OnPolitics: The COVID stimulus checks are coming (seriously)

On President Joe Biden’s 50th day in office, House Democrats gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

The Democratic-controlled House gave its final approval to Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package Wednesday, sending the bill with $1,400 checks, billions to help schools and colleges reopen, and funding for vaccine distribution to the president for his signature.

It’s Mabinty. Let’s get to the news everyone is talking about.

The only thing between you and COVID-19 relief is Biden’s signature

The final House vote for the American Rescue Plan was 220-211, with one Democrat voting against the bill and all Republicans opposing it. (Notably, polls find broad Republican support for the provisions of the stimulus package.) The vote was the final legislative hurdle for the legislation.

Following the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer formally signed the relief bill. “This is a momentous day in the history of our country,” Pelosi said on the sunny terrace of the west front of the Capitol, with the National Mall and Washington Monument in the background. “It would not have happened without a very collaborative spirit among our members.”

The bill is more than just a $1,400 direct payment or a robust vaccine distribution program.

Here’s what else it offers:

  • With unemployment benefits from the last relief bill expiring Sunday, the American Rescue Plan extends them through Sept. 6. The weekly federal benefit remains at $300.
  • The child tax credit will rise to $3,600 per child under age 6 and $3,000 for children up to age 17 for one year.
  • The bill also includes $130 billion to allow for a return to full-time, in-person teaching at K-12 schools.

It now goes to Biden, who will sign the bill into law Friday, the White House said.

  • Since February 2020, Congress has passed five bills to help Americans through the COVID-19 crisis, three of which directly affect their pocketbooks.

Elsewhere in politics:

  • Biden administration restarts migrant children refugee resettlement program but maintains ‘the border is not open’
  • Merrick Garland confirmed as attorney general in 70-30 Senate vote; Capitol inquiry awaits
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: Saying women officials should address Cuomo scandal ‘isn’t the conversation’

Today was a great day for journalism and democracy. —Mabinty

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