Washington: President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package is a key step for a measure that would provide millions of Americans $1,400 stimulus payments, ramp up vaccine distribution and extend unemployment aid through the summer finally gets approval from the democratically controlled house.
American Rescue Plan is the name of the bill, none of the Republicans voted for it and two Democrats voted against of it.
The fate of this package is on the hands of Senators as the measure now heads to the Senate where it faces a difficult path in the evenly divided chamber.
By the response of republicans from the House it’s obvious that none of the Republican Senators are going to vote for the package, so the president has to count each an every senator of Democrats and one tie breaker from the Vice President Kamala Harris to make sure all the key points remains same in the bill.
Before the vote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “It’s a great day for us to take a vote to reduce the spread of this virus…put vaccinations in the arms of the American people, money into the pockets, children into the schools, workers back into their jobs, so that we can go forward,” the speaker also adds “I salute President Biden for his American Rescue Plan.” And showed her support towards this package.
The bill passed by the house would
- Extend federal bonus to unemployment benefits through August (the current benefit ends in mid-March) and bump up the amount to $400 per week. (Republicans want $300 a week through June).
- Provide most Americans with another direct payment — this time for $1,400. (Republicans have proposed $1,000).
- Allocate $130 billion to help fully reopen schools and colleges (Republicans are countering with $50 billion).
- Set aside $50 billion for small-business assistance (Republicans agree).
- Send $350 billion to state and local governments whose revenues have declined due to COVID social distancing measures (Republicans oppose any such “bailout”).
- Appropriate $160 billion for vaccine development, distribution and related needs (Republicans also agree).
- Allot $30 billion to help renters and landlords weather economic losses (Republicans oppose any amount).
President Biden and Democrats want the bill to be passed by mid-March, before the current unemployment insurance benefits provided in an earlier relief package expires.
Republicans are totally against this plan. “it is a bloated plan with unrelated policies.” Opinion of, Republican Thomas Jeffery Cole U.S. Representative for Oklahoma.
The House bill also includes a controversial provision to increase the USA’s hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by 2025 that proponents say is necessary to help the country recover economically but that opponents contend would force businesses to cut back. Aa minimum wage provision looks unachievable, Senate Democrats are seeking another way to raise hourly wages.
By Saumen Paul