Congress sends $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package to Biden's desk

The House of Representatives passed the bill on Wednesday, paving the way for President Joe Biden to sign it into law later this week.

Posted: Mar 10, 2021 11:35 AM
Updated: Mar 10, 2021 12:15 PM

By Clare Foran, Katie Lobosco and Tami Luhby, CNN

(CNN) -- The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to approve the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, paving the way for President Joe Biden to sign his top legislative priority into law later this week and deliver aid to most American households amid the pandemic.

Passage of the bill marks the first major legislative achievement of the new administration and a Congress that is now under full Democratic control, with narrow majorities in the House and Senate.

House Democrats passed the legislation on party line vote of 220-211. No Republicans voted in favor. One Democrat voted against the bill: Rep. Jared Golden of Maine.

Key features of the plan include up to $1,400-per-person stimulus payments that will send money to about 90% of households, a $300 federal boost to weekly jobless benefits, an expansion of the child tax credit of up to $3,600 per child and $350 billion in state and local aid, as well as billions of dollars for K-12 schools to help students return to the classroom, to assist small businesses hard-hit by the pandemic and for vaccine research, development and distribution.

In addition, the far-reaching legislation extends a 15% increase in food stamp benefits through September, helps low-income households cover rent, makes federal premium subsidies for Affordable Care Act policies more generous and provides $8.5 billion to rural hospitals and health care providers.

Democrats say that more government action is needed to shore up the economy, aid in the recovery and deliver relief to Americans who continue to be hurt by the pandemic.

Republicans, however, have criticized the plan as a partisan wish list of liberal agenda items that is not sufficiently targeted, and have so far put up a united front in opposition.

The economic recovery looks to be on more solid footing than it was just a few months ago, with more jobs added in February than economists had expected, though America is still down 9.5 million jobs from February last year.

How the Senate revised the legislation ahead of final passage
The legislation won final approval in the House after the Senate made a series of revisions to the bill and passed it over the weekend.

Notable changes made by the Senate include narrowing eligibility for stimulus checks, trimming the federal boost to jobless benefits and eliminating an increase in the federal minimum wage. The House had previously passed the bill, including the wage hike, at the end of February.

The checks will phase out faster than in previous rounds, completely cutting off individuals who earn more than $80,000 a year and married couples earning more than $160,000 -- regardless of how many children they have. The revisions made by the Senate will leave out about 7 million families, according to an estimate from the Penn Wharton Budget Model.

But the Senate kept the income thresholds the same for who gets the full payments: individuals earning less than $75,000 a year and married couples earning less than $150,000 will receive $1,400 per person, including children.

On unemployment benefits, the Senate changed the legislation to provide a $300 federal boost to weekly jobless payments and extend two key pandemic unemployment benefits programs through September 6. The first $10,200 worth of benefits will be tax-free for households with annual incomes of less than $150,000. That marked a significant change from the earlier-passed House bill, which would have provided a $400 weekly enhancement through August 29.

Finally, the minimum wage hike was removed by the Senate after the parliamentarian, a little known but powerful official, ruled it out of bounds under the reconciliation process that Democrats used to advance the legislation in the chamber with only a simple majority and no Republican support.

Democrats race the clock to pass relief
Democrats raced the clock in an effort to get the legislation to the President's desk as quickly as possible.

An estimated 11.4 million workers will lose their unemployment benefits between mid-March and mid-April unless Congress passes its next coronavirus relief package quickly, a recent study by The Century Foundation found.

Action on the bill was briefly stalled Wednesday morning when Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia called for a motion to adjourn, a move she has repeatedly used to disrupt the floor schedule and that has frustrated even members of her own party.

The vote on the motion to adjourn failed by a tally of 149 to 235 with a significant number of Republicans voting in opposition, the largest number of Republicans to vote against Greene's motion to adjourn since the Georgia freshman started pulling the move.

Biden told reporters Monday that he will sign the relief package as soon as it lands on his desk. "As soon as I get it," the President said when asked when he would be signing the bill.

The final vote in the House on Wednesday came after a marathon session of amendment votes in the Senate last week that featured an all-night "vote-a-rama" and a 12-hour struggle to get one Democrat to support the party's plan on a critical issue.

Sen. Joe Manchin's unexpected opposition last Friday to a Democratic deal on unemployment benefits ground action in the Senate to a halt for hours and prompted a furious lobbying effort with both parties trying to win over the West Virginia Democrat.

Democrats kept a Senate roll call vote open for 11 hours and 50 minutes, the longest in recent history, in an effort to resolve the situation, a sign of the centrist Democrat's power in the 50-50 Senate, where Democrats control the narrowest possible majority, and an example of how a single senator can derail the President's agenda.

Manchin finally agreed to extend $300 weekly unemployment benefits through September 6, and the Senate passed the revised legislation on Saturday.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 190804

Reported Deaths: 2528
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah37830583
Washington25279229
Marion21739306
Clackamas17107209
Lane12799145
Jackson10716135
Deschutes866973
Umatilla814084
Linn479867
Yamhill441175
Klamath430861
Polk369952
Malheur349861
Josephine330268
Douglas322070
Benton302619
Jefferson216734
Coos204633
Columbia170526
Union144423
Lincoln137020
Wasco137028
Hood River117930
Morrow110015
Crook106520
Clatsop9738
Baker94614
Curry6459
Tillamook6363
Grant5065
Lake4447
Harney3378
Wallowa1825
Gilliam621
Sherman581
Wheeler281
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3757115

Reported Deaths: 62280
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123542224008
Riverside2990644587
San Bernardino2965144697
San Diego2777593725
Orange2707055005
Santa Clara1188512085
Kern1089931373
Sacramento1041761672
Fresno1016251684
Alameda875851545
Ventura808421011
San Joaquin730091391
Contra Costa68503804
Stanislaus619161055
Tulare49554839
Monterey43563382
San Mateo41844568
San Francisco36616543
Santa Barbara34306453
Solano32752249
Merced31743458
Sonoma29975318
Imperial28352721
Kings22965246
Placer22550290
San Luis Obispo21282260
Madera16439242
Santa Cruz16188206
Marin14034228
Yolo13875209
Shasta12071226
Butte11943199
El Dorado10111112
Napa984981
Sutter9411111
Yuba622146
San Benito604863
Lassen569824
Tehama555358
Nevada470775
Tuolumne412364
Mendocino406149
Humboldt393539
Amador365147
Lake346743
Glenn238125
Colusa223016
Siskiyou218123
Calaveras212153
Inyo142638
Del Norte13678
Mono12804
Plumas7066
Modoc4954
Mariposa4457
Trinity3995
Sierra1120
Alpine880
Unassigned330
Medford
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 47°
Brookings
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 54°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 47°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 47°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 33°
Quiet Mother's Day Weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Saturday, May 8th Evening Weather

Image

Saturday, May 8th Morning Weather

Image

Friday, May 7th Evening Weather

Image

Oregon Dept. of Education: Grants Pass SD

Image

Friday, May 7 morning weather

Image

Oregon Dept. of Education: Phoenix-Talent SD

Image

Medford Police Livability Team begins the process of cleaning up the Greenway

Image

Thursday, May 6th Evening Weather

Image

Thursday, May 6 morning weather

Image

Wednesday, May 5th Evening Weather