BIDEN’S $1.9 TRILLION COVID AID BILL APPROVED BY HOUSE
The House of Representatives gave final approval on Wednesday (Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Manila) to one of the largest economic stimulus measures in US history, a sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that gives President Joe Biden his first major victory in office, Susan Cornwell and Makini Brice reported for Reuters.
The measure provides $400 billion for $1,400 direct payments to most Americans, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, an expansion of the child tax credit and increased funding for vaccine distribution. Forecasters expect it to supercharge the US economic recovery.
“Help is here,” Biden wrote in a tweet after the vote. The White House said he plans to sign the bill on Friday.
Approval by a 220-211 vote in the Democratic-controlled chamber came with zero Republican support after weeks of partisan debate and wrangling in Congress.
Democrats described the legislation as a critical response to a pandemic that has killed more than 528,000 people and thrown millions out of work. But the bill is popular with the public.
A Reuters/Ipsos national opinion poll, conducted March 8-9, showed that 70% of Americans support the plan, including majorities of Democrats and Republicans. Among Republicans, five out of 10 say they support the plan, while nine out of 10 Democrats supported it.
“This is a historic day. It is the beginning of the end of the great COVID depression,” Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky said.
However, Republicans said the measure was too costly and was packed with wasteful progressive priorities. They said the worst phase of the largest public health crisis in a century has largely passed and the economy is headed toward a rebound.
“It’s the wrong plan at the wrong time for so many wrong reasons,” Republican Representative Jason Smith said.