A Congress riven along party lines approved a landmark $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Wednesday, as President Biden and Democrats claimed a triumph on a bill that marshals the government’s spending might against twin pandemic and economic crises that have upended a nation. The House gave final congressional approval to the sweeping package by a near party line 220-211 vote precisely seven weeks after Biden entered the White House and four days after the Senate passed the bill without a single Republican vote, the AP reports. GOP lawmakers opposed the package as bloated, crammed with liberal policies, and heedless of signs the crises are easing.
Most noticeable to many Americans are provisions to provide up to $1,400 direct payments this year to most adults and extend $300 per week emergency unemployment benefits into early September. But the legislation goes far beyond that, with initiatives making it one of the biggest federal efforts in years to assist lower- and middle-income families. Included are expanded tax credits over the next year for children, child care, and family leave—some of them credits that Democrats have signaled they'd like to make permanent—plus spending for renters, feeding programs, and people's utility bills. The measure also includes hundreds of billions for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, schools, state and local governments, and ailing industries from airlines to concert halls.
(Read more COVID relief bill