As President Joe Biden’s COVID relief bill passed in the Senate after 24 long hours of debate and lobbying, he expressed his gratitude to fellow Democrats and promised a “giant step forward” to Americans.
“When we took office 45 days ago, I promised the American people help was on the way. Today I can say we’ve taken one more giant step forward on delivering on that promise — that help is on the way,” said President Biden.
“It obviously wasn’t easy. It wasn’t always pretty. But it was so desperately needed, urgently needed,” he added.
Thanking Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer particularly for the leadership and negotiation skills he exhibited during the voting session.
Biden said, “I’ve never seen anyone work as skillfully, as ably, as patiently, with determination to deliver such a consequential piece of legislation. When the country needed you most, you led, Chuck, and you delivered. Neither I nor the country will ever forget that.”
In a gruelling session that went on for more than 24 hours, the bill passed with 50 votes in favour and 49 votes against it. Democrats had to push through with intense lobbying to pass the bill with key vote Senator Joe Manchin leaning towards voting for the bill proposed by GOP Senator Rob Portman.
The session was paralysed for 12 hours on Friday as Democrats pushed hard to ensure Manchin voted in favour of the bill.
The bill will provide $300 per week as jobless aid till September and direct payments of up to $1400 for millions of Americans
Taking a jibe at former President Donald Trump, the 46th President said, “When I was elected, I said we were going to get the government out of the business of battling on Twitter and back in the business of delivering for the American people, of making a difference in their lives, giving everyone a chance — a fighting chance — of showing the American people that their government can work for them, and passing the American Rescue Plan will do that.”
Barack Obama who has been vocal in his support for Joe Biden has also congratulated the Biden administration on Twitter. Biden was Vice President in the Obama administration.
Bernie Sanders has said this is the most progressive bill he has ever seen pass in the Senate.
Biden also thanked Vice President Kamala Harris and senators “who worked so hard to reach a compromise.”