House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "On this vote the yay's are 219. The nays are 212. The bill is passed."
The House approved a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill in a nearly party-line vote early Saturday morning. The bill is now off to the Senate.
Democrats expedited the bill through the chamber — citing the pandemic's death toll and economic strain as requiring urgent action.
The bill would provide $1400 payments to individuals. It also extends unemployment benefits through August, adds child tax credits and allocates money to reopen schools.
Every Republican in the House voted against the package, joined by two Democrats. Many from the minority party said the bill is both too expensive and also insufficient to get kids back into school.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said: "Today's Pelosi's payoff bill still won't provide assurances to parents and students that their schools will even reopen."
Protesters chant: "Fifteen! Fifteen! Fifteen!"
One provision in the bill - to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 - is already in peril. That's because the Senate parliamentarian ruled the wage hike can't be included in a budget bill without a filibuster-proof vote of 60 senators. However, the federal spending in the bill can be passed with a simple majority.
Republicans say the minimum wage hike would hurt small businesses. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a $15 wage is needed to address economic inequities that favor big business over guaranteeing workers a living wage.
"This is corporate welfare. This is a subsidy for business to pay a low wage. We want to work to be respected. We respect the dignity of work."
The Senate will now debate its version of the bill over the next two weeks.
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