After 27 hours of deliberation, the U.S. Senate passed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Saturday with a 50-49 party-line vote.
The package will supply most Americans with a stimulus check of up to $1,400, expanded emergency unemployment benefits, finances for COVID-19 vaccines, and provide funds to schools and colleges for reopening.
"We tell the American people, help is on the way," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Our job right now is to help our country get from this stormy present to that hopeful future."
But Republicans said the relief plan would add dramatically to this year's federal budget, pumping it up to $6 trillion, $4 trillion of which would be debt.
"The Senate has never spent $2 trillion in a more haphazard way," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). While referencing Democrats, he said, "Their top priority wasn't pandemic relief. It was their Washington wish list."
With COVID cases and deaths reported to be on the decline and the economy on the upswing, Democrats still want the expensive relief bill even as the U.S. national debt careens closer to $28 trillion.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said lawmakers were determined to "power through" Saturday and complete the bill that offers $300 weekly in unemployment benefits, $350 billion for states and localities, provides economic assistance to renters and extends the child tax credit.
House Democrats approved the relief bill last Saturday in a 219-212 vote.
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."