Published: Thu, March 11, 2021

Joe Biden hails passage of huge coronavirus relief plan in US Congress

Joe Biden hails passage of huge coronavirus relief plan in US Congress

US President Joe Biden's massive relief plan is on track to cross the finish line Wednesday with a final House vote, stimulating an economy digging out from the coronavirus pandemic and offering a lifeline for millions of families. Polls this week are showing widespread support for the bill, even among Republicans who are not members of Congress. Republicans have been hurt by this COVID-19 pandemic as much as anyone else.

"This legislation is about giving the backbone of this nation - the essential workers, the working people who built this country, the people who keep this country going - a fighting chance", Biden said.

"This legislation represents the boldest action taken on behalf of the American people since the Great Depression", House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., said on Tuesday.

Biden called Pelosi "the finest and most capable speaker in the history of our nation".

"President Biden's American Rescue Plan has officially been passed by Congress - and that means $1,400 checks are on the way", the White House tweeted Wednesday.

Dubbed the "American Rescue Plan", the bill marks a defining victory for the Biden administration and its effort to navigate the country out of the year-long economic and public health crises that is the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, the bill passed in the Senate by a 50-49 vote following a prolonged marathon of late-night amendment proposals (i.e. "vota-a-rama").

The bill, however, will not include the $15-an-hour minimum wage provision backed by progressives following the Senate Parliamentarian's ruling that the addition violated the rules of the budget reconciliation process, which Democrats used to expedite the bill's passage. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

The bill goes far beyond the direct financial payments - which will cost $420 billion of the total package - and the extension of unemployment benefits. "That's why the American Rescue Plan was so critical", Biden said in remarks following the passing of the bill.

The next group to receive stimulus payments will be taxpayers who did not give direct-deposit information but whose payment information is available to the IRS from other federal programs.

Beyond support for individuals and families - including an expanded child tax credit, the bill allocates billions of dollars to schools and to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, testing and supplies.

It includes a set of measures that is estimated to slash poverty by a third this year and potentially cut child poverty in half, including an increase in the maximum child tax credit from $2,000 per child to $3,600 per child, as well as $20 billion in rental assistance and enhanced food benefits.

Congressional projections released this week show Minnesota is estimated to get close to $4.9 billion from the legislation's state and local aid portion.

Joe Biden signals that he will soon hit the road on a mission to sell the package to the American people. Biden is expected to sign the legislation into law on Friday, according to the White House.

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