$1.9 trillion COVID relief bill approved, including $1,400 direct payments


On Saturday, the Senate approved President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.

The bill passed by a narrow 50-49 margin with every Democrat voting for it and every Republican voting against it, reported the Associated Press.

The measure, entitled the American Rescue Plan Act, will now head to the House next week for final congressional approval before being signed into law by Biden.

Following Senate approval, Biden tweeted his gratitude and eagerness for the bill to reach his desk.

“When I took office, I promised help was on the way. Thanks to @SenSchumer and Senate Democrats, we've taken one more giant step forward in delivering on that promise,” Biden wrote from the official POTUS account.

“I hope the American Rescue Plan receives a quick passage in the House so it can be sent to my desk to be signed.”

The bill includes direct payments of $1,400 to individuals earning less than $75,000 and couples earning less than $150,000, extends unemployment benefits, expands the Affordable Care Act, provides money for COVID vaccines and testing, and will send funds to schools, states, cities and other struggling industries.

“A new day has come and we tell the American people that help is on the way,” Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said prior to the final vote, according to Bloomberg. “This bill will deliver more help to more people than anything the federal government has done in decades.”

Despite Democrats holding a slim 50-50 majority in the Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris was not needed to break a tie vote as Alaska Republican Senator Dan Sullivan was not present.

The bill passed after the Senate had been in session for more than 25 hours and following an all-night "vote-a-thon," in which members vote on amendments to the plan.

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