The House of Representatives will vote Wednesday morning on the $1.9 trillion dollar Covid-19 relief package. The bill, which is expected to pass in the House, would include a third round of stimulus checks, an extension of unemployment insurance, and billions to fund testing efforts and vaccine distribution.
According to The Hill, the vote was initially scheduled for today. However, a delay in the processing of paperwork from the Senate, which approved the bill Saturday, resulted in the vote being pushed back a day.
The House had initially passed a similar bill, which the Senate amended in order to appeal to centrists. The amendments included reducing the unemployment extension from $400 to $300 per week, and lowering the cutoff rate for when payments will phase out ($80,000 per individual, $160,000 per couple).
Legislation resulting from the bill’s passage would also direct billions for education grants and PPP loans for small businesses and nonprofits, temporarily expand the child care tax, and provide assistance to low-income families with heating and electric bills.
Although the bill is expected to pass in the House, which is controlled by Democrats, it does not currently have bipartisan support. Republicans have opposed the bill, arguing that it is too broad in scope and that the provisions which directly address the Covid-19 pandemic are limited. In a statement following the Senate’s vote on Saturday, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) criticized Democrats for choosing to “ram through” a partisan bill, saying “Under the guise of providing Covid-19 relief, the Democratic leaders proposed a bloated $1.9 trillion package stuffed with provisions that have nothing to do with the coronavirus, from either a public health or an economic perspective.”
In an interview with NPR, Collins’ fellow Maine Senator Angus King (I-ME) called the Republican argument “nonsense,” saying, “There are really two pieces to this bill. One is directly related to the health crisis, but the other, and the larger piece, is related to the economic crisis that the health crisis has created.”
The Hill reports that President Biden, who campaigned on such a relief package, would sign the bill into law “as soon as I can get it.”