Joe Biden is on the cusp of a presidency-defining first 100 days victory and tens of millions of Americans could soon get stimulus checks as the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 rescue bill heads back to the House for a final vote.
After a weekend of high Washington drama, which saw the President intervene to keep moderate West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin in line with his fellow Democrats and preserve their tiny Senate margin, Biden hopes to sign the massive bill into law this week.
That will depend, however, on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi preserving her own narrow margin to pass the bill ahead of an expected House vote on Tuesday. Progressive Democrats are disappointed by the removal of a minimum wage hike in the Senate version of the package passed on Saturday and the narrowed scope of unemployment payments.
The bill includes extended help for the unemployed, money to reopen schools, aid for stricken small businesses, child tax credits and health insurance subsidies. It would enshrine one of the boldest deployments of federal power to alleviate the plight of the poorest Americans in at least a generation, and would invite comparisons between Biden and great reforming Democratic presidents of the 20th century, on a crisis measure uniformly opposed by Republicans.