Biden Praises Senate Passage Of ‘Desperately Wanted’ COVID Aid Plan : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

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President Biden speaks from the White House state dining room on Saturday after the Senate passed its COVID-19 aid package by 50-49 votes. Samuel Corum / Getty Images Hide caption

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Samuel Corum / Getty Images

President Biden speaks from the White House state dining room on Saturday after the Senate passed its COVID-19 relief package by 50-49 votes.

Samuel Corum / Getty Images

In a remark after a split Senate approved its $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, President Biden praised lawmakers for securing the extra round of relief and thanked the American people for being “overwhelming” Support from both parties “.

The American Rescue Plan has been a priority for the Biden government and is ready to provide a new round of financial support to individuals, families, schools and businesses severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Measures include direct payments of $ 1,400, an increase in supplementary unemployment benefits, an increase in child tax credits, and financial assistance to state and local governments, schools, and public health efforts.

“When we took office 45 days ago, I made a promise to the American people that help is on the way,” Biden said. “Today I can say that we have taken another big step forward to deliver on that promise.”

Senate Adopts $ 1.9 Trillion Coronavirus Aid Package

The Senate approved the package Saturday afternoon through a 50-49 party vote that did not include Republican Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska, who was absent at a family funeral. The adoption came after more than 24 hours of debate and was greeted with applause by the democratic legislature.

The House must approve the final draft of the bill before it can go to Biden’s desk to be included in the bill. It will meet on Tuesday to vote on an identical measure, House majority leader Steny Hoyer said on Saturday.

“Obviously it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t always nice, but it was needed so badly,” said Biden in his remarks.

Stressing the urgency, Biden noted that COVID-19 killed more than 500,000 Americans, hundreds of small businesses closed, millions of people were unemployed, and families struggled to afford food and rent.

He said stimulus checks will come out the door “this month,” with more resources on the way to manufacture and distribute vaccines, as well as schools, local governments and the unemployed. He called the plan “historic” and said it could potentially cut child poverty in half.

Biden recognized the efforts and compromises required to win Senate approval and thanked a number of people including Vice President Harris, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and other Democrats. He also advocated widespread public support, saying, “Your elected officials have heard you.”

The move was passed by a simple majority under budget balancing and despite all the current Senate Republicans who voted against.

When asked about the lack of Republican support, Biden again replied that the support of the American people was “key.”

“And that will continue to seep through the public, including from our Republican friends,” he said. “There are a lot of Republicans who have come very close, they have a lot of pressure on them and I still haven’t given up on getting their support.”

Biden also denied progressives were frustrated with the series of compromises that led to the law’s approval. In particular, the original draft of the House Democrats bill contained a since-discarded provision to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour by 2025, while Senate Democrats agreed to lower the economic test income limit to meet demands from moderate party members.

In a series of tweets on Saturday, Senator Bernie Sanders called it “the most important law for the benefit of working families in the modern history of this country”.

Biden referred to Sander’s testimony in defending the compromises of the law, which Biden said did not materially affect his substance.

“I don’t think any of the compromises has fundamentally changed the essence of what I even included in the bill,” he said.

House Adopts $ 1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Plan;  Biden calls on the Senate

Senate Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell Saturday accused the Democrats of “exploitation”[ing] the crisis by being blocked by unrelated liberal policies that it couldn’t honestly pass. “Among other criticisms, he said that it did not contain enough money for vaccinations and” ignored the science of reopening schools. “

Senate Democrats used social media to greet the monumental legislation on Saturday.

“The American bailout plan is one of the most popular bills in decades for a reason,” Schumer wrote. “It is one of the most significant poverty alleviation laws in modern American history that will help millions upon millions who are just struggling to get through.”

Senator Raphael Warnock, one of two Georgia Democrats elected in a runoff earlier this year, wrote, “This bold piece of legislation was exactly what the Georgians were up to when they sent me to the Senate.” Many social media users applaud Stacey Abrams, who is widely credited for helping turn the state blue.

Former President Barack Obama congratulated the Biden administration and the American people on the aid package that “represents the kind of progress that can be made when we elect leaders across government who are committed to improving people’s lives – and a reminder of why this is so. ” important to choose. “