‘Elections matter’: PNW lawmakers react to Senate’s passage of relief bill

Politics

Many Democratic lawmakers from Oregon and Washington praised the passage of the $1.9 trillion bill

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Now that the Senate passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Saturday morning, many Democratic lawmakers in the Pacific Northwest are celebrating its passage.

The bill was passed on a party-line vote of 50 to 49 after more than 25 hours in session. It must now be sent back to the House, then back to Biden’s desk for his signature this coming week.

If passed, the bill would provide $1,400 checks for most Americans and direct billions of dollars toward schools, state and local governments and businesses.

“[W]e’re one step closer to putting checks in people’s pockets and vaccines in their arms. Let’s get this thing through the House and at @POTUS’s desk ASAP!” Tweeted Oregon’s Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., praised the passage of the bill as well, which he said in a statement included a restaurant relief proposal that he wrote and championed as part of “Biden’s American Rescue Plan.” That part of the bill will provide $28.6 billion in relief to restaurants across the country, he said.

“Help will finally be on the way to beloved local restaurants and their workers soon!” Blumenauer Tweeted.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., also sang praises of the bill’s passage Saturday.

“Democrats promised the American people big, bold action on COVID relief, and we just delivered on that promise. Elections matter,” Wyden tweeted.

Wyden also said in a written statement the relief bill includes an agreement to continue the $300 weekly boost to unemployment benefits that he championed as the Senate Finance Committee Chair.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who voted in support of the bill, stressed the critical provisions of the bill.

“Priority number one for so many Americans right now, is the COVID-19 vaccine. In my state, the State of Washington, more than one million residents have been vaccinated and six million more are still waiting, and everyone knows that demand far exceeds the supply,” Cantwell said on the Senate floor Friday. “Our health care workers are working tirelessly, along with other government officials, to get shots in the arms of individuals… That is job one right now: get the vaccine into the arms of Americans.”

Democratic Washington lawmakers Rep. Derek Kilmer and Sen. Patty Murray, among others, also praised the bill’s priorities.

“The American people spoke loud and clear that they wanted bigger, bolder relief in this moment of crisis,” Kilmer tweeted. “Today, Senate Democrats delivered on our promise and passed the American Rescue Plan.”

Democrats said their “American Rescue Plan” would help the country defeat the virus and nurse the economy back to health. Republicans criticized the $1.9 trillion package as more expensive than necessary. The measure follows five earlier virus bills totaling about $4 trillion that Congress has enacted since last spring.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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