U.S. to mark 500K deaths as COVID relief moves ahead

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) – The United States is on the brink of an unfathomable loss. Nearly 500,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. That’s more than any other country.

As the nation reacts to this grim milestone, the House Budget Committee voted to advance President Biden’s COVID-19 relief bill.

Nick Rose’s wife died from COVID. He said, “If I could tell her anything, I would tell her, ‘I love you so much, I know the Lord has you.’”

On Capitol Hill, there was a moment of silence. “In remembrance of more than 500,000 Americans who have passed away from the COVID-19 virus,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said.

Families shattered, businesses shuttered, and the economy: devastated.

President Biden said, “America’s small businesses are hurting, hurting badly, and they need help now.”

To help the smallest of businesses and non-profits, starting Wednesday President Biden is giving those with fewer than 20 employees exclusive access to apply for Paycheck protection Program Loans for two Weeks

“This is a starting point, not the ending point,” President Biden said. “We need Congress to pass my American Rescue Plan.”

As of now, the nearly $2 trillion plan has no congressional Republican support.

Representative Jason Smith (R-MO) said, “This is the wrong plan at the wrong time and for all the wrong reasons.”

But Democrats are sticking together and moving toward a House vote by the end of the week.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) said, “We aren’t going to wait. We are going to pass this legislation and we are going to turn this pandemic and economic crisis around.”

Their goal is to get the bill signed into law by March 14.

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