Show an ad over header. AMP

House votes to send $1.9 trillion COVID relief package to Biden for signature

The House voted 220-211 on Wednesday to approve the Senate's revised version of President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, sending the bill to Biden's desk to be signed.

Why it matters: The passage of the "American Rescue Plan" is the first — and potentially defining — legislative victory of Biden's presidency, marking a key milestone in his pledge to steer the U.S. out of the coronavirus crisis.

The big picture: The package is being touted by Democrats as one of the most consequential anti-poverty bills of the modern era, with the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center projecting that it will boost incomes for the poorest 20% of Americans by 20%.

  • Current unemployment benefits expire for millions of Americans in less than a week, a deadline that pushed Congress to act quickly on one of the largest spending packages in U.S. history.
  • Polling shows the bill enjoys widespread bipartisan support within the general public, though some experts worry that massive injection of stimulus into the recovering economy might result in inflation.

How we got here: The massive spending package was passed via budget reconciliation, a process that allows the Senate to approve legislation with a simple majority vote, rather than the usual 60-vote threshold.

  • Had Democrats not clinched control of the Senate by winning the two runoff elections in Georgia in January, the size of the package — if one existed at all — would have been far smaller.
  • The bill passed in the Senate last week 50-49 after a marathon of late-night amendments, which only began after Republicans forced the clerk read the entire 628-page bill out loud — a process that took 11 hours.
  • The House vote fell almost exactly along party lines, with one Democrat — Rep. Jared Golden of Maine — voting "no."

Details: The bill approves $1,400 stimulus payments for individuals making up to $75,000 and couples making $150,000. It will also extend weekly $300 unemployment insurance until Sept. 6. Other highlights include:

  • An increased child tax credit in 2021 of $3,600 for children up to age 5 and up to $3,000 for ages 6 to 17.
  • $128.6 billion to help K-12 schools reopen.
  • $19 billion in emergency rental assistance.
  • $25 billion to help restaurants.
  • $46 billion for coronavirus testing and tracing.
  • $5.2 billion to support the research and development of vaccines.
  • $7.25 billion for Paycheck Protection Program loans.

What to watch: The White House says Biden will sign the bill on Friday, and that stimulus checks will begin going out before the end of the month.

"Nine minutes and 29 seconds": Prosecutors begin closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Steve Schleicher, an attorney for the prosecution in Derek Chauvin's trial, began closing arguments on Monday by describing in detail George Floyd's last moments — crying out for help and surrounded by strangers, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, will reverberate across the country and have major implications in the fight for racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less

European soccer goes to war over wealthy clubs' plans for exclusive "Super League"

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

Keep reading... Show less

81% of S&P 500 companies have reported a positive earnings surprise for Q1

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

Keep reading... Show less

NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight as first aircraft piloted on another planet

NASA successfully piloted the Ingenuity Mars helicopter for its first experimental flight on Monday, briefly hopping the aircraft as NASA's Perseverance rover collected data.

Why it matters: Ingenuity's short flight marks the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.

Keep reading... Show less

All U.S. adults now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine, meeting Biden's April 19 deadline

All 50 U.S. states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, have now made U.S. adults over the age of 16 eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, meeting President Biden's April 19 deadline.

Why it matters: The landmark speaks to the increased pace of the national vaccination campaign, but will increase pressure on the federal government, states and pharmaceutical companies to provide adequate vaccine supply and logistics.

Keep reading... Show less

Minneapolis braces for a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial

Minneapolis is waking up to images of an occupied city on Monday, as the city and the world await a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

What it's like: Residents running errands, picking up dinner and heading to the dog park in recent days encountered heavily-armed National Guard troops stationed throughout the city.

Keep reading... Show less

Russian authorities say jailed opposition leader Navalny has been transferred to hospital

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been hospitalized, one day after his doctor warned that the jailed Putin critic "could die at any moment," Russia's prison service said Monday.

Why it matters: News that Navalny's condition had severely deteriorated on the third week of a hunger strike prompted outrage from his supporters and international demands for Russia to provide him with immediate medical treatment.

Keep reading... Show less

The state worst hit by the pandemic

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the job facing governments was to save lives and save jobs. Very few states did well on both measures, while New York, almost uniquely, did particularly badly on both.

Why it matters: The jury is still out on whether there was a trade-off between the dual imperatives; a new analysis from Hamilton Place Strategies shows no clear correlation between the two.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories