WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Congress gave final approval Wednesday to a landmark $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that will send $1,400 direct payments to most Americans.
With passage in the House, the measure heads to President Joe Biden’s desk and is expected to be signed Friday. The bill represents Democrats’ effort to bridle the catastrophic pandemic and revive the enfeebled economy. The Senate passed the measure over unanimous Republican opposition four days ago.
In total there were three key votes, the first of which occurred on Feb. 27 in the House of Representatives. This original version of the bill included $15 minimum wage. All of Colorado’s representatives voted along party lines, with Reps. Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Jason Crow and Ed Perlmutter voting in favor and Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn in opposition.
Next the Senate was up, and after passing a series of amendments, one of which stripped away the minimum wage hike, it was approved on March 6. Colorado’s two senators, Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper are both Democrats who voted in favor of the bill.
Finally, the amended version was sent back to the House of Representatives where it was passed on March 10. As with the initial vote, Colorado’s representatives voted along party lines. Reps. Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Jason Crow and Ed Perlmutter voting in favor and Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn in opposition.
The bill now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk for final approval. He is expected to sign the bill into law on Friday, March 12.
Statements from Colorado lawmakers on the passage of American Rescue Plan:
Rep. Diana DeGette
“This is one of the most important pieces of legislation that Congress has passed in quite some time. It will put money in people’s pockets and shots in their arms. It will allow us to reopen our schools and businesses, while keeping people in their homes and getting them back to work. With more than 18 million people across the country still out of work, the relief that this bill will provide couldn’t come soon enough. Now that it’s passed, our focus needs to be on getting more of the vaccine produced and distributed as soon as possible so we can end this pandemic once and for all.”
Rep. Ken Buck:
“I am absolutely in favor of targeted increases to unemployment and housing benefits and giving $1,400 checks to struggling Americans who need it the most. I am absolutely opposed to the $1 trillion of pork in this bill,” Rep. Buck said. “House Democrats have, once again, not let this crisis go to waste. This is this largest stand alone stimulus bill in U.S. history. It is stuffed with non-COVID-related spending, which includes funding for pet projects in Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s home states, money for Obamacare subsidies and Planned Parenthood, and stimulus checks for prisoners and illegal immigrants. If the price tag of the pork in this bill weren’t enough, we still have $1 trillion in unspent funds that Democrats failed to repurpose from the past five bills that provided over $4 trillion in COVID relief.”