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Democrats-held House passes 1.9-trln-USD relief package

(Xinhua)    09:18, February 28, 2021

Photo taken on Feb. 9, 2021 shows the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., the United States.(Xinhua/Liu Jie)

The relief plan contains direct payments of 1,400 dollars per person for working families, which is on top of the 600-dollar checks in the 900-billion relief package approved in December. It would also boost federal unemployment benefits to 400 dollars per week and extend the measure through the end of September.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Democrats-held House approved U.S. President Joe Biden's 1.9-trillion-U.S.-dollar COVID-19 relief package early Saturday morning amid Republican opposition, sending the bill to the Senate.

The measure, which is a major legislation for Biden, cleared the lower chamber of Congress by a vote of 219 to 212, with Democrats and Republicans largely voting along party lines. Two Democrats voted against it.

The House vote came after more than eight hours of debate by the House Rules Committee on the framework for the relief package, and a full House debate that started late Friday night and stretched into early Saturday morning.

In the House debate that lasted for over an hour, Republican lawmakers unanimously opposed the giant relief package, calling it a Democratic wish list and arguing that the plan includes provisions unrelated to the crisis.

They warned that the high price tag could result in unsustainable debt for future generations.

A banner reminding social distancing is seen in a Costco store in Foster City, the United States, Feb. 23, 2021. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaoling)

Democrats, meanwhile, voiced strong support for the measure, highlighting the urgency to rein in the surging pandemic, which has claimed 500,000 American lives, and to bolster the ravaged economy, with millions of Americans still out of work and businesses suffering due to the economic fallout from COVID-19.

The relief plan contains direct payments of 1,400 dollars per person for working families, which is on top of the 600-dollar checks in the 900-billion relief package approved in December. It would also boost federal unemployment benefits to 400 dollars per week and extend the measure through the end of September.

The bill also includes a 15-dollar federal minimum wage increase, which would face tough tests in the Senate, where parliamentarians have ruled that the wage increase violates the budget reconciliation process and cannot be included.

Early February, Democrats moved to pass a procedural step in both chambers, allowing them to push through the mega relief bill in Congress without Republican support, a move criticized by Republicans as a "partisan process."

Democrats are rushing to get the bill approved in Congress and send it to Biden to sign into law, as federal unemployment benefits are set to expire in mid-March.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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