House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed Covid’s massive $ 1.9 trillion aid bill as “historic” and “transformative” as the House prepared to give final approval to the legislation with a vote on Wednesday morning.
Joe Biden, who will be turning one year since the pandemic triggered shutdowns across the country with a primetime speech Thursday, has said he will sign the bill as soon as it hits his desk.
The House vote on the bill, which includes checks for most American households, comes after the Senate passed a modestly reworked version of the package on Saturday and will ensure Biden’s most significant initial legislative achievement.
“It is remarkable, historic and transformative legislation that goes a long way in crushing the virus and solving our economic crisis,” Pelosi said during a news conference with senior Democrats Tuesday afternoon, who took turns praising it. They said it was the historic nature of the legislation and its impact on poverty reduction in America. “I’m so excited I can’t hide it,” she added.
Several Democratic leaders compared it to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, saying the plan would not only “squash” the virus and the economic consequences, but would seek to address long-standing gender and racial inequalities in the United States. economy.
Smiling under her mask, Pelosi expressed full confidence that Democrats had the votes to pass the bill.
When asked about possible defections by progressive members disappointed that the Senate had reduced a version of the bill, initially proposed by Biden and approved by the House, Pelosi shook her head and said “no” repeatedly. The bill will go to Biden’s desk after Wednesday’s vote, he said.
In addition to the new round of stimulus controls, the bill also extends emergency unemployment benefits until early September, instead of March 14. It spends huge amounts on Covid-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments, while helping state and local governments and schools, helping small businesses, and providing large expansions of tax breaks and programs for low- and middle-income families. .
Progressives suffered setbacks, most notably the Senate’s removal of a gradual increase in the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour by 2025. But the measure has so many Democratic priorities that final approval was not in doubt, despite the narrow majority of 10 votes in the party’s House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, a vast majority of Americans – 70% – say they are in favor of the coronavirus aid package. Only a third of Americans said the legislation is too expensive, according to a Pew research survey.
Biden has said he will not attach his signature to aid checks for $ 1,400 expected to be mailed soon, a break from his predecessor, who last year printed the word “President Donald J. Trump” on payments of economic impact approved by Congress.
The next round of paper checks will be signed by a career official from the Treasury Department’s Office of Fiscal Service, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing Tuesday.
Psaki said the goal was to get the payments quickly rather than qualify them as coming from Biden.
“It’s not about him, it’s about the American people getting relief,” Psaki said.