WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress has sent President Joe Biden the landmark $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.
The House approved the bill Wednesday over solid Republican opposition in a vote that gives the new president and Democrats a victory just seven weeks after he took office.
The 628-page measure represents Democrats’ effort to bridle the catastrophic pandemic and revive the enfeebled economy.
Republicans say the measure is bloated, crammed with liberal policies and heedless of signs the dual crises are easing.
The Senate passed the measure over unanimous Republican opposition four days ago.
The bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks, additional $300 in weekly unemployment benefits, child tax credit of up to $3,600 for one year and $14 billion for vaccine distribution.
U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19, voted yes to passing the bill, saying it will bring much-needed relief to families in his district.
“The American Rescue Plan will get shots in residents' arms, money in pockets, kids in school, open signs on Main Street, and dollars directly to local governments,” said Delgado. “Last week, I met with over 100 local officials who desperately need federal support. Today, I am honored and humbled that my bill to deliver this long overdue funding to counties, cities, towns, and villages is headed to the president’s desk along with meaningful relief for families, farmers, small business owners, students, school districts, and veterans. I am proud to have advocated for our local leaders in Washington and played an instrumental role in the crafting of the American Rescue Plan.”
U.S Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-22, voted no on the bill, saying too much of the funding is going toward programs unrelated to the pandemic.
"I'm deeply disappointed that only a small fraction of this massive bill – about 9% – is focused on key health policies like testing, vaccine development and distribution, and additional resources for healthcare providers," she said. "These priorities will actually allow us to open our economy faster, get Americans back to work, and further reduce unemployment. I also fear, along with economists on both sides of the aisle, that this massive bill will lead to significantly higher inflation that will hurt working New York families in the long run."