WASHINGTON (AP) - An exhausted Senate has narrowly approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.
The vote means that President Joe Biden and his Democratic allies have notched a victory that they say is crucial for hoisting the country out of the pandemic and its economic doldrums.
Final passage came after the Senate voted all night on a mountain of amendments. Nearly all were from Republicans and were rejected.
Party leaders agreed to restrict eligibility for the $1,400 stimulus checks that will go to most Americans. That amount would be gradually reduced until, under the Senate bill, it reaches zero for people earning $80,000 and couples making $160,000. Those amounts were higher in the House version. The package also expands the child tax credit up to $3,600 per child.
Under their compromise, $300 weekly emergency unemployment checks — on top of regular state benefits — would be renewed, with a final payment made Oct. 6. There would also be tax breaks on some of those payments, helping people the pandemic abruptly tossed out of jobs and risked tax penalties on the benefits.
The bill also includes $350 billion for state and local governments, but the $15 minimum wage increase was excluded.
Senate passage sets up final congressional approval by the House next week so lawmakers can send it to Biden for his signature. The huge package is Biden's biggest early priority.