Senate Passes COVID Relief Bill Along Party Lines, Because Republicans Don't Care About Other People
It's over! Finally! Well, sort of, anyway! The Senate voted this morning to pass the COVID relief bill, bringing relief to the many Americans who are currently struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic, as well as to the businesses that rely on those Americans being able to spend money.
The final vote was 50-49, with all Republicans voting against, except for Dan Sullivan of Alaska, who was not present for the vote. Perhaps he had to wash his hair! The bill will include $1400 checks, funding for vaccine distribution, and money to help schools and colleges open up once our long national nightmare is over.
Via USA Today:
The chamber passed the bill following a session that began around 9 a.m. Friday and ended at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, after a "vote-a-rama" of proposed changes from both parties. The final vote was 50-49 with all Republicans voting against the measure and all members of the Senate Democratic caucus supporting it. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, was not present for the vote.
"This bill that we are completing now is the most significant piece of legislation to benefit working people in the modern history of this country," Sen Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said before the Senate passed the bill. "The people are hurting and today, we respond."
Mitch McConnell, of course, was a regular Mitch McConnell about it.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., countered that "the Senate has never spent $2 trillion in a more haphazard way or through a less rigorous process."
Seems like it was actually pretty darn rigorous. And he should be happy, frankly, because it's still less than many economists think we need for our economy to recover from the pandemic.
We all pay taxes (well, some of us do) and the reason that we pay them is so we can survive things like this. It sure would be silly (and counterproductive!) to spend almost a trillion every year on a military supposedly meant to protect us from international bad guys only to let a virus just lay waste to our entire country.
Unfortunately, even though Republican votes were not even necessary to pass the bill, Democrats didn't get everything they wanted, thanks to eight conservative Democrats who voted against raising the minimum wage. Weekly unemployment benefits will also be cut from $400 to $300.
But what it does do is pretty great and will be very helpful to people.
- Provides most Americans earning up to $75,000 a $1,400 stimulus check.
- Extends a $300 weekly federal boost to unemployment benefits through August
- Sends $350 billion to state and local governments whose revenue has declined because of COVID-19's impact on the economy.
- Allocates $130 billion to help fully reopen schools and colleges.
- Allots $30 billion to help renters and landlords weather economic losses.
- Devotes $50 billion for small-business assistance.
- Dedicates $160 billion for vaccine development, distribution and related needs.
- Expands the child tax credit up to $3,600 per child.
So that's nice!
The bill will now go back to the House, which will likely vote to approve (or not approve, but we hope they will approve) the revised bill on Monday. The goal is to get it passed and signed by President Biden by mid-March, before the current unemployment boost expires. Fingers crossed!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse