House speaker Nancy Pelosi at a news conference prior to the vote on the coronavirus-relief bill, Washington, D.C., February 26, 2021 (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

The House narrowly approved Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus-relief bill early Saturday morning, in a tight 219-212 vote that mostly fell along party lines.

The bill contains $1,400 direct payments for most Americans, $170 billion to colleges and K-12 schools to cover reopening costs, and $70 billion for coronavirus testing and vaccination programs. Additionally, the relief package allocates $350 billion in funding for state, local, and tribal governments.

President Biden has pushed for the bill’s passage, however Republicans opposed some of the provisions in the legislation, arguing they were clearly extraneous.

“This isn’t a relief bill. It takes care of Democrats’ political allies while it fails to deliver for American families,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R, Calif.) told The Washington Post on Friday. “We already know what is the best stimulus plan out there: It is to fully reopen our economy. To do that, we need our economy to go back to work, back to school and back to health.

House Democrats also included a provision to raise the federally mandated minimum wage to $15 an hour, despite decreasing likelihood that the provision would pass the Senate.

With the Senate tied 50-50, Democrats are attempting to pass the coronavirus relief bill via budget reconciliation procedures, which allow for a simple-majority vote instead of a filibuster-proof vote of 60. However, the Senate parliamentarian ruled on Thursday night that a minimum wage increase could not pass as part of budget reconciliation.

“House Democrats believe that the minimum wage hike is necessary. Therefore, this provision will remain in the American Rescue Plan on the floor tomorrow,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said in a statement on Thursday.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.





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