The US Senate has approved a $ 1,900 billion corona support package, nearly $ 1,600 billion. The package proposed by President Biden was passed by a narrow majority.
Fifty senators voted in favor of the package, 49 voted against. In the Senate, both Democrats and Republicans have 50 seats. A Republican senator was absent due to a death in the family. “If it had been 50 to 50, Vice President Harris would have had the casting vote,” says correspondent Marieke de Vries. “And it was still accepted.”
Criticism, also from Democrats
The billions are used for vaccines and medical devices. The unemployed and other financial victims also receive financial support. “But this is not the dream package about which promises have been made and which everyone hoped for”, says De Vries. During the election, President Biden promised that every American would receive $ 2000. Now that will be $ 1400. “There are also complaints about this from the Democratic corner.”
In addition, there is criticism that nothing is included in the package about the minimum wage. Senator Bernie Sanders had proposed raising the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour. That did not make it. Eight Democrats voted against the proposal, along with all Republicans in the Senate.
In addition to a one-time check for $ 1,400 for each low- to moderate-income American, the money will be used to make a weekly payment of $ 300 to people who lost their jobs. Child benefit is also paid up to a maximum of $ 3,600 per month, depending on the number of children in a family. $ 350 billion will go to states and major cities to use for corona relief work. “To prevent evictions, among other things,” says correspondent De Vries. And $ 14 billion is being used to fund the vaccines.
Biden calls the measures “desperately needed”. “Help is on the way,” he said in a speech after the vote. The Senate has been meeting about the corona package since yesterday. “It was not easy or beautiful,” said Biden. “But it was badly needed. This plan takes us one step closer to enlightenment.”
The plan is now going back to the House of Representatives. That already agreed with the package last week, but because changes have been made, it has to be voted again. The Democrats have a narrow majority in the House. “Everyone assumes that there will also be a vote for that,” said De Vries.