President Biden has scored a victory after the Senate passed his $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 relief package Saturday, after Democrats were able to approve the bill without a single vote of Republican support.
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The final vote passed with a 50-49 count along party lines, with every Republican voting “no,” though a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris was not necessary after Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) was absent from the vote due to a family emergency, NBC News reports. Before the President can sign the bill into law, it will once again head to the House because of changes the Senate made to the initial legislation.
The bill is expected to be approved in the House with no issue due to the Democratic majority that holds the Chamber.
So what will Americans be able to expect from the new bill? Though it was believed by some that Stimulus checks could equal up to $2,000 in total, the originally planned $1,400 (which, when added to the $600 payments approved in December comes to the full $2,000) is included in the package. However, unlike previous checks which saw payments go to single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000, heads of household earning up to $112,400 and married couples filing joint returns who earned up to $150,000, the House capped the checks higher, with a $100,000 income for individuals, $150,000 for heads of household and $200,000 for married couples.
After negotiating to appeal to more moderate Democrats, the eligibility for payments is now capped at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for couples.
Jobless benefits were also reduced to a $300-per-week benefit with the first $10,200 kept nontaxable for those with incomes up to $150,000. They will run until Sept. 6, and 100 percent of COBRA insurance coverage for jobless Americans will also be subsidized.
A child allowance of up to $3,600 per year, $350 billion in state aid, $34 billion expand Affordable Care Act subsidies and $14 billion for vaccine distribution are also included.
However, the planned federal minimum wage hike to $15 an hour is officially dead and out of the bill, after it was ruled by the Senate Parliamentarian that it couldn’t be included in the COVID relief.