Senate passes $ 1.9 trillion relief bill after marathon votes (3)

President Joe bidenThe signature $ 1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill was passed by the Senate 50-49 on Saturday following a marathon of more than 25 hours of amendment votes that ended after the Democrats have settled an intra-party dispute over unemployment assistance.

The measure, the American Rescue Plan Act, now returns to the House, where the majority leader Steny Hoyer said a vote would take place on Tuesday. Although some progressives in the House have complained about the changes brought about by the Senate, none so far has threatened to withhold votes. Democrats aim to get it enacted next week.

What’s in the $ 1.9 trillion stimulus bill passed by the Senate?

The enactment of the second-largest stimulus bill in U.S. history would give Biden his first legislative victory and set the stage for work this spring on a massive infrastructure and manufacturing stimulus bill that He wishes.

“As difficult as this moment is, there are better days ahead – there really are,” Biden said in the White House after the Senate acted. “It has never been a good bet to bet against America.”

The bill would provide the biggest expansion in health care since the Affordable Care Act, a temporary plan to lower child poverty rates and soon send $ 1,400 to millions of Americans. In addition, state and local governments are expected to receive more than $ 350 billion in aid and schools would benefit from an infusion of funds, which Democrats hope will propel a faster economic recovery long before they face the challenges. voters in 2022.

It would provide $ 300 per week in additional UI assistance until September 6 and make the first $ 10,200 of UI benefits tax-free for households with incomes below $ 150,000.

The legislation provides $ 160 billion for vaccines and testing programs to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The Senate also passed a bipartisan amendment from the Republican Party Lisa Murkowski from Alaska and Democrat Joe manchin of West Virginia to dedicate $ 800 million to tackle youth homelessness.

Economists have boosted forecasts for growth thanks to the expected passage of the stimulus bill, as well as recent evidence that the economy is already accelerating. Gross domestic product will post a gain of 5.5% this year – the best since “Morning in america”1984 – according to Bloomberg’s latest monthly survey of economists.

What Bloomberg Economics Says …

The package is large enough to close the gap in US GDP from the pre-pandemic trend by mid-year. A new high point in GDP will not coincide with a full recovery in the labor market. As of February, 9.5 million Americans were still out of work.

– Andrew Husby, economist

Click here for the full report

Overall, the legislation is double the size of the Obama-stimulus era and has exceeded many previous Wall Street estimates of how big a package Democrats could adopt with the smallest leeway. Its size is only eclipsed by the $ 2.2 trillion pandemic assistance plan adopted a year ago.

The Democratic Senate campaign on Friday stagnated for nearly 12 hours after Manchin – a pivotal 50-50 Senate vote – hesitated on an amendment to extend additional unemployment benefits until October.

As Republicans tried to lure Manchin to vote for a senator’s proposal Rob portman Ohio who would only extend benefits until July 18, Biden’s Democrats furiously lobbied Manchin and reworked their previous plan to gain his support.

Negotiations over this amendment sparked a separate minimum wage vote that set a record for the longest vote in Senate history, dragging on for nearly 12 hours as Democrats tried to keep their caucus united. Ultimately, the provision was left out of legislation due to the Senate’s obscure budget rules.

Despite this misstep, the move was a major victory for the Senate Majority Leader Chuck schumer, which aimed to show that Democrats could wield power despite the Senate’s 50-50 split.

The deals he negotiated on stimulus payments and unemployment assistance, along with the addition of a dozen smaller changes, allowed moderate Democrats like Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema were on board with progressives like the Senate finance chairman Ron Wyden. It may also help in the House, where progressives were already angry with the loss of the minimum wage provision.

Democrats united to reject Republican amendments on limiting state and local aid; restrict funding for abortion; ban aid to schools that have trans athletes or that do not open 5 days a week; and end aid to minority farmers, among others

Schumer said the vote showed Republicans that if they don’t negotiate, Democrats are ready to act on their own.

“Now they know we mean it,” he said at a press conference after the vote. “With every important vote, every Democrat stood in solidarity. “

The passage of the stimulus was made possible by the upset victories in the second round of the January elections of two Democratic senators from Georgia, which gave the Democrats a very slim majority.

“The Georgian people deserve great credit for what happened here today. If they had not stood up so forcefully on this historic election day and sent Jon osoff and myself in the Senate, we just would not be here today, ”said Senator Raphael Warnock told reporters.

Read more: US economy ready to leap with stimulus and expand vaccines

Republicans were also united in opposition. They argued that much of the measure is unnecessary given improving economic indicators, such as Friday’s stronger than expected. jobs report, and that it is a danger to the long-term health of the economy because of the growing budget deficit in the United States. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the deficit to reach $ 2.3 trillion this year before passage of the new bill adds another $ 1.2 trillion to that total for fiscal 2021.

“The Senate has never spent $ 2,000 billion more haphazardly,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch mcconnell noted.

The bill will send payments of $ 1,400 to people earning up to $ 75,000 and couples earning up to $ 150,000 based on 2019 or 2020 tax returns. Payments are waived entirely for people earning $ 80,000 and couples earning $ 160,000. These are weaker phase-outs than in the original bill passed by the House.

The unemployment insurance provision also extends benefits to self-employed and temporary workers, as well as those who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits. It also includes tax relief on the first $ 10,200 in unemployment benefits for household workers earning up to $ 150,000 per year. The change will prevent many people from receiving surprise IRS bills this spring.

The additional round of stimulus checks for millions of Americans, combined with additional unemployment benefits and accelerated vaccinations, are expected to help support economic growth throughout the year, said Stephane stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC.

The stimulus “will give a dose of adrenaline for a short period of time,” Stanley said. He noted that “it’s kind of going to fade away, and the most basic aspect of things, which is just opening up and reverting to something closer to the norm of pre-pandemic activity, should go into action”.

(Updates with the economist’s comment in the last two paragraphs. A previous version corrected a party reference in a paraphrase in the 14th paragraph.)

–With the help of Laura Davison and Kate queram.

To contact journalists on this story:
Erik Wasson in Washington at [email protected];
Steven T. Dennis in Washington at [email protected];
Laura Litvan in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Joe sobczyk at [email protected]

Jon morgan

© 2021 Bloomberg LP All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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