House to hold final vote on Covid-19 stimulus bill

1 min ago

It could take some time for struggling Americans to see all the benefits included in the relief bill 

From CNN’s Tami Luhby and Katie Lobosco

The $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill that President Biden championed even before taking office is expected to land on his desk shortly after the House passes the legislation.

It could take some time, however, for struggling Americans to see all the benefits.

While the $1,400 stimulus payments could hit people’s bank accounts within days of Biden signing the bill, the extension of federal unemployment benefits as well as the enhanced child tax credit and more generous Affordable Care Act subsidies may take a few weeks — or even a few months — to arrive.

The exact timing would depend on when federal departments can write the guidelines and how long it takes them and state agencies to then implement the new provisions.

When it comes to unemployment benefits, there is little time to waste. More than 11 million Americans are set to start seeing their pandemic unemployment benefits lapse this weekend.

If Biden signs the bill quickly after the House approves the bill, the jobless may see little or no break in payments. But it depends on which state they live in.

The bill passed by the Senate last weekend would continue the existing $300 weekly federal boost and two key pandemic unemployment programs through Sept. 6:

  • The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program provides benefits to freelancers, gig workers, independent contractors and certain people affected by the pandemic
  • The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program increases the duration of payments for those in the traditional state unemployment system

Some states say they expect to be able to continue sending out benefits without pause — as long as they don’t have to make many changes to their unemployment systems.

“If President Biden signs the bill soon and there are no additional program requirements in the bill, we should be able to implement the extensions without any interruption in payments,” said Kersha Cartwright, a spokesperson for Georgia’s Department of Labor. “That is a lot of assumptions, though.”

Read more here.

9 min ago

The House is debating the Covid-19 relief bill. Here’s what both sides are saying.

From CNN’s Elise Hammond

From left to right, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Rep. Jason Smith speak on the House floor in Washington, DC, on March 10.
From left to right, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Rep. Jason Smith speak on the House floor in Washington, DC, on March 10. House TV

Members of the House are debating the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill right now. They are expected to take a final vote on the bill soon.

Here is what both sides are saying:


Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic caucus chair, says the package is all about helping Americans who are struggling. He said during his remarks on the House floor today that Congress needs to act with urgency.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is a one in a century crisis. It requires once in a century comprehensive, compassionate and continuing congressional response. That is what the American Rescue Plan is all about,” he said.

Jeffries pointed out that more than 500,000 people have died from the virus and more than 100,000 businesses have closed during the pandemic. He also said the money is needed to help people that are dealing with food insecurity and homelessness, as well as to revive the economy.

“So much pain, suffering and death and our Republican colleagues want us to do nothing. What is wrong with you?” he said.

“We will build back better for the people. Help is on the way,” Jeffries added.

Other Democrats echoed Jeffries comments, repeating the phrase “help is on the way” several times. They also said the public supports the bill.


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Democrats have not tried to pass a relief plan with bipartisanship, and called the package a “missed opportunity” to focus on the real needs of Americans.

He said the bill will cost taxpayers more than $5,000 each, saying it is one of the most expensive bills in American history.

“You send the government your tax dollars but you only get a fraction of what you pay for at best,” he said, referring to the $1,400 direct payments that will be sent to some Americans as part of the plan.

McCarthy said the American Rescue Plan is “very liberal” and “in both the House and Senate, the only bipartisan vote has been against this.”

Rep. Jason Smith, a Republican from Missouri, also argued the bill was a “partisan process” and Congress should focus on “timely and targeted relief to support those who need it most.”

“From the very beginning of this process Republicans have been saying that this bailout was never about Covid relief, but rather about Democrats trying to notch some wins for their political base. Appease their allies, rather than help Americans,” Smith said.

