The House passed Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill – here’s what’s next

Thomas Franck

The House of Representatives passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, teeing up what is expected to be days of debate and political deal-making in and around the Senate.

The House, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., voted largely along party lines early Saturday to advance the massive relief plan, which includes extensions to programs designed to assist millions of unemployed Americans and provides financial support for state and local governments.

“Now, the bill moves to the United States Senate, where I hope it will receive quick action. We have no time to waste,” Biden said during a briefing on Saturday morning.

“If we act now — decisively, quickly and boldly — we can finally get ahead of this virus,” Biden continued. “We can finally get our economy moving again.”

With the bill bound for a Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, lawmakers will next week begin offering amendments to the House’s plan and will likely pass a different version of the bill they received.

Should that happen, the House will then have to pass the Senate’s version or the two chambers will have to meet to draft a final, agreeable piece of legislation in a conference committee. Democrats are rushing to send the bill to Biden’s desk by March 14, when jobless benefits are set to expire.

In advocating for the legislation, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., stressed on Thursday that millions of Americans remain in dire economic straits.

“This is a once-in-a-century health and economic crisis,” he wrote on Twitter. “But Republican leaders are reportedly ‘maneuvering’ to get every single Republican member to oppose urgent, bold COVID relief.”

“Make no mistake,” he added, “We will deliver the American Rescue Plan with overwhelming public support.”