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Senate passes $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill, House Democrats plan final approval Tuesday

Senate Democrats passed their $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Saturday, sending it back to the House for expected approval in the coming days. The party hopes to have the aid bill to President Joe Biden’s desk before unemployment aid programs expire on March 14. Da Cnbc.com

The Senate passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Saturday as Democrats rush to send out a fresh round of aid.

The Democratic-held House aims to pass the bill on Tuesday and send it to President Joe Biden for his signature before a March 14 deadline to renew unemployment aid programs. The Senate approved the plan in a 50-49 party line vote as Republicans questioned the need for another broad spending package.

The legislation includes direct payments of up to $1,400 to most Americans, a $300 weekly boost to jobless benefits into September and an expansion of the child tax credit for one year. It also puts new funding into Covid-19 vaccine distribution and testing, rental assistance for struggling households and K-12 schools for reopening costs.

The package also includes $14 billion in payroll support for U.S. airlines, the third round of federal aid for the industry, in exchange for not furloughing or cutting workers’ pay rates through Sept. 30. Airline contractors were set aside $1 billion.

Senate approval brings Biden’s first legislative initiative closer to fruition. While the GOP and some economists criticized the scope of the rescue package as the U.S. vaccination pace picked up, Democrats said they needed decisive action to prevent a sluggish recovery and future economic pain.

“We will end this terrible plague and we will travel again and send our kids to school again and be together again,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said before the vote. “Our job right now is to help our country get from this stormy present to that hopeful future.”

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