Senate Passes $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Package

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schemer (D-NY)

On March 6, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package after the Democrats kept the roll call vote open for 11 hours and 50 minutes. The final quorum ended with 50 yeas from all 50 Democratic senators and 49 nays composed of solely Republican senators. The final quorum ended with 50-49 rather than the 50-50, in which the Vice President Kamala Harris was going to cast the tie-breaking vote, as Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) was absent due to a family funeral in Alaska. Vice President Kamala Harris voted in affirmative as she casted the tie-breaking vote on March 4 in order to allow the debate in the Senate for the COVID relief bill (American Rescue Plan). The coronavirus relief package includes one time payment of $1400 stimulus checks for each individual with less than $100,000 and joint filers making up to $150,000 receiving one time payment of $2,800. Each child will also be entitled to $1,400 in addition to the payments received by the parents. Unemployment benefits will stretch up to September 6 with $300 a week payment. It also includes $20 billion for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, $50 billion for testing and tracing, $350 billion in local government relief, and $170 billion for reopening schools. President Joe Biden congratulated and applauded Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schemer (D-NY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and the Vice President Kamala Harris while giving his remark in the afternoon. President Biden calmed the American people, “Help is on the way,” and, “Look, the American people strongly support the bill. That is the key here. And that is going to seep through, including for our Republican friends.” Overwhelming support of 79% by the general public on the coronavirus relief package, with roughly 90% of Democrats in support and 60% of Republicans in support, the coronavirus relief package is in high demand according to the Pew Research Center. Even though the relief package has been passed by the Senate after intense deliberation, the components within the relief bill has been altered by the Senate from the one passed by the House as the moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and others worked to tweak several elements. The alterations to the bill are the decrease from $400 to $300 for the unemployment benefits, and the elimination of the highly contested $15 minimum wage. This $15 minimum wage was first introduced by the House Democrats with the support of President Joe Biden, however with the low popularity of the bill in the Senate Democrats, the $15 minimum wage has been tweaked out of the House proposed bill on Saturday. Even with the Democratic party’s infighting on the coronavirus relief bill, the Republicans flat out refused to support the bill with 0 Republican lawmakers in both chambers of Congress voting for the coronavirus relief bill. Notably Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) came out in opposition to the relief bill citing that illegal aliens in the United States should not receive this stimulus checks and that his amendment would prevent it. However, Senator Cruz was immediately rebutted by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) where he attributed that the system is same just as it was under the December stimulus check back in 2020 where illegal aliens didn’t receive stimulus checks as they do not possess social security numbers. Now, this revised bill will be sent back down to the House of Representatives for another vote to be then sent out to the White House for the President’s signature.

Published by Jungen Ono

In a world full of political biases and outright lies, finding the truth and objectivities must be our focus for a more bipartisanship in our daily lives. "The Truth Lights The Darkness" Jungen Ono

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