The House on Friday approved a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, advancing President Biden’s agenda of boosting funding for vaccines and testing as well as granting financial relief to Americans.
On Saturday morning Democrats passed the measure in a party-line vote. Republicans all voted against the bill calling for a slimmer and more targeted relief. According to the Foundation of Economic Education, the newest relief bill contains $300 billion in spending that has nothing to do with COVID. The bill has several long standing issues within it that include Affordable Care Act subsidies and a boost to the federal minimum wage. In this latest relief package Americans are set to receive $1400 stimulus checks which some people have criticized as being less than the $2000 Biden promised originally.
Democrats have touted the bill as having large bipartisan support according to public polls but many House Republicans have criticized it from the beginning saying it is too expensive and ignores the $4 trillion in stimulus passed last year, some of which remains unspent. “This isn’t a relief bill,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Friday. “It takes care of Democrats’ political allies while it fails to deliver for American families.”
To pass the current relief bill the Democrats need a simple majority. Democrats and Republicans currently split the senate with 50 seats each with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie breaker. One obstacle the Democrats currently face is getting the votes of Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Both Senators have publicly stated they would be against any package that has a minimum wage increase. Without these two on board the Democrats fall short to only 48 votes.
ARTICLE: DUSTIN RODGERS
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: LOS ANGELES TIMES