In a win for President Joe Biden, the United States Houses of Representatives, early Saturday morning, by a vote of 219-212 mainly along party lines, approved a massive, $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package. The financial jolt is aimed at infusing much needed aid to businesses, families, individuals, states and cities who have suffered greatly over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only two Democrats joined with Republicans in voting against the measure. The bill now heads to the United States Senate which seems poised to revive their minimum wage increase push.
The Associated Press may have said it best in their coverage this morning. “Democrats said the still-faltering economy and the half-million American lives lost demanded quick, decisive action. GOP lawmakers, they said, were out of step with a public that polling shows largely views the bill favorably. Republicans said the bill was too expensive and said too few education dollars would be spent quickly to immediately reopen schools. They said it was laden with gifts to Democratic constituencies like labor unions and funneled money to Democratic-run states they suggested didn’t need it because their budgets had bounced back.”
Congressman Albio Sires (D – District 8) voted in favor of the resolution, saying “The COVID-19 pandemic has taken so many from us, sickened millions more, and devastated our local economies as well. The American Rescue Plan is a far-reaching relief bill that will bring much-needed resources to residents of the 8th District and across the country. Hard-working Americans who are struggling because of this pandemic can not wait any longer for this crucial relief. With over half a million Americans lives lost to this virus, and millions more struggling economically, the American Rescue Plan will lay out a bold roadmap of the road to recovery so we can get our people and economy moving again.”
Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (D – District 10) added, “Early this morning, I voted for the American Rescue Plan. It’ll increase vaccinations, get people money for food, help the unemployed, and get students back in classrooms safely. I fought to get New Jersey and 10th District communities funding they needed to survive COVID-19.”
The American Rescue Plan includes many relief measures to fight the COVID-19 virus and provide critical relief to the American people by providing:
- Billions of dollars in funding to increase testing and contact tracing.
- Authorization to mount a national vaccination program that includes setting up vaccination sites in every community across the country.
- Economic impact payments of $1,400 for individuals.
- Funding to extend unemployment benefits for those that have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
- $130 billion in funding for schools to use to safely reopen their classrooms for our students.
- Funding to support small businesses, the backbone of our main streets.
- Billions of dollars in funding for housing assistance, nutrition assistance, childcare, expanding access to affordable healthcare, and expanding tax credits to help families that are struggling.
Moderate Democratic Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon were the only two lawmakers to cross party lines.
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