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



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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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NYC bill trying to repeal ‘sanctuary city’ laws put in place by liberal Mayor Bill de Blasio



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New York lawmakers are introducing a bill this week to undo “sanctuary city” laws approved from 2014-2018 under then-Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat. Council members Robert Holden (D-Queens) and Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) told The New York Post they’ll introduce the bill Thursday.

Among the laws to be reversed include the prohibiting of the NYPD, and Correction and Probation departments from cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents unless the cases involve suspected terrorists or serious public safety risks. It would also reverse rules prohibiting city agencies from partnering with ICE to enforce federal immigration laws.

“Sanctuary city laws put all New Yorkers, both immigrants and longtime residents, in danger by preventing the NYPD and DOC from working with ICE,” said Holden, a moderate Dem. “We do not need to import criminals, and only 23 years since 9/11, we have forgotten the deadly consequences of poor interagency communication. We must repeal these laws immediately.”

“Like most things in New York, sanctuary city policy is a social experiment gone off the rails,” said Borelli. “All the problems with these local laws came out during the public-hearing process, but the Council just stepped harder on the gas pedal.”

In February, Mayor Eric Adams called for the rules to be loosened so migrants “suspected” of “serious” crimes could also be turned over to ICE — as they once were under sanctuary city policies implemented as early as 1989 under ex-mayors Ed Koch and Michael Bloomberg.

Among public reasons for the push is the murder of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley.  If it wasn’t for the sanctuary city policies, Riley is among other deaths that could have been prevented if the policies were not in place, Holden and other critics have said.

The 22-year-old was found dead Feb. 22 on the University of Georgia’s campus, six months after her alleged killer Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26, was arrested in Queens and charged with endangering a child.

The Post explains of the case:

The NYPD had no choice but to cut the Venezuelan-born Ibarra loose — instead of turning him over to federal immigration officials — because he didn’t have any major crime convictions.

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams shot down the mayor’s idea just one day later, saying she and the rest of the Council’s progressive Democratic majority wouldn’t be considering any rule changes. The bill introduced this week is also likely to face objections from the Council’s left-wing Democratic majority.

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