US Senate narrowly passes $ 1.9 trillion in COVID relief legislation | News on the coronavirus pandemic


In a 50-49 vote, the Senate passes the amended version of the stimulus bill and will return it to the House for final approval.

The United States Senate narrowly passed an amended version of President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill, sending the bill back to the U.S. House of Representatives for final approval.

In a 24-hour session that began on Friday, U.S. lawmakers worked on a series of amendments on Saturday morning before passing the legislation through a 50-49 vote.

Republican and Democratic senators had argued on how long to extend improved unemployment benefits and how much to offer during the pandemic, which has left millions of Americans in shock and battered the nation’s economy.

The bill will be sent back to the House of Representatives for final approval next week, after which lawmakers can send it to Biden for signature.

“We are telling the American people that help is on its way,” said Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“Our job right now is to help our country move from this stormy present to this hopeful future,” he said.

The bill was one of Biden’s top priorities in the early weeks of his presidency, as he promised to enact an agenda to combat the growing pandemic and provide financial support to hard-hit citizens.

Last week he urged Democrats pass the legislation quickly, even without the support of Republicans.

The bill provides for direct payments of up to $ 1,400 for most Americans, extended emergency unemployment benefits, and vast stacks of spending for COVID-19 vaccines and testing, states and cities, struggling schools and industries, as well as tax breaks to help low-income people. , families with children and consumers purchasing health insurance.

Republicans had raised concerns about the bill’s high price tag, and some more moderate party members in January tried to get Biden to do so. reduce legislation – a request that was ultimately rejected.

“The Senate has never spent $ 2 trillion more randomly,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Their top priority was not pandemic relief. It was their wish list in Washington, ”McConnell said, referring to Democrats.

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