The newly passed $3 trillion coronavirus relief package approved Friday by the U.S. House of Representatives would include $1,200 payments to all eligible American households and hazard pay for essential workers, though it will likely face an uphill battle to make it through the Senate.
As Fox News reported, the House narrowly approved the relief bill late on Friday, making it the most expensive piece of legislation ever passed by the body. The bill passed by a 208-199 vote, with several Democrats from vulnerable districts voting against it and retiring Republican Congressman Pete King voting in favor of it.
The 1,815-page package contains a number of measures meant to dull the effects of the coronavirus crisis, including help for local governments and a new round of stimulus checks for Americans. That includes $915 billion in state and local aid designed to prevent layoffs in critical areas, including first responders and teachers, Fox News reported. It also included a $200 billion “heroes” fund that would provide hazard pay for essential workers.
That idea has gotten some bipartisan support, with Utah Sen. Mitt Romney offering his own proposal that would give essential workers a $12 per hour pay boost. Romney’s office called his plan “Patriot Pay,” and a one-page summary of the plan said it would provide hazard pay to all those on the frontlines during the pandemic — including health care professionals, grocery story employees, food processors, and many others.
The newly passed House plan also contained a second round of stimulus payments to Americans, sending $1,200 checks for each person in a household, up to $6,000. The previous payments included only $500 for children.
As Fox News noted, the bill is expected to be met with resistance in the Senate, where some Republicans have already spoken out against it.
“So much of what’s in this bill simply has nothing at all to do with the current crisis,” said Republican Tom Cole from Oklahoma. “It’s more like a liberal Christmas… wish list. It would make more sense… to just send it straight to Santa Claus than to send it to the United States Senate. It would have a better chance of becoming law that way.”
Others expressed dismay at the stimulus checks, which could be given to some eligible undocumented immigrants. The White House had also threatened to veto the $3 trillion relief plan.
But the report added that Democrats have framed the bill as the opening of negotiations with Republicans, who have expressed support for a number of the provisions included in it.