Democrats on Monday advanced the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, teeing up a House vote to pass the massive package later this week, according to Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal.
The American Rescue Plan would result in $1,400 stimulus checks to many Americans and extended temporary unemployment benefits.
“I fully anticipate that it will pass the House of Representatives in a very disciplined manner on Friday,” Neal said during a press conference in Springfield on Monday.
“I hope by end of March people will start to feel it,” he said of the additional stimulus payments.
The weekly supplemental benefit for unemployment would increase from $300 to $400 under the plan.
“I think that many families as we expand unemployment insurance … we think that this legislation will further offer them a bridge,” Neal said.
Money from the American Rescue Plan will also go toward the national vaccination program by setting up community vaccination sites, help reopen schools, fund testing programs, and provide aid to state and local governments.
The House of Representatives Budget Committee on Monday marked up the plan and advanced it on a 19-16 vote.
U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., tweeted, “The need for critical #COVID19 relief is not a red state, blue state issue. @HouseBudgetDems markup of the #AmericanRescuePlan Act of 2021 puts us one step closer to delivering vital relief for struggling communities across the country.”
This vote on Monday came as the U.S. eclipsed 500,000 virus deaths.
“Members of Congress join Americans in prayer for the lives lost or devastated by this vicious virus,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “As we pray, we must act swiftly to put an end to this pandemic and to stem the suffering felt by so many millions. With the passage of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan this week, the American people will know that Help Is On The Way.”
President Biden on Monday noted that critics of the plan say it’s “too big.”
“Let me ask them a rhetorical question: What would you have me cut? What would you leave out?” Biden said in remarks on Monday. “The American Rescue Plan targets $50 billion to support the hardest-hit small businesses after this program expires at the end of March. Would you not help invest in them? Would you let them continue to go under? Would you leave them out again, like the previous administration did?”
Republicans are pushing back against the plan. The House Budget GOP tweeted that Democrats are “pushing a bill that will destroy jobs, harm America’s working class, and bailout @POTUS political allies.”