Latest news on stimulus checks and US relief bill

Senate TV
Senate TV

The Senate passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan on Saturday, after an all-night “vote-a-rama” and a 12-hour struggle to get Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin to support the party’s plan on a critical issue. 

The vote was 50 to 49.

Now the bill goes back to the House of Representatives for a separate vote before President Biden signs it into law.

It’s expected to be passed next week.

The $1.9 trillion bill includes stimulus checks for many Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Democrats have faced fierce pressure to stay united to pass the administration’s top legislative priority before March 14, when jobless benefits are set to expire for millions of Americans. But West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s unexpected opposition on Friday to a Democratic deal boosting unemployment benefits ground the Senate to a halt, prompting a furious lobbying effort between the two parties. 

Democrats kept a Senate roll call vote open for 11 hours and 50 minutes, the longest in recent history, as Manchin signaled he would accept the Republicans’ less generous proposal.

The dispute was a sign of the centrist Democrat’s power in the 50-50 Senate, where Democrats control the narrowest possible majority, and an example of how a single senator can derail the President’s agenda.

Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan had to leave Friday to return home to Alaska for a family funeral, leaving Republicans with just 49 no votes. 

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