United States Capitol. Photo: Chas Hundley

The U.S. House of Representatives passed early Saturday morning what many observers and lawmakers now call the COVID-19 Economic Relief Act, a $1.9 trillion pandemic stimulus package that provides $1,400 direct payments to most American taxpayers, aid for businesses, cities, schools, and an extension of unemployment benefits.

Oregon House Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon City) is one of two Democrats who voted against the bill — the other being Rep. Jared Golden of Maine.

The bill will make its way next to the Senate.

Schrader did not return phone calls on February 27, the morning the House passed the bill along a 219-212 partisan vote, asking for comment on why he decided to vote out of line with the rest of the Democratic caucus.  

Rep. Jared Golden told the Bangor Daily News, “We need to walk and chew gum, and when it comes to investments that can speed up vaccination programs and our capacity to test around the country that should go first (before finalizing an economic relief package).”

Schrader voted last December against a similar bill that would have provided $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans, saying the package provides money to people and businesses that don't need it, OPB reported.

Republicans called the bill the COVID-19 Economic Relief Act bloated and unfocused, though national polls and reports show 76 percent of voters, including 60 percent of registered Republicans, back the bill.