WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden praised the United States Senate on Saturday afternoon after they held an all-night marathon vote to pass his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
The Senate passed narrowly passed the motion on a vote of 50-49, with all Republicans voting against the bill. All Democrats, joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, voted for the bill to move forward.
“When we took office 45 days ago, I promised the American people help was on the way. Today I can say we’ve taken one more giant step forward on delivering on that promise — that help is on the way,” Biden said on Saturday.
The bill is set to give checks of $1,400 for most Americans, extended emergency unemployment benefits, millions of dollars for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and testing, as well as funds for schools, colleges and hard-hit small businesses.
“Everything in this package is designed to relieve the suffering and to meet the most urgent needs of the nation and put us in a better position to prevail — starting with beating this virus and vaccinating the country,” the President added.
Former President Barack Obama tweeted his congratulations to the Biden administration, writing on Twitter: “This is the kind of progress that’s possible when we elect leaders across government who are devoted to making people’s lives better—and a reminder of why it’s so important to vote.”
The bill will now go back to the House of Representatives on Tuesday for a vote and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement, inviting House Republicans to join the Democrats in passing the bill.
“Today is a day of great progress and promise for the American people, as the Democratic Senate has passed President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to save lives and livelihoods,” she said. “The House now hopes to have a bipartisan vote on this life-saving 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.”
Biden also provided an update to the American people on the vaccine front, saying it will now be the middle of May when everyone that wants a vaccine can get one. That’s a move from the end of May that he said previously.
“The resources in this plan will be used to expand and speed up manufacturing and distribution of vaccines so we can get every single American vaccinated sooner than later, I believe we’ll have enough by the end of, by the middle of May to vaccinate,” he said. “It’s going to take longer to get it in their arms but that’s how much vaccines we’ll have.”