The House of Representatives passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package today, sending the legislation to the president’s desk for his signature. Now that it’s passed both chambers of Congress, President Biden is expected to sign it on Friday, meaning relief payments could hit Inland Empire residents’ bank accounts in the next few weeks.
The bill includes another set of direct aid payments to Americans in the form of relief checks for people who meet certain income requirements, extended unemployment benefits and an expanded child tax credit.
The House last month passed a similar version of this bill, the American Rescue Plan, which included an increase in the minimum wage.
The Senate took away that part of that bill and sent it back to the House for today's signing.
Rep. Mark Takano, a Democrat from Riverside, says the vote is historic.
“It is historic. Undoubtedly historic. It goes right up there with the New Deal,” Takano says.
Takano says he’s disappointed the $15 minimum wage didn’t make it into the final bill, but he says Democrats in Congress are still determined to make it happen eventually.
“Even without the $15 minimum wage, the enormity of what was accomplished was the story of the day. Everything from the child tax credit which is going to reduce poverty amongst children by half, raise families out of poverty as never before, extending unemployment benefits through the middle of September and unemployment supplements, housing assistance, along with the direct payments to working families of $1400 on top of the $600 that was already agreed to last January, this is an enormous legislative accomplishment in terms of what it will do for the American people who need the help from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Takano says he believes his district and the rest of the Inland Empire are poised to benefit greatly from the American Rescue Plan.
“This is going to help our area, if you multiply that times by Mr. Aguilar’s district in San Bernardino and Redlands, and Mr. Ruiz’s district, and I’ll say this is going to help the people of Mr. Calvert’s district, our Republican colleague. There are enormous numbers of people in our region who are going to benefit and it’s going to lift up our small businesses and have a huge economic impact on our economy locally here in the Inland Empire.”
Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, say the package is the wrong plan at the wrong time and that Democrats pushed it through with no bipartisan agreement.
The House voted 220-211 in favor of the bill, with no Republicans joining Democrats in passing it.
The Biden Administration has said direct payment checks should be coming in the next few weeks.
The president will deliver a prime-time address on the just-passed legislation Thursday, and KVCR will carry it live Thursday evening.