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Third stimulus check passed: when will Biden sign it?

After resolving the internal differences with the Democratic party the Senate was able to pass the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Saturday.

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Third stimulus check passed: when will Biden sign it?
TASOS KATOPODIS AFP

Internal disagreements between Democrats had to be overcome for the Senate to finally pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Saturday. This ended a marathon overnight session that had put President Joe Biden's priority legislation at risk.

Senate passes stimulus relief bill: what happened?

With Republicans united in opposition, Democrats, who have narrow control of the upper chamber, needed the support of all 50 of their members in order to pass the package, and this has now been successful. It had looked in doubt as progress ground to a halt for more than 11 hours as Democrats negotiated a compromise on unemployment benefits to satisfy centrists, chiefly Senator Joe Manchin, who worried the massive package might overheat the economy.

With that issue resolved, and Manchin agreeing to support a provision backed by other Democrats that also allows the first $10,200 of the jobless benefits to be non-taxable for incomes up to $150,000. the chamber then voted on some of the hundreds of proposals to modify the bill.

Democrats voted down a Republican proposals that would have scaled the bill back to $650 billion; another that would have penalized states like New York that have undercounted nursing-home deaths; and one that would have required schools to provide in-person learning in order to get federal aid. The largest public health crisis in a century has killed more than 521,000 in the United States, thrown millions out of work and upended most aspects of American life.

The relief legislation includes funding for vaccines and medical supplies, extends jobless assistance and provides a new round of emergency financial aid to households, small businesses and state and local governments.

Opinion polls indicate broad public support for the package.

"We're not going to make the same mistake we made after the last economic downtown, when Congress did too little to help the nation rebound, locking us into a long, slow, painful recovery"

Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer

Senate passes stimulus relief bill: what next?

Now that the Senate compromises have been made and the package has been voted through, the revised bill will head back to the House of Representatives for final approval before it can reach the desk of President Biden. Democrats hope to get it to him to sign into law before some current benefits expire on 14 March.

On Monday, the House will vote on the rule laying out terms for the bill’s consideration. And then on Tuesday the House will vote on the bill.

The legislation includes $1,400 stimulus checks, $300-per-week jobless benefits through the summer, a child allowance of up to $3,600 for one year, $350 billion for state aid, $34 billion to expand Affordable Care Act subsidies and $14 billion for vaccine distribution.

Republicans have broadly supported previous stimulus packages to fight the virus and revive the world's largest economy, which has yet to replace 9.5 million jobs lost since last year.

But with Democrats in charge of the White House and both chambers of Congress, they have criticized this bill as too expensive. The White House says it could take years for the US economy to add back those lost jobs.

Washington got unexpected good news on Friday after data showed that employment surged in February, adding 379,000 jobs, significantly higher than many economists had expected. The US unemployment rate, while still high at 6.2% last month, was down from 6.3% in January.

Stimulus relief bill: latest news

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