The U.S. House of Representatives was expected to approve a budget measure on Friday that would enable Democrats to push President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package through Congress without Republican support in a process that will likely take weeks.
The U.S. Senate narrowly approved a version of the budget plan at the end of a marathon debate that went into Friday morning.
House leaders said lawmakers will begin a procedural vote around midday, and if that succeeds, the budget will be deemed adopted.
Democrats and the Biden administration have said they want comprehensive legislation to move quickly to address a pandemic that has killed more than 450,000 Americans and left millions jobless.
Data showing weakness in the U.S. jobs market proves the need for aggressive action by Congress on a coronavirus relief bill, President Joe Biden said.
“It’s people’s lives. Real-life people are hurting and we can fix it,” Biden said at the White House. “When we help them we are also helping our competitive capacity,” he said.
U.S. employment growth rebounded less than expected in January and job losses the prior month were deeper than initially thought.
Once the budget resolution is passed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it would be time for lawmakers to get busy writing the actual COVID-19 legislation reflecting Biden’s plan, with the goal of getting it through the House by month’s end.
“Next week, we will be writing the legislation to create a path to final passage for the Biden American Rescue Plan, so that we can finish our work before the end of February,” Pelosi said in a letter to fellow Democrats.