Updated Dec 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Congress passes massive coronavirus relief and government spending package

Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer on the steps of the Capitol

Photo: Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

The House and Senate passed a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill and a $1.4 trillion government funding measure Monday night after months of gridlock on Capitol Hill.

Why it matters: The bill’s passage comes before many of the existing coronavirus relief measures were set to expire on January 1. It also staves off a government shutdown.

The big picture: While the plan is roughly half the size of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act Congress passed in March, it is still one of the most expensive rescue packages in modern history.

  • Democratic leaders, who backed down significantly from their previous push for another $2 trillion bill, say they view this deal as a "down payment" — something to tide Americans over until Joe Biden takes office and they can pass additional stimulus.
  • But some lawmakers, including progressives, are skeptical Biden will be able to do this as easily as Democrats are projecting — especially given many Republicans have resumed their posture as deficit hawks now that Trump is on his way out, and vaccines are being distributed across the country.

For the record: The House passed the measure, 359-53, while the Senate vote was 92-6.

  • The six Republican senators who voted against the bill: Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rick Scott of Florida, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Go deeper: Inside the $900 billion stimulus compromise

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details, including on the Senate vote and further context.

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