Watch Rep. Hakeem Jeffries:

Watch House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy:

44 min ago

Schumer calls Covid-19 relief bill “most sweeping federal recovery package in recent history”

From CNN’s Ali Zaslav

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks during a news conference in Washington, DC, on March 6.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks during a news conference in Washington, DC, on March 6. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed confidence in the final passage of the Covid-19 relief bill today, describing it as the the “most sweeping federal recovery package in recent history.”

The “House of Representatives is set to approve the American Rescue Plan and send it straight to President Biden’s desk for his signature. Capping a month long effort by Democrats to pass bold Covid relief to defeat the pandemic and boost our economy,” the New York Democrat said.

“Once President Biden signs the bill into law, it will immediately become the most sweeping federal recovery package in recent history,” he continued.

The Senate passed their version of the bill on Saturday. The chamber made some notable changes to the the version initially passed in the House, including narrowing eligibility for stimulus checks, trimming the federal boost to jobless benefits and eliminating an increase in the federal minimum wage.

1 hr 25 min ago

CEOs strongly back Biden’s stimulus plan — even more than the public does

From CNN’s Matt Egan

President Joe Biden speaks from the State Dining Room at the White House on March 6 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden speaks from the State Dining Room at the White House on March 6 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue plan is getting high marks from business leaders.

Seventy-three percent of the CEOs and business leaders polled during Wednesday’s virtual Yale CEO Caucus support Biden’s American Rescue Plan. That includes 37% who indicated “strong” support for the package.

This suggests the C-Suite is even more supportive of the plan than Americans at large, as a CNN poll released Wednesday showed 61% of the public supports the legislation.

“This is a big day and we’re very thankful for what the administration is getting done and what Congress is getting done with this bill,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said during the Yale event.

But business leaders are also concerned the Biden plan may be too expensive. Of the leaders polled by Yale, 61% say the $1.9 trillion package goes too far, while just 27% say it is just right.

“But they still like it. There’s a paradox,” said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, founder of Yale’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute.

Parker, the American Airlines CEO, said there will always be those who think something can be done for less.

“That’s not the bigger point,” he said. “The bigger point is there is broad public support for this bill. And that’s certainly true among those of us that are running airlines.”

1 hr 31 min ago

The House is currently debating the bill ahead of a vote on final passage

From CNN’s Clare Foran, Katie Lobosco and Tami Luhby

House TV
House TV

Lawmakers are debating the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan now on the House floor. If passed in the chamber, it will then go to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

Key features of the package include:

  • Up to $1,400-per-person stimulus payments that will send money to about 90% of households (Use our calculator to see if you’ll qualify for a stimulus check)
  • $300 federal boost to weekly jobless benefits
  • An expansion of the child tax credit of up to $3,600 per child
  • $350 billion in state and local aid, as well as billions of dollars for K-12 schools to help students return to the classroom, to assist small businesses hard-hit by the pandemic and for vaccine research, development and distribution
  • Extends a 15% increase in food stamp benefits through September
  • Helps low-income households cover rent
  • Makes federal premium subsidies for Affordable Care Act policies more generous and provides $8.5 billion to rural hospitals and health care providers

Action on the bill was briefly stalled when Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called for a motion to adjourn, a move she has repeatedly used to disrupt the floor schedule and that has frustrated even members of her own party.

The final vote on the motion to adjourn failed 149-235, with 40 Republicans voting against the motion.

1 hr 31 min ago

Greene’s procedural vote fails with 40 House Republicans voting against it

From CNN’s Kristin Wilson 

The final vote on the motion to adjourn failed 149-235, with forty Republicans voting against the motion, and therefore against their own colleague, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

This is the largest number of Republicans to vote against Greene’s motion to adjourn since the Georgia freshman started pulling the move.

This large group of Republicans to vote against Greene’s floor procedural delay underscores the internal rift that CNN’s Manu Raju, Annie Grayer and Ryan Nobles reported yesterday about how some Republicans are frustrated by members of their own party using procedural delays in this way and speaks to the internal struggle the party is facing over how to best leverage their minority.

