The House passed its $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill in the early hours of Saturday (27th of February).
Congress remained seated until early morning in order to pass this long-awaited bill.
What is included in this relief bill?
There are a variety of individual support benefits within this bill. They include $1400 direct payments for every adult and child earning up to $75k, unemployment benefits, and rental assistance.
There is also support for small businesses in the form of ~$284 billion for Paycheck Protection Program loans. Furthermore, ~$10 billion is reserved for childcare centers across the country.
There are plans to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2025.
~$68 billion has been procured for the purchase and distribution of COVID vaccines and tests. $20 billion of this will make the vaccine free for those who can’t afford to pay.
~$82 billion is reserved for funding of schools and universities as they prepare to reopen fully.
What’s the holdup?
Two conservative Democrat Senators and much of the Republican party have been squabbling with the Democrats over this bill for months, over monetary and logistical concerns.
To avoid a procedural roadblock, Democrats have been reconciling their bill in order to pass with a simple majority. This has caused concerns for some priorities, including raising the minimum wage to $15.
It has now been sent to the Senate, and House Democrats hope it will be passed by early March.
This would be the first substantial bill of Biden’s presidency.
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