After more than 24 hours of debate, the Senate voted in favor of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid package. The bill, because of the Senate’s changes, will now head back to the House for final passage and then on to the president to sign.
On Saturday, the bill passed along party lines 50-49. Not one Republican supported the legislation that will deliver $1,400 in direct payments to most Americans, extend $300 per week supplemental unemployment insurance, and help fund federal covid programs for testing and vaccine distribution. It also includes a $3,600 one-year child tax credit.
The Senate made last-minute changes to the House bill to appease centrist Democrats, such as lowering the maximum income allowed to qualify for stimulus checks. Now the checks will be phased out for individuals making $80,000 and couples making $160,000 instead of the House’s proposed $100,000 limit for individuals and $200,000 for couples. That means 12 million fewer adults will receive a stimulus payment.
“This nation has suffered too much for much too long,” Biden said after the vote. “And everything in this package is designed to relieve the suffering and to meet the most urgent needs of the nation, and put us in a better position to prevail.”
NEW: Pres. Joe Biden on passage of the American Rescue Plan: “When we took office 45 days ago, I promised the American people help was on the way. Today, I can say we’ve taken one more giant step forward in delivering on that promise.” https://t.co/TvqziFwAXc pic.twitter.com/AFkvfyn7OO
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 6, 2021
Sen. Ron Johnson, (R-Wisc.), whose delay tactics forced Senate clerks to read the more than 600-page bill on the Senate floor tweeted on Saturday that he “supports helping people” but voted no anyway.
Former president Obama congratulated Biden on the bill’s passage in a tweet and included a friendly reminder that initiatives like the covid relief bill are why “elections matter.”
“Elections matter — and we’re seeing why. Congratulations to the Biden Administration and to the American people on a COVID relief bill that will improve the lives of families across the country,” Obama wrote. “This is the kind of progress that’s possible when we elect leaders across government who are devoted to making people’s lives better — and a reminder of why it’s so important to vote.”
After the bill passed, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer celebrated on the floor with Georgia Sens. John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, whose electoral victories in January solidified the party’s majority and made passing this bill possible.
“There is no question that the people of Georgia deserve a great deal of credit for what happened here today,” Warnock said following the vote. “We simply would not be here had they not stood up in such a profound way in this historic election.”