Biden’s coronavirus relief package aimed at helping millions of unemployed Americans to deal with the pandemic has cleared a major hurdle as the Senate approved it on Saturday. Meanwhile, the lower chamber of the US Congress, which is controlled by the Democrats, is expected to pass the aid bill by next week.
In response to the approval from Senate, President Biden described it as a giant leap forwarding in delivering the promise to help Americans amidst the coronavirus outbreak. American’s biggest health crisis in more than a century has so far left 523,000 people dead, with more than 20 million total confirmed infections.
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Since the start of the pandemic, Biden’s aid bill is the third one that envisages giving $1,400 to unemployed individuals in federal benefits through September. Reportedly, the payments could start being distributed by the end of March. On the other hand, the Republican congressional leaders have balked at the price tag of the relief package.
Moreover, some Democrats had also expressed concerns over provisions, and eventually, Biden’s team had to make several compromises. The aid bill, dubbed by Democrats as American Rescue Plan, allocates some $130 billion to schools, and $350 billion to local and state authorities. Besides that, it also provides $49 billion for expanding coronavirus research and testing, as well as $14 billion for the nationwide inoculation drive.
Additionally, the spending bill includes grants for small businesses and targeted funds for airports, airlines, restaurants, and aerospace manufacturing. Even though the Republicans had broadly backed three stimulus packages when Trump was in office, they have criticized the cost of the new administration’s bill. Meanwhile, the narrow majority in the Senate meant that every Democrat in the chamber had to back the party’s plan, and the 50-49 tally along party lines was indicative of the widespread Republican opposition.
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