WASHINGTON, D.C — The U.S Senate passed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill today, March 6. President Biden’s relief bill was passed on the Senate floor after days of deliberation and debate, 50-49.

Following the vote, Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis released a statement criticizing the bill. “Even after the most egregious, progressive handouts were stripped from this behemoth bill, we were left with a spending bill full of programs that have nothing to do with the targeted, temporary relief the people of Wyoming need to weather the rest of this pandemic.”

Sen. Lummis submitted seven amendments to the bill including an amendment to make the Shuttered Venue Grant program more accessible to Wyoming businesses like concert venues and rodeo grounds, an amendment to redirect money from Amtrak to help the rural aviation industry, and multiple amendments to ensure relief money is properly allocated to things like veterans’ services and Tribal health care.

Sen. Lummis also stated, “What’s worse, after the two parties worked together on five different occasions last year to bring relief to the American people, Democrats decided this time to ignore Republican input or support at any point along the way – and this massive price tag is what they have to show for it. Just yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office warned about the staggering costs of paying back our national debt in coming decades if Congress continues to spend recklessly. Eventually, we are going to have to answer for the money we are borrowing to pay for bills like this – I fear that day is coming soon.”

The package’s total spending is nearly one-tenth of the size of the entire U.S economy.

According to the Associated Press, The bill provides direct payments of up to $1,400 for most Americans, extended emergency unemployment benefits, and vast piles of spending for COVID-19 vaccines and testing, states and cities, schools and ailing industries, along with tax breaks to help lower-earning people, families with children and consumers buying health insurance.

Sen. John Barrasso tweeted on March 4, “The Democrat’s $1.9 trillion spending bill is nothing more than a payoff to Biden’s supporters in Illinois, California, and New York.” Barrasso has called the bill “a wish list of liberal spending” and ” a blue state bailout that punishes states who refused to completely shut down during the pandemic.” He voted against the bill.

The bill will now head The House of Representatives for a vote before landing on President Biden’s desk for his signature.

On Jan. 20, 2021, the first confirmed case of the coronavirus was reported in the U.S.  The World Health Organization declared the global outbreak a pandemic on March 11. On March 13, Trump declared a national emergency. During a White House task force briefing on March 15, Trump said, “This is a very contagious — this is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something that we have tremendous control over.”

It later surfaced that Trump had known about the dangers of the virus, when he spoke to journalist Bob Woodward in a recorded discussion on Feb. 7. Trump said, “It goes through air, Bob. That’s always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch – you don’t have to touch things, right? But the air – you just breathe the air. That’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than your – you know, your – even your strenuous flus.”

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.