After hours of debate, frantic negotiations and a marathon vote on many amendments, the US Senate finally approved on Saturday a $ 1900 billion plan that Joe Biden wants to revive the world’s largest economy, affected by the pandemic.
The bill was approved only by the Democratic Senate vote, by 50 to 49.
House Democrat Steny Hoyer said the text would be considered in the House on Tuesday before the final vote. In the majority, Democrats are expected to quickly approve it so that Joe Biden can issue it by March 14, before the scheduled suspension of unemployment benefits payments.
The US President welcomed the vote in the Senate on the plan that “the United States badly needs”, as he said, to get out of the crisis that was born from the Corona virus pandemic.
“We took a giant step” to help the Americans, said the head of state from the White House, who made this massive support plan one of his campaign promises.
“This bill will give more help to more people than anything the federal government has provided decades ago,” Democrat leader Chuck Schumer said before the final vote.
Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell responded by saying that Congress had never spent such much money “inconsistently or after such a dirty operation.”
The stimulus package includes checks for $ 1,400 for millions of Americans, as well as $ 350 billion in aid for states and communities.
It also includes billions of dollars to fight the epidemic, including $ 49 billion for testing and research, in addition to $ 14 billion for vaccine distribution.
The debate was paralyzed for more than nine hours on Friday by the opposition, as reported behind the scenes, from a conservative Democratic senator to a new clause on unemployment benefits, as a result of an agreement publicly endorsed by the White House.
Only after a call from Joe Biden and concessions did that Senator, Joe Mansheen, finally put his support for a new amendment, which would provide for the allowances to be extended by $ 300 per week until the beginning of September, instead of the end of September as originally planned.
This compromise underscores the tremendous power of a handful of moderates in the Senate without a comfortable majority. It is sure to make progressives shiver.
With 50 senators, as opposed to 50 Republicans, the Democrats could count on Vice President Kamala Harris’ vote in the event of a tie in the Senate, but they could not afford a split.
Republicans have opposed the stimulus package, which they believe is too expensive and poorly targeted. One of them was absent on Saturday.
“The American people strongly support what we are doing,” Biden stressed during a press conference. This is the message that we will keep, including our Republican friends. ”
Citing the memory of the Greatest Crisis of 2008, Joe Biden insists it is imperative to think big to push the economy firmly toward recovery, without the risk of a downturn.
And so, on Friday, the President tempered the enthusiasm created by the good employment numbers in the United States, a sign nonetheless foreboding an economic mini-boom in the spring.
The President of the United States warned, “At this rate, it will take two years to get back on the nails” and back to the February 2020 level, where 18 million people still receive an allowance, after losing their jobs or seeing a dip in income.
The bars and restaurants, which have suffered particularly since the start of the crisis, are more than they rented in the last month. In fact, the ban on serving indoor food has been relaxed in some areas.
The country’s companies are putting themselves especially on the battlefield for the announced micro-economic boom.
Since spring, consumption should really jump, driven by public aid that has been distributed since the start of the crisis which, along with reduced spending, has filled the bank accounts of Americans, especially the wealthy.
Thanks to the stimulus plan, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen responded in a statement on Saturday, “I am sure that when we get out of the pandemic, a strong economy will welcome Americans.”
The $ 1.9 trillion project will be the third unexpected aid plan approved by Congress during the pandemic.
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