WASHINGTON — The Senate passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Saturday, capping off a marathon overnight session after Democrats resolved internal clashes that threatened to derail President Joe Biden’s top legislative priority.
The far-reaching legislation includes $1,400 stimulus checks, $300-per-week jobless benefits through the summer, a child allowance of up to $3,600 for one year, $350 billion for state aid, $34 billion to expand Affordable Care Act subsidies and $14 billion for vaccine distribution.
The final vote was 50-49 along party lines, with every Republican voting “no.” It came after Democrats voted down a swath of Republican amendments on repeated votes of 50-49 to avoid disrupting the delicate agreement between progressive and moderate senators.
Before it can be signed by Biden, the legislation will have to be passed again by the House because the Senate made changes to its version, which Democrats approved along party lines last Saturday.
The vote was a critical early test of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s ability to keep all 50 Democrats unified behind a major piece of legislation despite being an ideologically and regionally diverse caucus.
“We’re not going to make the same mistake we made after the last economic downtown, when Congress did too little to help the nation rebound, locking us into a long, slow, painful recovery,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said before the vote. “We are not going to be timid in the face of big challenges.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blasted Democrats for taking a partisan approach and said the United States economy is “going to come roaring back and mostly not because of this bill — in fact, in some ways in spite of this bill.”
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