President Biden passes the COVID-19 Relief Package, despite criticism by his colleagues.
- Joe Biden; President of the United States
- Kamala Harris; Vice President of the United States
- Nancy Pelosi; Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
- Mitch McConnell; Senate Minority Leader
- The United States Congress
- The United States Senate
What is the U.S. COVID-19 Relief Package?
The United States COVID-19 Relief Package is a $1.9 trillion dollar package that will provide direct funding for the citizens of the United States and other programs. In the relief package, President Biden promised funding for independent restaurants, rental assistance, school re-openings, farmers of the BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of colour) community, rural healthcare, and, the star of the bill, a fourteen-hundred-dollar stimulus check for citizens of the United States.
This package is something that touches on President Biden and Vice President Harris’ key campaign promises to unite the country and start the United States again following the Trump Administration’s departure.
Why is this package important for American families and the country?
After a year of suffering in America, a package is finally passed that will give direct funding toward small businesses, healthcare, and overall, families. By delivering a stimulus package to those who are eligible, America’s economy will get back on track and jobs will be saved.
It is also important to note that this package includes funding for other sectors such as the food industry and agriculture industry. It covers a wide range of categories and will assist those in need in those sectors.
When did the package pass in Senate?
For the package to head to Congress, it first had to be addressed in the Senate. However, Senate Republicans did not make it easy for this bill to pass. As a last resort against the Biden Administration, the minority Republicans, led by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KN), failed to adopt three dozen amendments to the bill, making the Senate session last into deep hours of the night. It finally passed on March 6, 2021.
In the end, the Democratic majority passed the bill with a 50-49 lead without requiring any support from the GOP. On this matter, several Democratic senators were pleased. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) stated that “God only knows that millions and millions of families desperately need that boost [from the stimulus checks.].”
On the other side of the spectrum, many Republicans have openly criticized the bill. Senate Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KT) have stated that “They [the Democrats] want to send wheelbarrows of cash to state and local bureaucrats to bail out mismanagement from before the pandemic… They’re changing the previous bipartisan funding formula in ways that will especially bias the money toward big blue states.” The Republicans, led by Senator McConnell, have expressed concern for this bill in general, in what was supposed to be a bipartisan “American Rescue Plan” by President Biden.
Another comment is that the bill does lots to support people of color, but less for white American workers. “It pays reparations. Farmers — white farmers don’t get any help with their loan forgiveness, but the other races do. They get help,” Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) commented on a 14-minute video against the COVID-19 relief package on her Facebook account, a comment that has been labelled as false.
How did the Democrats pass the bill without any support from the Republicans?
Currently, the Senate is controlled by the Democrats. Vice President Kamala Harris is the President of the Senate and presides over the body, only voting when a tie breaker is needed. It is possible for the bill to be passed with no support from Republicans as there are more Democrats in the Senate.
The Democrats gained control of the Senate after ground-breaking wins for both Senator Ossoff (D-GA) and Senator Warnock (D-GA) of Georgia, who flipped the state blue in January of 2021.
When did it pass in the Congress?
The COVID-19 Relief Package passed in Congress on March 10th, 2021, with the majority of the Congress voting for the package. Since the house is Democrat-controlled, it was easy for the President to pass this bill.
On the matter, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that “We will get to work immediately to deliver lifesaving resources springing from this bill as soon as it is passed and signed as we join President Biden… in his promise that at last help is on the way.” Pelosi has praised the Relief Package and has titled it “The American Rescue Plan.”
After All-Nighter, U.S. Senate Passes COVID-19 Relief Bill Worth $1.9-Trillion. The Globe and Mail, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/us-politics/article-after-all-nighter-us-senate-passes-covid-19-relief-bill-worth-19/. Accessed 17 Mar. 2021.
Garrison, Joey. “Money for Colleges, Libraries and Clubs: 10 Things You Might Not Know Are in Biden’s COVID-19 Relief Package.” USA TODAY, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/03/10/covid-19-relief-10-things-you-might-not-know-bidens-bill/6936905002/. Accessed 17 Mar. 2021.
Pramuk, Jacob. “Biden Signs $1.9 Trillion Covid Relief Bill, Clearing Way for Stimulus Checks, Vaccine Aid.” CNBC, 11 Mar. 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/11/biden-1point9-trillion-covid-relief-package-thursday-afternoon.html.