Senate passes Biden’s massive $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus plan in 50-49 party-line vote
The Senate narrowly voted Saturday to approve President Biden’s sprawling $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus plan, giving the new president a massive legislative victory.
The party-line 50-49 vote came after a late night compromise with conservative Democratic kingmaker Sen. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, over unemployment benefits cleared the way.
An unusual round of applause erupted from Democrats in the normally staid Senate chamber as the vote total was announced just before 12:30 p.m.
“It has been a long day, a long night, a long year. But a new day has come,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “We tell the American people, help is on the way.”
The bill passed the evenly divided Senate by a one-vote margin because Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) had to return to his home state for his father-in-law’s funeral.
It now returns to the House of Representatives for final passage and then heads to the White House for Biden’s signature.
Biden’s top priority, the new stimulus bill aims to crush the killer coronavirus pandemic and jump start the still-struggling economy.
The bill provides direct payments of up to $1,400 to most Americans, money for COVID-19 vaccines and testing, along with billions in aid to hard-pressed state and local governments, help for schools and the airline industry and new subsidies for health insurance.
Republican lawmakers voted in lockstep against the bill.