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The U.S. Senate narrowly passed the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill Saturday morning in a 50-49 vote, clearing the most significant remaining hurdle before the bill — President Joe Biden’s first major legislative initiative — can be sent to the president for his signature.
While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was forced to scale back the unemployment insurance at the last minute, Democrats ultimately managed to keep their slim majority united enough to pass it. Every Republican present voted against it.
The legislation, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, underwent some changes — both big and small — and as such, will need to be voted on again by the House before it can be sent to the president for signature. Among the bigger changes, reports The New York Times, the Senate version has removed the $15 per hour federal minimum wage provision, made the stimulus checks phase-out faster, and reduced the unemployment insurance booster checks from $400 per week to $300 per week. ($10,200 in unemployment benefits is now also tax deductible.)
Under the new direct checks rules, individuals earning less than $75,000 per year will receive a $1,400 direct check, as will couples earning less than $150,000 per year. But under the expedited phase-out rules, individuals earning more than $80,000 will no longer qualify for partial checks, and neither will couples earning more than $160,000.