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Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 package clears procedural vote in U.S. House

CoronavirusMar 09, 2021 06:46PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. Representative Jeffries participates in a news conference in the U.S. Capitol in Washington 2/2

By Makini Brice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to advance President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, clearing the way for the measure to be considered on Wednesday, when it is expected to pass.

The House voted 219-210 along party lines to advance the measure to a final debate and vote. No Republicans voted yes, and just one Democrat voted no. The bill's expected approval on Wednesday will enable the Democratic president to sign the legislation into law later this week.

Passage of the massive package, one of the biggest U.S. anti-poverty measures since the 1960s, would give Biden and the Democrats who control Congress a major legislative victory less than two months into his presidency.

The House will consider the legislation starting at 9 a.m. (1400 GMT) on Wednesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters. The bill was sent over to the House on Tuesday morning from the Senate.

Preliminary debate began on Tuesday afternoon.

"Today we are on the doorstep of history. We are about to send the most sweeping and progressive economic investment in modern times to the president of the United States," Representative Jim McGovern, a Democrat and chairman of the House Rules Committee, said on the House floor.

"This bill attacks inequality and poverty in ways we haven't seen in a generation," McGovern said, noting it included an expansion of the Affordable Care Act healthcare program, popularly known as Obamacare, as well as measures to cut child poverty in half.

But Republican Representative Michael Burgess said the aid was not well targeted, providing $1,400 checks to anyone making $75,000 a year or less, "including those who may not have lost their jobs or experienced reduced employment" because of the coronavirus. He said the bill provided $125 billion to schools "even if they remain closed."

During the debate, multiple Republican members repeatedly asked unanimous consent to call up another measure, the Reopen Schools Act, but were ruled out of order.

REPUBLICAN OPPOSITION

The Senate, where Democrats have effective control, passed its version of the bill on Saturday after a marathon overnight session. The chamber eliminated or pared back some provisions in an original House bill, including an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The changes the Senate made must be approved by the House before it can make its way to Biden's desk.

Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a member of the House Democratic leadership, told reporters earlier on Tuesday: "We'll pass it, hopefully with some Republican votes."

But Republicans, who broadly supported economic relief early in the coronavirus pandemic, have criticized the price tag of the relief package. It now appears likely to go to Biden without a single Republican voting for it in either the House or Senate.

House Republican Conference Chairman Liz Cheney told reporters on Tuesday the bill would result in tax increases.

"We are going to be saddled with a spending burden and a tax burden that is really indefensible from the perspective of what it actually accomplishes," she said.

Democrats hold a very narrow majority in the House, meaning that without any Republican support, they can afford to lose only a handful of votes by their own members against the bill. They lost two moderate Democrats the first time the bill went through the House, but one of those, Representative Kurt Schrader, said he changed his mind and backed the Senate-passed version.

Some liberal House Democrats have criticized the Senate's amendments. But Representative Pramila Jayapal, who heads the Congressional Progressive (NYSE:PGR) Caucus, told reporters she thought members of her group would back the legislation.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki has praised the legislation, saying that while there were some changes, it represented the "core" of what Biden originally proposed.

Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 package clears procedural vote in U.S. House
 

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Comments (16)
Viking Fire
Viking Fire Mar 10, 2021 1:06AM ET
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Sad how many trillions it cost to fix trumps “conservative” mistakes. Not as sad as the lives and families he destroyed sending them to the capital.
Red Riley
Red Riley Mar 09, 2021 9:42PM ET
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joke
Murali Brahmandam
Murali Brahmandam Mar 09, 2021 9:15PM ET
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There shall be one more stimulus package in 6 months
Brandon Olds
Brandon Olds Mar 09, 2021 7:15PM ET
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Terrible Socialists Dems and Mr Dementia Biden says he will create UNITY but he pushes through a bill w no Republican support.... Another LIAR POLITICIAN
Frederick Chotsky
Chotsky Mar 09, 2021 7:15PM ET
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We need more Badakathcare
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Mar 09, 2021 7:15PM ET
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so it's Bden's fault that no republican senators voted for a bill supported by 70% of americans?
Casador Del Oso
Casador Del Oso Mar 09, 2021 12:48PM ET
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The last stimulus package. If economy is improving so much then it should be time to raise business taxes and interest rates. Look out below!
George Jetson
George Jetson Mar 09, 2021 12:05PM ET
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I aware the arrival had Tuesday a few hours ago.
nuke dog
nuke dog Mar 09, 2021 11:50AM ET
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DOW 33k coming up!!!
Notvery Goodathis
Peteymcletey Mar 09, 2021 11:44AM ET
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We should never be able to pass laws on 100% party lines....
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Mar 09, 2021 11:44AM ET
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100% of GOP senators voted against a bill supported by 70% of americans
Jared Ryan
Jared Ryan Mar 09, 2021 11:24AM ET
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Creepy Joe looks confused. ****jobs and opening the border! Biden is off to a great start destroying America
Florian GROUSSIN
Florian GROUSSIN Mar 09, 2021 11:21AM ET
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Say hi to higher taxes and inflation! It’s just a question of time
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Mar 09, 2021 11:21AM ET
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funny when Trump signed the last 2 Covid relief bills totalling $3.9T you didn't seem to worry about higher taxes and inflation
Frederick Chotsky
Chotsky Mar 09, 2021 11:21AM ET
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funny when people made comments like yours about Obama, you called it what-aboutism
Edward Dominguez
Edward Dominguez Mar 09, 2021 11:19AM ET
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Everything looks great for the 2021 crash down to 2600.Thanks
Diketso Daniel
Diketso Daniel Mar 09, 2021 10:59AM ET
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DJ love try measrs
Ricardo Diogo
Rcd72 Mar 09, 2021 10:58AM ET
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print more! and more! and put dow on 65k! at least international paper will have orders
Cody Veal
Cody Veal Mar 09, 2021 10:28AM ET
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a year from know the wheels will be ready to come off of this rickety wagon.
Notvery Goodathis
Peteymcletey Mar 09, 2021 10:21AM ET
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"which is one of the biggest U.S. anti-poverty measures" What?! it's literally a blue state bailout with 10% or so for covid. it's buying votes. and once again screwing over middle class
Christian Lewis
Christian Lewis Mar 09, 2021 10:21AM ET
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Im middle class and im doing better than ever... blue state bail out? 🤣
Cal Lowe
Cal Lowe Mar 09, 2021 10:21AM ET
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Inflation will rise and taxes will be needed to recoup the spendings
carol ruszin
carol ruszin Mar 09, 2021 10:21AM ET
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Tax rate should increase for the top 1%.
Bill Melton
Bill Melton Mar 09, 2021 10:21AM ET
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Facts vs Ideology:The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (38.5 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (29.9 percent).The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid a 26.8 percent average individual income tax rate, which is more than six times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (4.0 percent).For ideologues it is never enough.
 
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