$900 Billion COVID Relief Bill Passes in the House and Moves to the Senate

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Posted: Dec 21, 2020 10:03 PM
$900 Billion COVID Relief Bill Passes in the House and Moves to the Senate

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The House of Representatives late Monday night passed the $900 billion Wuhan coronavirus relief package as well as a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill. 

According to the Daily Caller, the votes took place in multiple steps:

The wide-reaching bill was passed in two sections; the first, which included four of the 12 appropriations bills, passed 327-85, while the second, which included the relief package and the addition eight bills, passed 359-53.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) dubbed the vote a win for Americans, even though Democrats voted down COVID relief more than 40 times before the election.

“Yes, there is more work to do, and it will cost some money, but it will protect jobs and, most importantly, it will meet the needs of the American people — to crush this virus and to do so in a way that brings us all into the future in a very safe way,” Pelosi told the Washington Post.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the Senate would be staying late into the night until they too vote – and pass – the bill.

The news comes after a heated debate this weekend between Democrats and Republicans. A tentative agreement hit a snag when Sen. Pat Toomey's (R-PA) demanded to eliminate three loan programs the Federal Reserve launched in March to keep the economy afloat during the initial lockdown.

Under the CARES Act, a new corporate bond credit facility was established. This facility provided municipal and mainstream lending programs. They were set to expire on Dec. 31 but Democrats wanted to keep them in tact. The issue, according to Toomey, was none of the corporate programs were utilized and the others were underutilized when the private credit market continued its normal function. 

"We’ve never asked the Fed to engage in fiscal policy or social policy, or to allocate credit based on political standing," Toomey said on Saturday.

Once the deal was tentatively struck, Toomey spokesman Steve Kelly explained the compromise early Sunday morning.

"This tentative agreement is an unqualified victory for taxpayers. Senate Republicans achieved all four of our objectives regarding the CARES Act 13(3) Federal Reserve lending programs," Kelley said in a statement provided to Fox News. "This agreement rescinds more than $429 billion in unused CARES Act funds; definitively ends the CARES Act lending facilities by December 31, 2020; stops these facilities from being restarted; and forbids them from being duplicated without congressional approval."

"This agreement will preserve Fed independence and prevent Democrats from hijacking these programs for political and social policy purposes," Kelly concluded.

The bill, which is currently making its way to the Senate, would include $300 a week in unemployment benefits, another round of direct pay stimulus checks, as well as funding for schools, health care workers, vaccine distribution and small businesses.

It also includes a number of garbage spending items, like creating a "Climate Security Advisory Council," regulations surrounding horse racing, and a new office dedicated to "diversity."

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday said "people are going to see this money at the beginning of next week," assuming both chambers of Congress pass the bill.