The U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee on Monday approved legislation with $1.9 trillion in new coronavirus relief, advancing a top priority of President Joe Biden toward a full House vote on passage expected later this week.
The measure passed the panel on a largely party-line vote of 19-16, as the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surpassed the grim benchmark of 500,000 victims. Millions more have been left jobless by the pandemic.
The sweeping legislation is intended to stimulate the U.S. economy and carry out Biden’s proposals to provide additional money for COVID-19 vaccines and other medical equipment.
“We must act swiftly to put an end to this pandemic and to stem the suffering felt by so many millions,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said later that efforts in the House and Senate have kept the bill on track to be approved by both chambers and sent to Biden for his signature before federal unemployment benefits expire on March 14.