through the Senate with no Republican votes. Republicans have chosen to take a “wait and see” approach with stimulus and have argued the price tag of the bill is too high.
Democrats have argued that the stimulus is needed given that unemployment remains extremely high year-over-year and given that many benefits were set to expire soon.
Reposted with permission from WCPO 9 Cincinnati.