Senate votes on party lines to approve $1.9 trillion spending bill

Senate votes on party lines to approve $1.9 trillion spending bill

[Ed. – Less than 10% of it is for COVID-19 relief, so it’s inaccurate to call it a “COVID relief bill.”  The 50-49 vote reflects Dan Sullivan of Alaska being out of town for a funeral.  His vote would have made no difference, of course.  The House will take it up for final reconciliation on Monday.]

The Senate passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Saturday as Democrats rush to send out a fresh round of aid.

The Democratic-held House aims to pass the bill on Tuesday and send it to President Joe Biden for his signature before a March 14 deadline to renew unemployment aid programs. The Senate approved the plan in a 50-49 party line vote as Republicans questioned the need for another broad spending package.

The legislation includes direct payments of up to $1,400 to most Americans, a $300 weekly boost to jobless benefits into September and an expansion of the child tax credit for one year. It also puts new funding into Covid-19 vaccine distribution and testing, rental assistance for struggling households and K-12 schools for reopening costs.

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