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House approves $1.9T COVID relief bill, Biden set to sign Friday

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United States Congress

The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved President Joe Biden‘s massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, sending it to his desk to be signed, marking Democrats’ first major legislative win under Biden.

The stimulus package passed without Republican support in a 220-211 party-line vote. Only one Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden (Maine), voted against it.

The House’s Wednesday afternoon vote came after the U.S. Senate passed a version of it on Saturday, also along party lines, with the bill having faced a grueling path to passage from Republicans and centrist Democrats in the upper chamber.

RELATED: Sen. Sinema breaks with Democrats on $15 minimum wage

The bill provides new funds for public health measures with another round of economic stimulus, giving a $1,400 check to many American adults and an extension of a $300 weekly jobless-aid supplement. Moreover, it includes a one-year expansion of the child tax credit; and grants money for vaccine distribution efforts, schools, and state and local governments, among other measures.

The president has said he will sign the bill as soon as it lands on his desk, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki saying Wednesday that Biden is expected to sign it on Friday afternoon. She also said that the president will tap an official to oversee the implementation of the legislation.

Thursday evening, the president is scheduled to deliver a primetime address to the nation to commemorate one year since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns began in the U.S., in his first major speech since his January 20 inaugural address. Notably, Biden has also not held a formal press briefing yet, though Psaki said Friday that he will hold one before the end of March.

RELATED: Biden to deliver primetime address this week

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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White House Confirms It Is Looking Into Shutting Down Oil Pipeline Amid Fuel Crisis

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Gas Pipeline

The Biden administration confirmed that it is considering shutting down an oil pipeline in Michigan despite the ongoing fuel crisis in the country.

“Revoking the permits for the [Line 5] pipeline that delivers oil from western Canada across Wisconsin, the Great Lakes and Michigan and into Ontario, would please environmentalists who have urged the White House to block fossil fuel infrastructure, but it would aggravate a rift with Canada and could exacerbate a spike in energy prices that Republicans are already using as a political weapon,” Politico Pro reported. “Killing a pipeline while U.S. gasoline prices are the highest in years could be political poison for Biden, who has seen his approval rating crash in recent months.”

Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked about the report during Monday’s press briefing, asking, “why is the administration now considering shutting down the Line 5 pipeline from Canada to Michigan?”

“So, Peter, that is inaccurate,” Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed. “That is not right. So, any reporting indicating that some decision has been made, again, is not accurate. … So, again, I would — it is inaccurate what you just stated, but —”

“What’s inaccurate?” Doocy asked.

“The reporting about us wanting to shut down the Line 5,” Jean-Pierre said.

“I didn’t say ‘wanting.’  I said, is it being studied right now?  Is the administration studying the impact of shutting down the Line 5?”

“Yeah. Yes, we are. We are,” Jean-Pierre admitted.

 

The news comes as gas prices have reached their highest since 2014, when Biden was vice president, and are currently about 50% higher than they were when Biden entered office.

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