WASHINGTON, D.C. (KDKA) — The U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval on Wednesday to President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.
As soon as the president signs the bill, most Americans will get a check for $1,400.READ MORE: Pleas To Release Terminally-Ill Washington County Man Awaiting Trial Have Failed
In the end, it was a party-line vote. Not a single Republican in Congress supported President Biden’s plan, but a win is a win, and this one means more cash in the hands of individuals, families, small businesses, schools and local governments.
“This bill is going to go a long, long way to helping us defeat the virus,” U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, the state’s senior Democrat in Congress, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Once the president signs the bill on Friday, $1,400 checks will go out by the end of the month to individuals making under $75,000 and couples making under $150,000.
“This bill will provide aid to those people who are unemployed through no fault of their own due to COVID,” says Doyle.
That’s an additional $300 a week, on top of state unemployment benefits, through early September. Billions of dollars will also be allocated for vaccines and vaccine distribution.
Republicans like U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler said they support some of these items but voted against providing them because, they say, the bill went beyond coronavirus relief.
WATCH: Full Interviews With Reps. Doyle and Reschenthaler
“The problem is that 91 percent of this bill does not get help to people who need it,” Reschenthaler said. “It has health care for illegal immigrants. It has $50 million for Planned Parenthood. It has bail-outs for blue states that have had budget issues for years.”
“This is not a narrowly tailored bill to get help to people who need help,” added Reschenthaler.
“First of all, it’s not true,” said Democrat Doyle.
Doyle says Republicans only count the vaccination monies and ignore the critical economic support many need, including Pittsburgh.
“We will be able to avoid the layoffs, be able to give the same amount of services that people have expected the past few years, and not only guarantee it for this year but next year as well,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said on Wednesday.
But Republicans blame those governments for mismanaging the pandemic.
“Crushed their revenues by the Draconian measures they took. They’re getting rewarded for irresponsible behavior,” said Reschenthaler.
But Democrats predict this about Republicans who voted against the relief bill:MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Pittsburgh: Pitt Center For Vaccine Research Explains How Variants Form And What They Mean
“I’m sure they’ll be there when the checks are being handed out to their constituents,” said Doyle.