Greene’s move is also a big deal not only because a freshman member is doing this but because this is a move that not everyone in the party agrees with and it’s not coming from leadership.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has yet to weigh in publicly about what he thinks about this, and ignored CNN’s Daniella Diaz’s attempt to ask him questions on this moments ago. Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, and GOP Rep. Liz Cheney told CNN’s Annie Grayer yesterday that while this wasn’t leadership’s doing, they understood the frustration of members that was leading them to do this.

CNN’s Annie Grayer contributed reporting to this post.

1 hr 46 min ago

CNN poll: What Americans think about Biden’s Covid-19 relief bill 

From CNN’s polling director Jennifer Agiesta

The economic relief bill moving rapidly through Congress is broadly popular, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.

The popularity of the bill comes as President Biden’s approval rating tilts positive around 50 days after he took the oath of office.

Here are some key things shown in the poll:

  • In the new poll, 61% support the $1.9 trillion economic relief bill proposed by Biden and expected to pass in the House Wednesday, and several key provisions of the bill are even more popular.
  • A broad majority of Americans (85%) say they support policies in the bill that would provide larger tax credits for families and make them easier for low-income households to claim, including majorities across party lines (95% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans support it).
  • Around three-quarters favor provisions to provide funding to facilitate a return to the classroom for K-12 students (77%), and sending stimulus checks worth up to $1,400 per person to most families and individuals (76%).
  • Both of those policies also have majority support across party lines (55% of Republicans support each, among Democrats, support tops 90% for each one).
  • A smaller majority, 59%, say they back providing $350 billion in aid to state and local governments. That policy sparks the sharpest partisan divide among the four tested, with 88% of Democrats in favor vs. just 28% of Republicans.

Read more about the poll’s findings here.

More on the poll: The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS March 3 through 8 among a random national sample of 1,009 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

2 hr 12 min ago

White House adviser: Biden rescue plan is “humongous” because the pandemic is a “logistical nightmare”

From CNN’s Matt Egan

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond speaks during a roundtable meeting in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 5.
White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond speaks during a roundtable meeting in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 5. Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg/Getty Images

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond defended the size of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue plan Wednesday as the appropriate response given the scale of the health crisis. 

“It’s a humongous package. No one is pretending $1.9 trillion is not a lot,” Richmond said during the Yale CEO Caucus.

But Richmond, the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, pointed to the enormous challenge in vaccinating 300 million Americans. “It’s a logistical nightmare,” he said. 

“We went big because we thought it was a big problem. And we’re going to go out now and educate people about the benefits of it so they can take part in it,” Richmond said.

Of the CEOs and other business leaders polled during the Yale event, 61% said they think the American Rescue Plan goes too far. 

But Richmond compared the pandemic to the devastation in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

 “Sometimes in this country people get knocked down to a point where it’s beyond their capacity to get up,” he said. “If it’s beyond their capacity, no matter how hard they work or what they do, at some point the government has to be there to help you.”

2 hr 23 min ago

Conservative Republican calls for motion to adjourn in order to push back timing of Covid-19 bill vote

From CNN’s Annie Grayer 

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, speaks on the House floor in Washington, DC, on March 10.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, speaks on the House floor in Washington, DC, on March 10. House TV

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, has called for a motion to adjourn already, a move she has repeatedly used to mess with the floor schedule.

This means that the expected noon ET vote on the Covid-19 relief bill will be pushed back by at least 45 minutes.

We expect voting to begin on the $1.9 trillion dollar package around 12:30 p.m. ET to 1 p.m. ET.  

Greene’s decision to again slow down the floor schedule comes as House Republicans remain engaged in an internal struggle over how to assert their power with their robust minority, with a small contingent of conservative hardliners — like Greene— taking extreme measures to disrupt routine business of the chamber, irritating many of their GOP colleagues who are eager to wage a more focused battle over President Biden’s agenda.