They did it! After nearly 12 hours of debating the Senate has passed the $1.9 trillion relief bill capping off a marathon overnight session after Democrats resolved clashes.
The relief bill includes $1400 stimulus checks, $300 per-week jobless benefits through the summer, a child allowance of up to $3,600 for one year, $350 billion for state aid, $34 billion to expand the affordable care act, and $14 billion for vaccine distribution.
The final vote was 50–49 along party lines, with every Republican voting “no”.
Before it can be signed by Biden, the House will have to pass this again since the Senate made changes.
The House will vote on the Senate-passed version on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, early on Saturday morning, the Senate approved a modified Democratic unemployment insurance plan by a narrow, party-line vote.
Under the new plan, the federal unemployment benefits would be renewed at $300 per week through the first week of September.
The first $10,200 of benefits will also be non-taxable under a $150,000 income threshold.
Much of the back-and-forth in recent days has been over making small changes to the legislation on the margins — margins that, to be clear, will affect millions of people.
The president’s original plan was to extend expanded unemployment insurance through September and to pay out an extra $400 a week instead of $300.
While we would have loved to see $400 a week we are glad that the Senate has reached an agreement.
And finally, after the Senate passed the $1.9 trillion relief bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was confident it would pass.
Schumer stated, “Nobody said passing one of the largest- perhaps the most significant- bill to help the poor and working people in decades was going to be easy, particularly with 50 votes. But is done.”
On Friday, Senator Manchin’s opposition to a Democratic deal boosting unemployment benefits ground the Senate to a halt.
Schumer said the debate was “meaningless compared to the relief the American people are going to get. And if it helped us get to that, great.”