House passes $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill with $1,400 checks, vaccine funding
By Sahil Kapur
WASHINGTON — The House voted early Saturday to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package, a step to implementing his vision for bringing the pandemic under control just days after the U.S. crossed the tragic milestone of 500,000 deaths.
The Democratic-controlled House voted 219 to 212 to approve the bill, which includes $1,400 direct payments, a $400-a-week federal unemployment bonus, a per-child allowance of up to $3,600 for one year and billions of dollars to distribute the coronavirus vaccines and to assist schools and local governments.
The vote split largely on partisan lines, with every Republican voting against the measure and just two Democrats joining them — Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where a provision to raise the minimum wage is likely to be removed. But the rest of the package is in good shape to pass as Democrats are using a process that doesn’t require Republican support.
If enacted, it would be the sixth round of aid from the federal government. The economy is still reeling from widespread shutdowns, and most Americans continue to wait their turns to be vaccinated. Democratic leaders want the bill to become law by March 14, when jobless benefits expire.