ATLANTA, Ga. — After months of waiting, Americans could finally see a $1,400 stimulus check in their bank accounts as early as next week. The Senate passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package early Saturday afternoon, including extending pandemic unemployment assistance through Sept. 6. Republicans threw nearly 600 Hail Mary amendments into play to force votes on inflammatory topics to use against Democrats in future elections.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) held both Democrats and Republicans hostage while reveling in his apparent power as a centrist Democrat. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has quietly joined Manchin in the middle – voting against raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The Senate was one Republican vote short due to Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan returning home on Friday for a family funeral. In the event of a 50-50 tie, Vice-President Kamala Harris would have been called upon to break the tie.
This is the most recent and undeniable example of the consequences of elections. In a January run-off, Georgia voters showed their Republican senators the door – electing freshman Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Without these two victories, Republicans would have remained in control of the Senate. Republicans have made it known their priority is denying the Biden Administration its first big legislative win. Polling shows Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, overwhelmingly support passage of the American Rescue Plan.
The bill must pass the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives before heading to the President’s desk to be signed and executed. The House will vote on the stimulus package early next week. Despite significant changes from the original House bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has signaled the Senate’s version of the bill will be approved quickly.
Despite coming $1 billion short of America’s largest stimulus package to date, the American Rescue Plan is being hailed as “the most generous economic relief package for working and middle class families in American history” by Sen. Ossoff (D-Ga.). So, what’s in the bill?
TL;DR – $1,400 stimulus checks for most adult Americans and an additional $1,400 per qualifying dependent claimed on most recent tax return. (At time of publish, BWST staff is unclear if a max benefit limit exists.) There is also $19 billion in emergency rental assistance, $300 per week enhanced unemployment insurance through Sept. 6, $350 billion in state and local aid and $7.25 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program loans.
You can click here for highlights of the stimulus package, reported by CNN.