CNB News – The House on Wednesday approved President Biden‘s sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package in a starkly partisan 220-211 vote, sending the legislation to the White House and clinching Democrats’ first big legislative victory in the Biden era.
No Republican lawmakers backed the legislation, which will become law as much of the nation marks one year of lockdowns from the COVID-19 era. Just one Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden (Maine), opposed the measure.
Biden has said he will sign the measure as soon as it reaches his desk, with the White House saying he’s expected to sign it on Friday. The president is set to address the nation Thursday evening on the coronavirus pandemic.
The legislation was approved amid a wave of good news on the economy and the battle against the coronavirus.
After a year of masks and social distancing — and political fights over those restrictions to life — nearly 20 percent of the country’s population has now had at least one dose of a vaccine, and Biden on Wednesday is set to announce a new deal that will result in the delivery of 100 million more doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
A new report released Wednesday showed inflation is remaining low as economists expect growth to increase as more of the population is vaccinated and lockdowns are lifted.
Biden has said the U.S. will have enough vaccine for every U.S. adult by the end of May, and Democrats are hoping the new relief will give them a boost as they seek to show voters they can govern. Polls have shown the measure, which will provide $1,400 checks to millions of qualifying households, is broadly popular.
Unlike previous relief measures enacted last year, Democrats opted this time to forgo attempts at negotiating with Republicans and pushed the relief package through Congress along party lines using the budget reconciliation process that allowed them to evade a Senate GOP filibuster.
Republicans argue the use of a process dodging the filibuster shows Biden wasn’t serious about bringing unity, and House GOP lawmakers on Wednesday warned of the bill’s total cost.
But Democrats think Republicans will pay for their opposition to the popular bill. They argued on Wednesday that Republicans in the House would oppose anything Biden proposed.