The US House of Representatives approved a $1.9 trillion Coronavirus relief bill early Saturday morning in a 219-212 vote.
The two Democrats who voted against the plan, US Reps. Jared Golden (ME) and Kurt Schrader (OR), also opposed a $3 trillion bill last May which was never passed. No Republicans supported Saturday's bill.
Several hours before the vote, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) mocked the resolution, calling it "Pelosi's Payoff Bill."
McCarthy also described the bill as "Democrats' costly, corrupt and liberal spending package," one that he claimed signified, "The Swamp is back."
"Congress won't actually vote on this bill until 2 a.m. Saturday. Why? Because Democrats are so embarrassed by all the non-COVID waste in this bill that they are jamming it through in the dead of night. We ran the numbers," McCarthy stated. "The amount of money that actually goes to defeating the virus is less than 9 percent – less than 9 percent! So don't call it a rescue bill. Don't call it a relief bill. Call it the Pelosi Payoff."
A large number of Republicans disapproved of the Democrats' plan to include a $15 minimum wage provision as part of the relief package, stressing that it would have a negative impact on businesses and many Americans would lose their jobs.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared that the goal of achieving a $15 minimum wage would be reached somehow, despite opposition from other Democrats.
"It is inevitable to all of us, the $15 minimum wage will be achieved even if it is inconceivable to some, it is inevitable to us – and we will work diligently to shorten the distance between the inevitable and the inconceivable," Pelosi said.
The bill includes a third $1,400 stimulus check for Americans who earn less than $75,000 a year and raises unemployment benefits to $400 a week until the end of August.
Additionally, it increases the child tax credit up to $3,600 per child, provides $350 billion for state and local government resources and distributes $170 billion for K-12 schools and colleges for reopening expenses.
While Republicans and fiscal conservatives can get behind the money going towards targeted COVID relief, like unemployment benefits and funding for vaccine distribution, they're concerned about the "pork" attached to this latest relief package.
A Wall Street Journal editorial estimates that only about $825 billion of the new bill relates to COVID relief. It goes on to say, "the rest of the bill, more than $1 trillion, is a combination of bailouts for Democratic constituencies, expansions of progressive programs, pork, and unrelated policy changes."
After the House voted, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) remarked that the House Dems brought the "wrong attitude" to the COVID relief bill.
"In 2020, Congress passed five COVID-19 rescue passages," McConnell said in a statement. "All five were completely bipartisan. It was the largest peacetime fiscal expansion in American history because both parties had shaped the bills together and they met Americans' urgent needs."