Burr, Tillis vote against Biden’s massive COVID-19 relief package as it passes Senate

Senate Democrats passed their version of the near $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act on Saturday, but not before making some major changes from the version of the bill passed by the House last week. The bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks for many Americans, extended federal unemployment benefits, billions for K-12 schools, billions for state and local governments and funding for vaccine distribution.

Some of the most notable changes between the two relief bills include the removal of a $15 minimum wage and reducing the number of people who will qualify for a $1,400 stimulus payment.

North Carolina Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr voted against the relief, along with the eight GOP members of the North Carolina delegation in the House — despite a late February poll finding that a majority of Americans supported the bill, including 60 percent of Republicans. 

From the News & Observer:

“Thom Tillis and Richard Burr have once again put politics over helping North Carolinians struggling during the pandemic,” newly elected North Carolina Democratic Party chair Bobbie Richardson said in a statement Saturday. “From putting checks in the pockets of families, to providing funding for vaccines, schools, and small businesses, the American Rescue Plan is urgently necessary and incredibly popular. It’s exactly what North Carolina needs during this crisis.”

North Carolina is set to receive more than $5.3 billion from the package and local governments in the state would get another $3.8 billion. The bill includes about $28 billion in grants for restaurants and would expand who is eligible for child tax credits that will put more money in the pockets of parents. 

Through the American Rescue Plan, the Biden-Harris administration and Democrats have delivered on their promise to take steps in delivering relief to those who need it the most. 

Bottom Line: The bill is one step closer to addressing the inequities exacerbated by the pandemic — providing funding in areas neglected by the former administration’s COVID-19 response. 

Alanna Joyner