WASHINGTON — The Senate passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill on Saturday morning after more than 25 hours in session.
The final vote on the bill, called the American Rescue Plan by Biden, was 50-49.
Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan was absent due to a family emergency, but Vice President Kamala Harris would have possibly broken the tie if Sullivan had been present.
North Carolina’s two Republican Senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, both voted against the bill.
No Republicans in the U.S. House supported the bill.
Tillis shared a statement on social media after the vote, saying he believes that the Democratic party pushed the bill through the Senate and halted the bipartisan relief efforts around the five previously passed coronavirus relief bills.
The senator’s full statement is provided below:
“I voted against the $1.9 trillion spending bill passed by Senate Democrats. My Democratic colleagues pushed their partisan spending bill through the Senate and put an end to the bipartisan spirit of COVID relief that produced results over the past year.
The reality is we still have more than $1 trillion of unspent funds from the previous COVID relief bills which is why I co-introduced a $650 billion COVID-19 relief plan as a substitute amendment that was blocked by Senate Democrats.”–Senator Thom Tillis (R)
North Carolina Democratic Party chair Bobbie Richardson spoke out against Tillis and Burr on Saturday in the following statement:
“Thom Tillis and Richard Burr have once again put politics over helping North Carolinians struggling during the pandemic. From putting checks in the pockets of families, to providing funding for vaccines, schools, and small businesses, the American Rescue Plan is urgently necessary and incredibly popular. It’s exactly what North Carolina needs during this crisis.”–North Carolina Democratic Party chair Bobbie Richardson
Early in February, Tillis, along with nine of his Republican colleagues, sent a letter to Biden and unveiled their own pandemic relief proposal.
The details of the Senators’ proposal from last month can be found here.
Now that the vote is finished on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, it will return to the House for final passage since it faced changes in the Senate.
The bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks for many Americans, extended federal unemployment benefits, billions for state and local governments and money set aside for vaccine distribution.
Democrats are hoping Biden signs the bill before current job benefits expire on March 14.