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Biden's $1.9tn COVID relief bill passes House vote

February 28, 2021 9:38 am
Demonstrators are calling for a rise in the US minimum wage - but it will be difficult to get through Congress. [Source: BBC]

US President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn relief plan to help Americans during the COVID pandemic has been approved in the House of Representatives.

The vote was along partisan lines. Two Democrats joined Republicans – who see it as too expensive – in opposing it.

The bill must now go to the evenly-divided Senate, which has already blocked a key element – doubling the US minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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The package seeks to boost vaccinations and testing, and stabilise the economy.

The cash would be extended as emergency financial aid to households, small businesses and state governments. Unemployment is close to 10%, with some 10 million jobs lost in the pandemic.

In brief remarks at the White House, President Biden hailed the House’s approval of the plan, saying he hoped it would receive “quick action” at the Senate.

“But I can says that what I am going to be doing and we have already begun is making it clear to the leadership and the House of the Senate as well as the republican individuals who are interested in the issues that are in my package and saying here is what I am doing, here is where I think we need to do it, and what kind of support can or can’t you give to that and then we go on in the way in which we deal with legislation all the time.”

President Biden has championed what he calls the American Rescue Plan as a way to help struggling Americans through COVID-19.

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