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House is expected to vote on virus relief, and Biden is on the verge of a victory.

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House is expected to vote on virus relief, and Biden is on the verge of a victory.

House is expected to vote on virus relief, and Biden is on the verge of a victory.

 

 

President Joe Biden is on the verge of a historic $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, putting him on the verge of an early victory that advances Democratic priorities and demonstrates the unity his party will need to forge potential victories.

The package, which seeks to fulfill Democrats’ campaign promises to combat the pandemic and boost the ailing economy, is scheduled to receive final congressional approval Wednesday. Republicans in the House and Senate have overwhelmingly rejected the bill, calling it bloated, crammed with liberal policies, and oblivious to signals that the twin crises are easing.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday that the bill is “a groundbreaking, historic, transformative piece of legislation that goes a long way toward destroying the virus and addressing our economic crisis.”

The bill is basically a canvas on which Biden and Democrats have painted their core beliefs: that government services can be a boon, not a curse, to millions of people, and that spending vast amounts on those measures can be a cure, not a curse. The bill is so closely aligned with Democratic interests that many members of Congress rate it among their career highlights, and considering their narrow congressional majorities, there was never any real doubt about its fate.

They were also aided by three factors: their unfettered control of the White House and Congress, polling showing widespread support for Biden’s approach, and a time when most people don’t seem to mind that the national debt is rapidly approaching a staggering $22 trillion. Neither party appears concerned about the debt, even when the other is using it to fund its priorities, whether it’s Democratic spending or Republican tax cuts.

Initiatives are a prominent aspect of the law, making it one of the most significant federal efforts in recent years to support low- and middle-income families. Over the next year, increased tax exemptions for children, child care, and maternity leave will be included, as well as spending for landlords, feeding services, and people’s utility bills.

Many Americans will receive up to $1,400 in direct payments, as well as extended unemployment insurance and hundreds of billions of funding for COVID-19 vaccinations and therapies, colleges, state and local governments, and struggling industries ranging from airlines to concert halls. Help is available for minority farmers and pension funds, as well as incentives for households purchasing health insurance and states extending Medicaid coverage for low-income people.

Its broad scope is a key Republican talking point.

“It isn’t geared toward COVID relief. It’s all about advancing the far-left agenda,” said Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise, the House’s No. 2 Republican leader.

Last week, an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that 70 percent of Americans, including a sizable 44 percent of Republicans, support Biden’s response to the virus.

However, the bill’s journey has highlighted Democrats’ difficulties in establishing a legislative record that will persuade voters to retain them in power in Congress in next year’s elections.

Democrats have a 50-50 Senate majority, thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris, who gives them the winning vote in tying roll calls. In the House, they just have a 10-vote advantage.

That leaves almost no space for manoeuvre for a party that includes conservatives like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and progressives like Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

To win moderate support, progressives had to swallow significant compromises in the bill. Dropping the House-approved federal minimum-wage rise to $15 per hour by 2025 was the most painful.

Moderates pushed for tighter qualifications for the $1,400 stimulus checks, which are now fully phased out for individuals earning $80,000 and couples earning $160,000. The Senate reduced the House’s original extension of the soon-to-stop $400 weekly emergency jobless payments, which are paid on top of state compensation, to $300, and the payments will now end in early September.

Manchin was a prominent dissenter who was in the center of negotiations that culminated in the cancellation of all of those measures. On Saturday, the Senate passed the bill 50-49 on a party-line vote.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, chair of the nearly 100-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, called the elimination of the minimum-wage increase “infuriating.” “It hits all of our progressive goals — putting money in people’s wallets, shots in weapons, unemployment benefits, child care, and schools,” she said of the overall bill.

According to the Tax Policy Center, the Senate-passed bill would award households with $91,000 or less almost 70% of this year’s tax cuts. According to the research center, which is operated by the liberal-leaning Urban Institute and Brookings Institution, the Trump-era GOP tax bill gave nearly half of its 2018 reductions to the top 5% of households earning about $308,000.

Holding Democrats together, however, will be difficult as the party attempts to advance the remainder of its agenda. Inside the party, there are divisions over issues such as immigration, health care, and taxation.

Progressives are likely to draw their own lines in the sand at some stage. They’ve already demanded that the party reconsider the minimum-wage increase, and Republicans have already shown that they’re ready to strike.

The American Action Network, which is linked to House GOP representatives, has begun running digital advertising in largely moderate districts, describing the relief bill as “a freight train of frivolous spending to bankroll their liberal cronies.”

The bill passed the Senate thanks to budget rules that stopped Republicans from filing filibusters, which require 60 votes for most bills. Going forward, the process won’t be open for much legislation, but any Democratic Senate defections would make much of the bills there non-starters.

And with a procedural advantage, the Democrats’ path to Senate victory was littered with delays. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., had clerks read the entire 628-page bill for nearly 11 hours; talks with Manchin over unemployment insurance took about nine hours; and votes on three dozen proposals, almost all of which were doomed to fail from the start, took about 12 hours.

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WATCH: Broncos’ Pat Surtain II picks off Chargers’ Justin Herbert, again, returns it for a touchdown

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WATCH: Broncos’ Pat Surtain II picks off Chargers’ Justin Herbert, again, returns it for a touchdown

Have a day, Pat Surtain II.

