Biden calls for stimulus bill with $1,400 checks to be passed ‘URGENTLY’ as Senate debates in vote-a-rama

JOE Biden has called for the stimulus bill with $1,400 checks to be passed "urgently" as the Senate debates in a vote-a-rama.

"Today’s jobs report shows that the American Rescue Plan is urgently needed," Biden said on Friday.


This week, the government reported that the unemployment rate dipped to 6.2 percent from 6.3, with 379,000 jobs added in February.

He went on to label the relief package as "absolutely essential to turning this around, getting kids back to school safely, giving a lifeline to small businesses and getting the upper hand in COVID-19."

“We can’t afford one step forward and two steps backward,” he said. “We need to beat the virus, provide a sense of relief and build an inclusive recovery. People need the help now.”

The Senate returned to the floor at 9am today to debate the bill for three hours before considering amendments.

The politicians then began voting on the $1.9trillion Covid relief package just before midday.

The vote comes after politicians spent 10 hours and 43 minutes reading the 628-page bill during a hearing yesterday, that finished at 2.04am ET.

The Senate voted 51-50 for the relief bill – with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.

This means a vote on final passage could come over the weekend.

Republicans, who are expected to use procedural tricks to drag out the process, began by forcing Senate clerks to read the entire bill.

Republican Senator Ron Johnson, who had demanded the reading, was the sole member present in the chamber through most of the evening except for a rotating series of Democrats who served as the body’s presiding officer.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pushed the urgency to have another Covid relief bill passed.

He said: "The time is now to move forward with big, bold, strong relief for the American people."

Democrats were hoping to pass the legislation by March 14 – when emergency unemployment benefits expire for millions.

Biden's $1.9trillion relief bill seeks to extend enhanced unemployment benefits until the end of August, as well as increase weekly federal bonus to $400 instead of the current $300.

In a Tuesday afternoon tweet, the president called for the Senate to "finish the job."

"The fact is that $600 is not enough," Biden wrote. "The Senate needs to pass the American Rescue Plan and finish the job of delivering $2,000 in direct relief."

Under the American Rescue Plan – a family of four could receive a $5,600 stimulus check – which will allocate up to $1,400 per dependent of any age, including children, young adults, or older adult relatives.

Those who earn up to $80,000 a year and couples who earn up to $200,000 a year would be eligible for the full payments of $1,400 or $2,800 respectively.

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