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At the end of an exhausting 25-hour-vote-a-rama on bill amendments, U.S. Senators voted to approve the third stimulus package — 50 yeas – 49 nays. On Saturday, March 6, 2021, President Joe Biden’s “Rescue America Plan” narrowly survived its passage.
During the long session, Republicans forced votes on numerous amendments to the bill. Anxious to offer the much-needed stimulus package, Democrats found themselves voting to approve the changes requested from across the aisle.
The Associated Press reports that “many of the rejected GOP amendments were either attempts to force Democrats to case politically awkward votes or for Republicans to demonstrate their zeal for issues that appeal to their voters.”
Due to the amendments, the bill now returns to the House of Representatives for its members’ approval.
The chamber has two options to approve the stimulus bill; representatives can choose to pass the Senate version, or they can “go into a conference committee with the other chamber,” writes Jacob Pramuk for CNBC News.
If the bill survives another House vote, most people who received the last stimulus check can expect a $1,400 payment coming their way soon. Also expected is a $300 weekly increase to unemployment benefits and another year of the child tax credit.
The stimulus package adds new funding for COVID-19 vaccine testing and distribution, rental assistance for those in need, and the cost for reopening K-12 schools.
Biden asserted the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus/relief package would be approved by Republican and Democrat Senators alike. However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) decided the country’s current economic climate did not warrant the scope of the Democrats’ so-called stimulus bill:
The Senate has never spent $2 trillion in a more haphazard way. Their top priority wasn’t pandemic relief. It was their Washington wish list.
As the American public knows, whichever direction McConnell leans, the rest of his fellow Republican Senators tend to follow. The two previous stimulus packages approved under the Trump administration with McConnell, the former-president’s cheerleader, cost more than the current COVID-19 package.
The former-president’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed by Donald Trump on March 27, 2020, for $2.2 trillion. There was a CARES Act stimulus extension approved by Congress for $9 billion and signed by Trump on December 21.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
AP: Biden, Dems prevail as Senate OKs $1.9T virus relief bill; by Alan Fram
CNBC News: Senate passes $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill as Democrats push to approve law before enhanced jobless aid expires; by Jacob Pramuk
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Larry Lamsa’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License