COVID-19 bailout bill
The US House of Representatives has passed a $1.9 trillion pandemic aid bill put forward by Joe Biden's team. The bill is expected to be approved in the Senate thanks to 50 votes from Democrats. In question is an increase in the minimum wage for Americans to $15 an hour.
US President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers secured their first major victory late Friday night. A bill drafted by Democrats, backed by the president at a whopping $1.9, which includes a series of measures to help the US economy in a pandemic, was approved by the House of Representatives.
Thanks to a majority of Democrats in the lower house, the bill passed with 219 votes, with all Republicans and two Democrats voting against it.
Final approval of the bill requires passage in the Senate (the upper house of Congress), which is also split 50/50 between the two parties.
Senators will begin considering the pandemic relief plan this week, with a final vote expected in the next two weeks.
The previous $900 billion stimulus package, passed by the two parties and signed by Donald Trump in December, ends on March 14.
What does the new aid bill include?
This round of aid to the US economy under COVID-19 is the third, its biggest items are:
- $422bn for direct payments of $1400 to many Americans, an amount reduced if there is an annual income of $75k and not designed for those earning $100k or more.
- $246bn to extend extended unemployment benefit programmes until 29 August with a $400 a week surcharge. $143bn for payments of up to $3600 for child costs for a year.
- $350bn to help state and local governments.
In addition, measures include additional funds for population testing and accelerated vaccination against COVID-19, aid to the education sector, private businesses, rental assistance, grants to airlines and airports, and more.