President Joe Biden finally signed his party’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package into law on Thursday after weeks of chatter. One Democrat couldn’t be happier with the news.
Anticipating the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) invited criticism from Republicans when she commented Tuesday that she was “so excited” and couldn’t “hide it” as the House moved forward to passing the monolith bill.
“I’m so excited — I just can’t hide it,” Pelosi said, according to The Washington Times.
“This is the Biden American Rescue Plan,” she added. “This legislation is a reflection of his values.”
“Excitement” over relief bill
Critics are liable to see Pelosi’s “excitement” in a sinister light.
As Republicans and Democrats have gone back and forth on COVID-19 relief over the past year, Republicans have frequently accused Pelosi of pushing costly, partisan “wish lists” only tangentially related to the coronavirus. That point came up again this time around, as Republican Rep. Liz Cheney (WY) said that Pelosi forsook an opportunity to work in a genuinely bipartisan fashion.
“We could have had a bill that was a fraction of the cost of this one that could have gotten bipartisan approval and support,” she said, according to the Times. “But the speaker decided to go in another direction.”
Biden hails “bipartisan” achievement
The nearly $2 trillion bill is closer to the target long sought by Pelosi in previous rounds of coronavirus relief, so her “excitement” is understandable.
The bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks — a noticeable downgrade from the $2,000 checks Biden promised to send out the door “immediately” — and a renewal of a $300 boost to unemployment insurance, among other benefits. Republicans say the bill is mostly a giveaway to Democratic special interests.
Also included are $350 billion in funding for state and local governments long sought by Pelosi and nearly $130 billion for public schools. The bill does not include a provision cementing a $15 federal minimum wage as Democrats had hoped, however, and the unemployment insurance amount is down from the $400 per week sought by the House, as The Washington Times reports.
President Biden, who has made much of governing with “unity,” hailed the bill Thursday as a bipartisan achievement, despite it passing both houses of Congress strictly along partisan lines.
“It’s clear that an overwhelming percentage of the American people — Democrats, independents, our Republican friends have made it clear — the people out there made it clear they strongly support the American Rescue Plan,” he said, according to ABC News.