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Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House voted 220-211 on Wednesday to approve the Senate's revised version of President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, sending the bill to Biden's desk to be signed.

Why it matters: The passage of the American Rescue Plan is the first — and potentially defining — legislative victory of Biden's presidency, marking a key milestone in his pledge to steer the U.S. out of the coronavirus crisis.

What they're saying: "This legislation is about giving the backbone of this nation — the essential workers, the working people who built this country, the people who keep this country going — a fighting chance," Biden said in a statement following the bill's passage.

The big picture: The package is being touted by Democrats as one of the most consequential anti-poverty bills of the modern era, with the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center projecting that it will boost incomes for the poorest 20% of Americans by 20%.

  • Current unemployment benefits expire for millions of Americans in less than a week, a deadline that pushed Congress to act quickly on one of the largest spending packages in U.S. history.
  • Polling shows the bill enjoys widespread bipartisan support within the general public, though some experts worry that a massive injection of stimulus into the recovering economy might result in inflation.

How we got here: The massive spending package was passed via budget reconciliation, a process that allows the Senate to approve legislation with a simple majority vote, rather than the usual 60-vote threshold.

  • Had Democrats not clinched control of the Senate by winning the two runoff elections in Georgia in January, the size of the package — if one existed at all — would have been far smaller.
  • The bill passed in the Senate last week 50-49 after a marathon of late-night amendments, which only began after Republicans forced the clerk to read the entire 628-page bill out loud — a process that took 11 hours.
  • The House vote fell almost exactly along party lines, with one Democrat — Rep. Jared Golden of Maine — voting against it.

Details: The bill approves $1,400 stimulus payments for individuals making up to $75,000 and couples making $150,000. It will also extend weekly $300 unemployment insurance until Sept. 6. Other highlights include:

  • An increased child tax credit in 2021 of $3,600 for children up to age 5 and up to $3,000 for ages 6–17.
  • $128.6 billion to help K-12 schools reopen.
  • $19 billion in emergency rental assistance.
  • $25 billion to help restaurants.
  • $46 billion for coronavirus testing and tracing.
  • $5.2 billion to support the research and development of vaccines.
  • $7.25 billion for Paycheck Protection Program loans.

What to watch: The White House says Biden will sign the bill on Friday and that stimulus checks will begin going out before the end of the month.

Go deeper

White House nominates Rick Spinrad as NOAA leader

In this NOAA GOES-East satellite handout image, Hurricane Dorian, a Cat. 4 storm, moves slowly past Grand Bahama Island on September 2, 2019. (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)

The White House on Thursday evening nominated Rick Spinrad, an oceanographer at Oregon State University, to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Why it matters: Filling the NOAA slot would complete the Biden administration's leadership on the climate and environment team. The agency, located within the Commerce Department, houses the National Weather Service and conducts much of the nation's climate science research.

3 hours ago - World

Israeli officials will object to restoration of Iran deal in D.C. visit

Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the delegation traveling to Washington, D.C. next week for strategic talks on Iran to stress their objection to a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal and to refuse to discuss its contents, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: That position is similar to the one Israel took in the year before the 2015 nuclear deal was announced, which led to a rift between the Israeli government and the Obama administration. History could now repeat itself.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases aren't budging — even after vaccinations doubled— Health care workers feel stress, burnout more than a year into the pandemic — Handful of "breakthrough" COVID cases occurred in nursing homes, CDC says.
  2. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson's vaccine production problems look even bigger — All U.S. adults now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine.
  3. Political: Watchdog says agency infighting increased health and safety risks at start of pandemic.
  4. World: EU regulator: Benefits of J&J vaccine outweigh risk of rare blood clots.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.