House Democrats will vote on Thursday to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan and send it to the White House for his signature.
Democratic leaders said they received the legislation from the Senate on Wednesday after the upper chamber needed a little more time to finalize the bill. On Tuesday night, the House passed a rule by a 219-210 vote that allowed for two hours of debate.
Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York told reporters he was “110-percent confident” the large-scale relief bill would pass.
Many analysts, including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have hailed the legislation, saying it will turbocharge the US economy amid the coronavirus that has killed more than a half-million people and thrown millions out of work. Rep. Jim McGovern (Democrat-Massachusetts), said Wednesday the bill attacks inequality and poverty “in ways we haven’t seen in a generation.”
The relief package will be Biden’s first major legislative victory and one of the most sweeping stimulus bills in American history. It includes tens of billions for direct stimulus payments, vaccine distribution, an expanded child tax credit and recovery aid for state and local governments.
The legislation also will avert a lapse in benefits for millions that would otherwise expire on Sunday. No Republicans are expected to vote for the bill, believing it too big, too expensive and too wasteful.
Before Senate Democrats passed the bill last weekend, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy criticized Republicans for opposing the plan – by comparing it to the GOP-favored 2017 tax cut, which also cost $1.9 trillion, and the CARES Act a year ago, which most Republicans voted for.
“This is a unifying proposal in the American public,” he said, adding that Republicans are falsely claiming that most of the plan is not related to Covid-19.
After Biden signs the bill, the Internal Revenue Service will begin sending out $1,400 stimulus payments to individuals who earn up to $80,000. Couples who earn up to $160,000 will also receive a payment.
The White House said Tuesday that paper checks with the new stimulus payment will have one small difference than the previous two, which were sent last March and in December – they will not have the president’s signature on them.
“We are doing everything in our power to expedite the payments and not delay them, which is why the president’s name will not appear on the memo line of this round of stimulus checks,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.