WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress has sent President Joe Biden the landmark $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.

The House approved the bill Wednesday over solid Republican opposition in a vote that gives the new president and Democrats a victory just seven weeks after he took office. The $1.9 trillion bill provides direct payments of up to $1,400 for most Americans, extends emergency unemployment benefits and boosts spending for COVID-19 vaccines and testing. It also provides billions to states and cities, schools and ailing industries.

The 628-page measure represents Democrats’ effort to bridle the catastrophic pandemic and revive the enfeebled economy. Democrats say their “American Rescue Plan” will help the country defeat the virus and nurse the economy back to health.

Republicans say the measure is bloated, crammed with liberal policies and heedless of signs the dual crises are easing. Republicans criticize the measure as more expensive than necessary and that it sends money to projects not directly tied to the pandemic.

The Senate passed the measure over unanimous Republican opposition four days ago.

The bill now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature on Friday.

(Story written by ALAN FRAM & KEVIN FREKING/AP)

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