Late Friday night, the House approved President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package by a vote of 219-212.
Two Democrats — Reps. Jared Golden (Maine) and Kurt Schrader (Ore.) — joined Republicans in voting against the bill.
The legislation provides:
• Stimulus checks of up to $1,400 for a single taxpayer, or $2,800 for a married couple that files jointly, plus $1,400 per dependent. Individuals earning up to $75,000 would get the full amount as would married couples with incomes up to $150,000. The amount reduces for higher earners with a cut-off at $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for married couples.
• $350 billion to state and local governments and tribal governments.
• $130 billion in additional help to schools for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The money would be used to reduce class sizes and modify classrooms to enhance social distancing, install ventilation systems and purchase personal protective equipment.
• Expanded unemployment benefits from the federal government would be extended, with an increase from $300 a week to $400 a week.
• $46 billion to expand federal, state and local testing for COVID-19 and to enhance contact tracing capabilities. Also about $14 billion to speed up the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines across the country.
House Democrats kept the minimum wage increase to $15 an hour in the legislation to make a point, but it’s not going to happen. The Senate parliamentarian ruled that falls outside of the process being used by Democrats to pass the bill with a simple majority.
Democrats hope to see the fully-approved bill head to Biden’s desk by mid-March.
More details at AP News.