$1.9T COVID-19 relief bill clears procedural hurdle; House will vote Wednesday

Regional News

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The U.S. House of Representatives will take up the Senate’s version of the sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Wednesday, officials said.

President Joe Biden has said he will sign the legislation immediately, once approved. The final passage of the bill means the federal government should be able to launch the delivery of $1,400 stimulus checks almost right away, according to tax experts.

The House will consider the legislation starting at 9:00 a.m. EST on Wednesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters. The bill was sent over to the House on Tuesday morning from the Senate.

Later Tuesday, the House voted to advance the bill, clearing the way for the measure to be considered Wednesday, when a final vote on the stimulus relief is expected.

The bill would provide extended emergency unemployment benefits, direct payments of up to $1,400 for most Americans, and vast piles of spending for COVID-19 vaccines and testing, states and cities, schools and ailing industries, along with tax breaks to help lower-earning people, families with children and consumers buying health insurance.

The Senate passed its version of the bill after a marathon overnight vote Saturday. The Senate version eliminated or pared back some provisions included in the House bill, which had increased the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and extended expanded jobless assistance through Aug. 29.

The bill must be approved again by the House before it can make its way to Biden’s desk. The passage of the American Rescue Act would mark the first big legislative victory for Biden.

Like the Senate, Democrats hold a very narrow majority in the chamber, meaning they cannot withstand many votes against the bill.

Republicans, who broadly supported coronavirus relief early in the pandemic, have criticized the price tag of the Biden relief package.

The first version of the bill passed in the House without a single Republican vote. Two moderate Democrats joined Republicans in voting against that version. One of them, Representative Kurt Schrader of Oregon, said on Monday he would now vote for the bill with the Senate changes.

However, most Democrats back the bill, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer saying it’s integral to helping Americans.

“We tell the American people, help is on the way,” Schumer said. Citing the country’s desire to resume normalcy, he added, “Our job right now is to help our country get from this stormy present to that hopeful future.”

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The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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