In the early hours of Friday morning, the United States Senate passed President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief bill with a 51-50 vote along party lines, providing a much needed boost of aid to the economy and the American people.
Citing the shortcomings of the plan rolled out to address the 2008-2009 financial crisis, President Biden has repeatedly stated his desire to act quickly and deliver relief to the country at the intersection of multiple crises. The measure is generally seen as an extensive, but necessary aid package needed to support American workers and businesses in unprecedented economic times.
The President’s COVID-19 relief plan includes, among other things, money to speed up vaccine distribution, provide direct help to small businesses owners, grants for bars and restaurants shuddered by the pandemic, reopen schools, provide breathing room for state and local budgets, and send checks of $1400 directly to individuals.
Despite opposition from the Republican Party, citing the size of the bill, recent polling has found that the aid package has strong support from the American people. Direct payments, which began under the Trump administration, has long enjoyed popularity among members of all political ideology.
A Quinnipiac poll found that among those surveyed, two-thirds supported the relief package, and nearly eight in ten supported the $1,400 direct payments; the poll also found support for raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, though this is not included in the current bill.
“We can’t do too much here,” said President Biden. “But we can do too little.”