A significant win for Democrats, the bill’s signing Thursday shows the deep divide in the Senate.
By Riley Mulcahy
President Joe Biden signed his 1.9 trillion dollar COVID Relief Bill into law Thursday without any Republican support in a historic move. Not surprisingly, Republican lawmakers took it upon themselves to dismiss the American people’s needs and vote against their voters’ interests.
The bill will give millions of direct payments of $1400 to millions of Americans who have suffered financially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the bill will provide economic relief to small businesses, farmers, vaccine development, and much more.
The bill comes at a time where Americans need it the most. According to The Washington Post, nearly 10.1 million Americans are believed to be unemployed; however, it is more than likely that the actual number is more significant. In this time of economic crisis, the United States of America needs to help its citizens.
Given that we are in a horrific pandemic, there has been an economic fallout that needs to be addressed directly. Critics of the bill question the government spending so much money and whether or not those receiving the bill will require financial assistance. Using this logic, why was there a need to do a tax cut in 2017 for millionaires and billionaires? Republicans voted to cut taxes, which cost America 1.9 trillion dollars, however when there is a true crisis, they refuse to acknowledge the pain and suffering millions are enduring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The only reason why the bill made it through Congress is the process of budget reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority vote from the Senate. The process can only be used if the items are about the budget, and the process is long and arduous. During the procedure, Biden’s campaign promise of implementing the 15 dollar minimum wage was taken out, even though the wage increase would be gradual. For decades, hard-working Americans have struggled to survive on low wages when corporations become more affluent and prosperous. At what point do we start to value everyone’s work, not just those in the one percent?
Although the bill is impressive, it simply does not do enough to provide Americans the relief they need. In his campaign, Biden promised that he would get 2,000 dollars in Americans’ hands as soon as possible. In reality, Biden was able to pass checks of 1,400 dollars, which, although great, does not fit the promise he made months ago.
The exclusion of promises is not shocking however, Democrats having to make compromises to ensure all Democrat support. Following the past year Congressional election the Democrats have gained a narrow majority in both the Senate and the House. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has voted along with Republicans in controversial Supreme Court picks, has walked the line of a moderate Democrat and an obstructionist. He has told the press he shared Republicans' concerns on the budget concerning the bill.
When unity is being preached in regards to insurrection and riots promoted by Republicans, it only goes one way. Democrats must end the filibuster and get what most Americans want, expanded voting rights, justice for African Americans, and a system that finally puts the American people first.
Although the bill is only a first step, it is a good one. Biden will be known as the president who saved us from a madman, but his policies are not radical; they are practical. The common-sense approach will help Biden with his popularity, but not to Republicans. The impasse we will find ourselves as Americans will lead Democrats with two choices, abide by rules and regulations such as the filibuster or stand up for democracy and refuse to be bullied by Republicans. Furthermore, Republicans who fight his policies are not patriots, and they are criminals. It is time for the United States government to give Americans a chance to have their voices heard, not stick to the status quo as politicians are getting richer and richer.
Melanie Moyer '22,