Joe Biden’s $2.5 trillion coronavirus stimulus package passes House of Representatives



US President Joe Biden has scored a major political victory after his mammoth stimulus bill passed the final legislative hurdle in the House of Representatives.

The American Rescue Plan is worth almost $US1.9 trillion ($2.5 trillion) and aims to turbocharge the economy and help millions of Americans impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The House vote was almost exactly along party lines, with Democrats securing the bill 220-211.

Republicans in both chambers opposed the bill unanimously, with many arguing against the size and scope of it.

There will be direct payments for many Americans, as well as money for schools and businesses.

For many Americans there are provisions to provide up to $US1,400 ($1,800) direct payments this year to most adults and extend $US300 ($387) per week emergency unemployment benefits into early September.

The President thanked the House for passing the bill during a press conference on Wednesday night, local time.

“This bill represents a historic, historic, victory for the American people,” he said.

“I look forward to signing it later this week.

“Everything in the American Rescue Plan addresses a real need, including investments to fund our entire vaccination effort.”

An old man in a suit wears a face mask as he looks off camera.
President Joe Biden has secured a political victory early in his presidency with the passing of a stimulus package he campaigned for.(AP: Patrick Semansky)

Democrats were eager to get the final bill to Mr Biden for his signature before current federal unemployment benefits expire on March 14.

The House, which passed an earlier version of the legislation, needed to meet again to approve changes made in the Senate over the weekend.

The Senate had removed a $US15 per hour federal minimum wage increase by 2025, tightened the eligibility for $US1,400 direct payments and cut the unemployment insurance payment to $US300 per week, down from $US400, and targeted some of the state and local government aid to smaller communities.

Jared Golden of Maine was the only Democrat to oppose the measure.

He said in a written statement that the bill provided hundreds of billions of dollars “in excess of meeting the most urgent needs,” and he said that endangered the economic recovery.



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