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WATCH: Broncos’ Teddy Bridgewater evades Chargers’ Joey Bosa, connects with Eric Saubert for touchdown

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WATCH: Broncos’ Teddy Bridgewater evades Chargers’ Joey Bosa, connects with Eric Saubert for touchdown

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Run game carries Jets to 21-14 win over the Texans in Zach Wilson return

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Run games carries Jets to 21-14 win over the Texans in Zach Wilson return

HOUSTON — It was the definition of a team win for Gang Green. The offense was balanced, and the defense played lights out and the end result was a 21-14 win over the lousy Houston Texans.

Zach Wilson had a pedestrian day in his return to action as he went 14-for-24 for 145 yards with a rushing touchdown and an interception. Wilson wasn’t happy with his performance but elated for the victory.

“Feels really good,” Wilson said. “I wasn’t happy with how I performed. Just the ups and downs of it all. I gotta just keep going, it’s all part of the process. it feels really good to go home having a win. That’s the goal, to win the game.”

It was Wilson’s first game in a month, but the former BYU quarterback refused to blame his lackluster play on rust.

“I don’t blame anything on that,” Wilson said. “There’s no excuses. You got to really come out and play well.”

Late in the fourth quarter, Wilson appeared to tweak his knee on a scramble that caused him to limp to the sideline. But he claimed there was no legitimate issue and didn’t leave the game.

What helped propel the Jets offense to a win was the dominant run game that gashed the Texans for 157 yards.

Robert Saleh credited Jets offensive line coach and run game coordinator John Benton for creating a game plan to destroy the Texans run defense.

“JB put together a really cool plan and credit to the O-Line there,” Saleh said. “One of the challenges that we had this week for the offense was urgency and physicality at the line of scrimmage. And I felt like we were able to do that.”

The Jets answered the call. Against a loaded box, they ran for 105 yards with two touchdowns according to Next Gen Stats. That’s imposing your will.

Gang Green’s leading rusher, Michael Carter was out, but Tevin Coleman stepped up and ran for 67 yards. Austin Walter, who added 38 yards on nine carries, scored a key touchdown in the closing minutes of the first half.

The maligned defense, who had allowed over 380 yards of offense in five out of their last six games, held the Texans (2-9) to 202 yards and 14 points. Bryce Hall sealed the victory with a pass breakup on 4th-and-2 with two minutes remaining.

The impressive part was the resolve. They allowed 14 points and 157 yards by the end of the first half. But in the second half, they held the Texans offense to a scant 45 yards and zero points.

“I thought they were fantastic. I thought [Jeff] Ulbrich and the staff did great,” Saleh said. I thought the players, again, they’re getting better. And I thought this was a good one.”

One of the stars that contributed to the stalwart defensive effort was John Franklin-Myers, who had two sacks and an interception.

“Our coaches just preach we have to play our brand of football,” Franklin-Myers said. “l sometimes think things happen fast, just the momentum switches and stuff like that. But I think we did a good job of just staying locked in.”

It was a needed effort by the defense as the rookie quarterback took most of the first half to shake off the rust from missing four games with a sprained knee.

It was a tale of two halves for Wilson.

In the first half Wilson struggled. He was 6-for-12 for 44 yards with an interception. He looked jittery in the pocket and was inaccurate on a few of his throws that resulted in the ball skipping at his receivers’ feet.

On his second drive, he inexplicably threw an interception when he appeared to be scrambling. But right before he crossed the line of scrimmage, he flicked a pass to Ty Johnson, who wasn’t looking. It bounced off Johnson’s back and Tavierre Thomas intercepted the pass.

At that point Wilson was 1-for-6 for 11 yards with the pick. And the lone completed pass was a push pass behind the line of scrimmage to Elijah Moore on a jet sweep.

Even though Wilson didn’t blame rust for his struggle, it was clear as day: the No. 2 overall pick was rusty.

Five plays later, Texans QB Tyrod Taylor threw a touchdown pass to tight end Brevin Jordan to give Houston a 7-3 lead.

But right before the end of the half, trailing 14-3, Wilson finally settled down.

He went 5-for-6 for 33 yards to lead a touchdown drive to get Gang Green back in the game. Not an eye-popping stat line. But he converted a 3rd-and-9 to Ryan Griffin that kept the drive alive, and Walter scored a two-yard touchdown. The Jets successfully went for two to pull within 14-11.

In the second half, Wilson was much better. In the third quarter, his first pass was a rifle to Moore for a 22-yard gain on a curl route and that helped get Wilson comfortable.

That drive ended with a 4-yard rushing touchdown by Wilson to give the Jets the lead, 18-14. Not exactly setting the world on fire, but he doubled the first half yardage and got into a rhythm.

Overall, Wilson threw for 101 yards and went 8-for-12 in the second half.

The Jets offense sputtered in the fourth, but they were able to secure a 37-yard Matt Ammendola field goal with three and a half minutes to play and their defense finished the Texans off.

With the hype surrounding Wilson’s return it was the run game and the defense that played lights out and carried the rookie to a win.

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