© Reuters. The Pelosi spokesman speaks to a reporter as the House opens the debate in Washington on President Biden's Senate version of the COVID-19 relief plan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives will by Wednesday accept the Senate version of the $ 1.9 trillion comprehensive coronavirus aid package backed by President Joe Biden, spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said Monday.
The Democrats are finalizing approval of one of the largest poverty alleviation measures in the US since the 1960s, and aim to pass the massive laws by Sunday, when the federal improved unemployment benefits expire.
The Senate passed its version of the bill after an overnight marathon vote on Saturday. The Senate version eliminated or reduced some provisions contained in the House bill that raised the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour and extended extended unemployment benefits through August 29.
After it passes the Senate, it must be passed by the House again before it can get to Biden's desk and be included in law.
Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol that the timing of a floor vote "depends on when we get the paper from the Senate."
"We'd record it by Wednesday morning at the latest," she said.
Like the Senate, the Democrats hold a very narrow majority in the chamber, which means they can't stand up to many votes against the bill.
The first version of the bill was passed in the House of Representatives without a single Republican vote. Two Democrats voted against it alongside the Republicans. Republicans, who broadly supported coronavirus aid at the start of the pandemic, have criticized the price of the Biden aid package.
On Friday, while the Senate vote was still in progress, House Democrat lawmaker Bonnie Watson Coleman said she was "disgusted" by some changes in the Senate bill and asked if she could support it. A spokesman for her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But Representative Pramila Jayapal, director of the Congressional Progressive (NYSE 🙂 caucus, told reporters she thought members of the left group would support what she described as "phenomenal" legislation that met most of its members' priorities.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki praised the legislation at a press conference ahead of the bill being passed. While there were some changes to the margins, it represented the "gist" of what Biden originally proposed, she said.
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