The measure, the American Rescue Plan Act, now heads back to the House, where Majority Leader
Enactment of the second-largest stimulus bill in U.S. history would hand Biden his first legislative victory and set the stage for work this spring on a massive infrastructure and manufacturing recovery bill that he wants.
“As tough as this moment is, there are brighter days ahead -- there really are,” Biden said at the White House after the Senate acted. “It’s never been a good bet to bet against America.”
The bill would provide the biggest health-care expansion since the Affordable Care Act, a temporary plan to slash the child poverty rate and send $1,400 payments soon to millions of Americans. In addition, state and local governments are set to get more than $350 billion in aid and schools would get an infusion of funding, all of which Democrats hope will propel a faster economic recovery long before they face voters in 2022.
It would deliver $300 a week in extra unemployment assistance through Sept. 6 and make the first $10,200 of unemployment insurance benefits non-taxable for households with incomes of less than $150,000.
The legislation includes $160 billion for vaccine and testing programs to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The Senate also adopted a bipartisan amendment from Republican
What Bloomberg Economics Says...
The package is large enough to erase the U.S. GDP gap to the pre-pandemic trend around midyear. A new high-water mark for GDP will not coincide with full recovery in the labor market. As of February, 9.5 million Americans remained out of work.
-- Andrew Husby, economist
Overall, the legislation is double the size of the
The Democratic drive in the Senate stalled out for nearly 12 hours on Friday after Manchin -- a pivotal vote in the 50-50 Senate -- balked at an amendment to extend supplemental unemployment benefits into October.
As Republicans tried to lure Manchin to vote for a proposal by Senator
Negotiations on that amendment caused a separate vote on minimum wage that set a record for the longest vote in Senate history, dragging on for nearly 12 hours as Democrats tried to keep their caucus united. In the end, the provision was left out of the legislation because of arcane Senate budget rules.
Despite that stumble, passage was a major victory for Senate Majority Leader
The deals he brokered on stimulus payments and unemployment aid, as well as the addition of a dozen smaller changes, ensured that moderate Democrats like Manchin and Arizona’s
Democrats held together to reject Republican amendments on limiting state and local aid; restricting abortion funding; banning aid to schools that have transgender athletes or fail to open 5 days a week; and ending aid to minority farmers, among others
Schumer said the vote showed Republicans that if they don’t negotiate, Democrats are prepared to act on their own.
“Now they know we mean it,” he said at a news conference after the vote. “On every single important vote, every Democrat stuck together.”
The passage of the stimulus was enabled by the upset victories in January runoff elections of two Democratic senators from Georgia, which handed Democrats their razor-thin majority.
“The people of Georgia deserve great credit for what happened here today. If they had not stood up in such a powerful way on that historic election day and sent
Republicans also were united in opposition. They argued that much of the measure is unnecessary given improving economic indicators, like Friday’s stronger-than-expected
“The Senate has never spent $2 trillion in a more haphazard way,” Senate Minority Leader
The bill will send $1,400 payments to individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000 based on either 2019 or 2020 tax returns. The payments phase out fully for those individuals making $80,000 and couples making $160,000. Those are lower phase-outs than in the original House-passed bill.
The provision on unemployment insurance also extends benefits for self-employed individuals and gig workers, along with those who have exhausted their regular jobless benefits. It also includes tax relief on the first $10,200 in unemployment payments for workers in households earning up to $150,000 a year. The change will prevent many people from receiving surprise IRS bills this spring.
The additional round of stimulus checks for millions of Americans, combined with supplemental jobless benefits and the acceleration in vaccinations, should help sustain economic growth throughout the year, said
The stimulus will “give a shot of adrenaline for a short period of time,” Stanley said. He noted that “it will kind of fade out, and the more fundamental aspect of things, which is really just opening up and getting back to something closer to the pre-pandemic norm for activity, should kick in.”
(Updates with economist’s comment in final two paragraphs. A previous version corrected a party mention in a paraphrase in 14th paragraph.)
--With assistance from
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