The U.S. Senate passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill Saturday, giving President Joe Biden his first major legislative victory since entering office on January 20.
“Today, I can say we have taken one more giant step for delivering on that promise that help is on the way,” Biden said at the White House minutes after the bill’s approval. “It obviously wasn’t easy, it wasn’t always pretty, but it was so desperately needed, urgently needed.”
Passage came after a lengthy session to make a series of late changes to shore up support from Democratic Party members.
The bill was approved 50-49 in the 100-member Senate without any Republican support. It now goes back to the House for reconciliation before Biden signs a final version into law.
“The House now hopes to have a bipartisan vote on this lifesaving legislation and urges Republicans to join us in recognition of the devastating reality of this vicious virus and economic crisis and of the need for decisive action,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.
Democrats and Republicans were deadlocked for hours over competing proposals to increase weekly jobless benefits for those adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Democrats overcame the hurdle by reaching a deal with moderate Democrat Joe Manchin late Friday over an unemployment compensation provision in the bill after hours of negotiations. Democrats reduced the proposed $400 weekly emergency unemployment…