The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives approved Wednesday the $1.9 trillion version of the stimulus bill passed in the Senate, clearing the way for President Joe Biden to sign his first major legislative initiative in the coming days.
The legislation, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, was approved in the House 220-211 along party lines. No Republicans voted in favor of it. The bill extends the COVID-19 unemployment benefits booster at $300 per week until early September 2021, sends $1,400 direct stimulus checks to individuals making less than $75,000 per year, provides $350 billion in aid for states, local governments, and tribal governments, and also provides $130 billion for schools, reports The New York Times.
One Democrat, Congressman Jared Golden, voted against the bill — as he did when the House passed an earlier version of it late last month. Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR), who joined Golden in voting against the previous version, voted in favor of it this time around, despite his own self-described concerns about the “size and scope.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during the Wednesday vote that Biden expects the bill to pass, and plans to sign it on Friday afternoon.
During remarks on the House floor before the vote, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the legislation a “force for fairness and justice” in the United States. “This legislation is one of the most transformative and historic bills any of us will have the opportunity to support, it’s one of the most transformative that I have seen in my more than thirty years in the Congress. It is as consequential as the Affordable Care Act,” she said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) voiced strong opposition to the bill prior to the vote.
“This isn’t a rescue bill, it isn’t a relief bill. It’s a laundry list of left-wing priorities that predate the pandemic and do not meet the needs of American families,” said McCarthy.
“Democrats say they need $130 billion to reopen schools. But their bill only allocates $6 billion to help schools this fiscal year,” remarked the House minority leader. “Two-thirds of the total funding for education won’t even be spent until 2023 or later. But don’t worry, San Francisco will get their money now. The schools need to wait.”
A previous version of the bill was passed in the House, but multiple elements were changed or scrapped in the Senate, including a $15 minimum wage increase provision. The weekly unemployment benefits booster has been reduced by $100 per week, and fewer individuals will qualify to receive direct stimulus checks due to a faster phase-out.
As The Daily Wire previously reported: “Under the new direct checks rules, individuals earning less than $75,000 per year will receive a $1,400 direct check, as will couples earning less than $150,000 per year. But under the expedited phase-out rules, individuals earning more than $80,000 will no longer qualify for partial checks, and neither will couples earning more than $160,000.”