By JOHN KANELIS / email@example.com
President Biden appears to be set to receive his first legislative triumph in the form of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that the U.S. Senate has just approved.
It has gone back to the House of Representatives, which will approve it once again, given its slim Democratic Party majority.
I want to stipulate a couple of points.
One is that the bill isn’t perfect. It contains some expenditures within the massive amount of money that really do not belong in legislation aimed at providing relief for Americans afflicted by the pandemic. It has killed more than 500,000 Americans and causing millions of others to lose their jobs.
Americans are hurting from this killer virus and the federal government needs to respond, given that every member of Congress as well as the president and vice president swear oaths to protect the citizens of this country.
As the saying goes and has been repeated all too often, it does no good to “let the perfect get in the way of the good.”
So, the legislation ain’t perfect, but it does do plenty of good.
It provides $300 a week in unemployment insurance for those who have lost their jobs; it provides $1,400 payments to individuals who earn less than a certain amount of money.
The bill that President Biden will sign — perhaps next week — lacks a $15 hourly minimum wage component, which is something congressional progressives insisted it contain. I figure the minimum range boost will end up eventually on Biden’s desk contained in another stack of legislation.
The most regrettable aspect of this legislation is that it is squeaking through Congress with just Democrats voting for it. The Senate vote was 50-49; Vice President Kamala Harris was poised to cast the tie-breaking vote, but one GOP senator, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, was absent from the roll call tally.
My own center-left philosophy hopes that Congress no longer will need to enact more measures to provide this kind of relief. I acknowledge that $1.9 trillion is a mighty hefty price tag and it gives me the nervous jerks to realize we are spending this kind of money that the government just doesn’t have in the bank.
But the president and most of Congress have answered the call. Those in Congress who have refused to lend aid to those who need it will have to deal with their consciences.
I am glad the COVID relief bill is heading toward the president’s desk. It isn’t perfect, but it does what it should be doing, which is to assist Americans who have fallen victim to the pandemic and the damage it has done.