WASHINGTON (AP) – The House has passed a sweeping pandemic relief package over Republican opposition. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature. 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. Democrats say their “American Rescue Plan” will help the country defeat the virus and nurse the economy back to health. Republicans criticize the measure as more expensive than necessary and that it sends money to projects not directly tied to the pandemic.

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