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House approves $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, grants Biden victory

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The photo shows House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after a voting session on US President Joe Biden's coronavirus relief bill at the Capitol on March 10, 2021.(Photo by Reuters)

The US House of Representatives has approved President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, handing him his first legislative victory since taking office.

During a session on Wednesday, the House Democrats passed the bill by a 220-211 vote, while no Republican lawmaker backed the legislation.

"Today, we have a decision to make of tremendous, tremendous consequence. A decision that will make a difference for millions of Americans, saving lives and livelihoods. And with all of the decisions, it is a decision that we will have to answer for," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor just before the voting. "We will give the American Rescue Plan a resounding and hopefully bipartisan vote to reflect the bipartisan support that it has in the country."

The bill had been previously passed by a 50-49 vote at the Senate on Saturday after lawmakers made some fundamental changes to the version passed by the House, including reducing the number of people who will receive a stimulus check.

Meanwhile, in a statement on Wednesday, Biden praised the passage of the bill and vowed to sign it on Friday.

"For weeks now, an overwhelming percentage of Americans – Democrats, Independents, and Republicans – have made it clear they support the American Rescue Plan. Today, with final passage in the House of Representatives, their voice has been heard," Biden said.

The legislation includes $1,400 direct payment to the individuals who make under $75,000 and allocates billions of dollars to boost vaccine delivery, help schools re-open and fund state and local governments.

The package also extends a $400-per-week federal unemployment benefit by August and halt eviction orders for millions of Americans struggling to pay rent amid the pandemic.

Unemployment benefits and some other types of aid are due to expire in mid-March.

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