The U.S. House passed early Saturday the Biden administration's nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief package by a vote of 219-212, multiple news sources reported.
The crisis package is the first major stimulus initiative for U.S. President Joe Biden. All Republican members voted against the passage, while two Democrats -- Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon -- joined them in opposing the bill.
Senators will start considering the pandemic boost plan next week. Legislators will offer revisions, and the chamber will likely submit a different version of the package.
Republicans overwhelmingly oppose the bill, raising doubts the spending is more than necessary and intended to push policy priorities that go beyond providing financial aid to Americans to help get through the crisis.
The president and Democrats argue that a robust financial assistance is required to prevent a long and difficult recovery from the pandemic.
The stimulus package advanced by the Democrats also includes direct financial assistance to small businesses, $1,400 direct checks to Americans earning less than $75,000 per year, an increase in child tax credit, and billions of dollars for coronavirus vaccine distribution and assist schools and local governments.
The bill also calls for payments to be distributed monthly instead of in one lump sum. If the Treasury Secretary determines that is not feasible, then the payments are to be delivered as frequently as possible.
"The time for decisive action is long overdue," CNCB quoted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif) as saying Friday night before the vote. "The President's American Rescue Plan is that decisive action."
If enacted, the legislation would be the sixth round of stimulus from the federal government. The economy is still reeling from widespread lockdowns, and most Americans continue to wait for their turns to be immunized. Democratic leaders want the bill to become law by March 14, when unemployment claims expire.