Biden’s $1.9tn Covid relief bill passes House vote


Demonstrators participate in a protest outside of McDonald's corporate headquarters on January 15, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The protest was part of a nationwide effort calling for minimum wage to be raised to $15-per-hour

Demonstrators are calling for a rise in the US minimum wage – but it will be difficult to get through Congress

President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn (£1.4tn) relief plan to help Americans during the Covid pandemic has been approved in the House of Representatives.

The vote was along partisan lines. Two Democrats joined Republicans – who see it as too expensive – in opposing it.

The bill must now go to the evenly-divided Senate, where the Democrats only hold sway with the deciding vote of the vice-president.

The Senate has already blocked a key element – doubling the US minimum wage.

The bill is aimed at boosting coronavirus vaccinations and testing, and stabilising the economy.

The cash would be extended as emergency financial aid to households, small businesses and state governments.

The Democrats only have a thin, 10-seat majority in the House, but they found sufficient numbers in a vote that went into the early morning on Saturday.

President Biden has championed the so-called American Rescue Plan as a way to help struggling Americans through Covid-19.

But Republicans say the plan is unnecessarily large and stuffed with Democratic priorities unrelated to the pandemic.

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