(AP) — A Democratic-led effort to pass a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package is moving ahead. Democrats in the House are advancing key pieces of the bill with new funding for checks, schools, state and local governments and small businesses.
Republicans say the spending is vastly more than what is needed for the pandemic. But Democrats and President Joe Biden say a robust aid package is necessary to prevent a long and painful economic recovery. Their goal is to have COVID-19 relief approved by mid-March, when extra unemployment assistance and other pandemic aid expires.