After meeting through the night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill early this morning in a 219-212 vote.
Two Democrats broke from their party to vote against the bill: Oregon's Kurt Schrader and Maine's Jared Golden. Golden defended his vote against the pandemic relief package, saying in a statement released by his office: "This bill addresses urgent needs, and then buries them under a mountain of unnecessary or untimely spending. In reviewing the bill in its full scope, less than 20 percent of the total spending addresses core COVID challenges that are immediately pressing ... After supporting $4 trillion in emergency COVID relief in 2020, I won't support trillions more in funding that is poorly targeted or in many cases not necessary at this moment in time."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., delivered an impassioned speech on the House floor in which she called the package a "moral imperative," saying its passage is "long overdue," per Politico.
The package includes a third $1,400 stimulus check for Americans who earn less than $75,000 a year and raises unemployment benefits to $400 a week through the end of August. It would also increase the child tax credit, aid to small businesses and increase funding for coronavirus testing and vaccination.
No Republicans backed the bill. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had no hesitation in calling out Pelosi on its contents, tweeting yesterday about the "Pelosi Payoff."
Don't call it a rescue package or a relief bill.— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) February 27, 2021
Call it what it is ⇨ The Pelosi Payoff
The amount of money that actually goes to defeating the virus is less than 9%. I'm headed to the House floor now to expose Democrats for the other 91%.
Watch live: https://t.co/mfpMw1JOLV
McCarthy also noted that "This bill calls for Harvard and other elite institutions to receive hundreds of millions of dollars. But Harvard already has a $40 billion endowment."
Republicans also objected to the Democrats' bid to include the $15 minimum wage requirement as a part of the package, saying it would hurt businesses and cost many Americans their jobs.
The Senate is expected to take up the measure next week.
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