The Legislation Being Considered By The House This Week Has A Number Of Measures That Aim To Incorporate Racial And Gender Disparities As They Address The Coronavirus Pandemic And Economic Struggles
The House this week is considering the $1.9 trillion rescue package from the Biden administration, designed to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and related economic pain in a way that also furthers equity. The plan deals with vaccinations and support for workers and businesses and provides a $1,400 check to most households. Many of the measures in the bill will attempt to address long-standing racial and gender disparities laid bare by the pandemic. Here are some of the key parts of the bill:
Biden has proposed a $20 billion program to create community vaccination centers and deploy mobile vaccination units to reach underserved populations, including people who are undocumented. This is to work toward the administrations goal of 100 million shots in 100 days.
An additional $50 billion would go toward expanding testing, with funding for more rapid tests and more robust testing protocols at schools and within local governments.
Biden also hopes to nearly triple the public health workforce by funding an additional 100,000 jobs, which would involve vaccine outreach and contact tracing also critical areas, especially as experts worry that vaccine skepticism and misinformation could deter women from getting the injections.
Biden has also proposed $35 billion in funding for public higher education to also execute coronavirus mitigation plans, such as implementing public health protocols and distance learning plans.
Housing Amtrak And The Arts
The package includes $22 billion in rental assistance, $5 billion in homelessness aid and nearly $10 billion to help homeowners pay mortgages.
The bill allocates $1.7 billion for Amtrak, which the organization suggests it will use to bring back furloughed workers and restore long-distance train services.
Stimulus Checks And Jobless Aid
The bill includes the biggest round yet of direct cash payments: $1,400 for individuals making under $75,000 and $2,800 for married couples making under $150,000. The White House says they’ll begin hitting bank accounts “as early as this weekend.”
Individuals making less than $80,000 or married couples making below $160,000 will get smaller checks. Parents who qualify for their own checks also will get an additional $1,400 per child.
Those who are out of work will get a $300-a-week federal bonus to their unemployment benefits through Sept. 6.
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$350 Billion In Aid To State And Local Governments
Democrats conceded direct aid to states during the negotiations for the second stimulus, but with Mitch McConnell now in the Senate minority, the incoming administration has secured the option. To help keep workers employed, distribute the vaccine, and maintain government services after losing billions in tax revenue losses, Biden has secured $350 billion to state, local, and territorial governments.
Managing Your Money During Covid
Consider putting some of the payment towards savings. It might be a good idea to pad your emergency and rainy day funds with extra cash in case financial stress continues or if something unexpected like a layoff happens. Consider maximizing your savings by contributing to your retirement fund, or paying off debt.
Good to know: The U.S. Treasury is in the process of updating information about its online portal for stimulus checks, which it launched in 2020. If you have questions about stimulus checks, you can find answers from the Internal Revenue Service here.
And for more information about managing your money during the pandemic, check out our Covid-19 resource center.
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Jeremy Quittner is the editorial director for Stash.
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Bill Has Faced Backlash
The sweeping COVID-19 relief bill has been criticized by Republicans for an array of earmarks that stray far from the stated purpose of the bill.
PolitiFact rated “Mostly True” a claim from conservative Stand for America that the bill contains unrelated projects. Examples cited in that fact check included a $1.5 million bridge connecting New York and Canada a $100 million underground rail project in Silicon Valley $480 million for Native American language preservation and maintenance and $50 million in environmental justice grants. The bill would also raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and change pension funding rules.
All told, about 15% of the proposal goes to long-standing policy priorities that are not directly related to the current crisis, said the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization formed to educate the public on federal budget issues.
But thats a far cry from the claim here about little money going to Americans.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget analysis identified $10 billion from the bill as going to foreign affairs. Thats about one-half of 1% of the total.
The bungled 9% figure may have been a misunderstanding of the money tied to direct COVID-19 intervention.
$300 In Weekly Federal Unemployment Through September 6
The American Rescue Plan extends the $300-per-week in federal unemployment secured by the second stimulus package through September 6. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for those who have exhausted state payments and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for the self-employed, independent contractors, and gig workers also will run through September. The law also provides a new tax waiver on the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits.
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Expanded Child Tax Credit
The American Rescue Plan Act increases the Child Tax Credit maximum to $3,000 a year for each child ages 6 to 17, and $3,600 for each child under age 6, for couples who make $150,000 or less and single parents who make $112,500 or less. Payments will be sent by direct deposit on a monthly basis, according to current language.
A family with one child under age 6 would receive $300 per month and $250 per month for children ages 6 to 17. The law provides for one year of credit payments. The idea behind regular payments is to help families pay for ongoing costs instead of claiming a credit when they file their taxes. The credit is refundable, meaning everyone who qualifies will get it no matter their tax situation.
Senator Fischer To Oppose Democrats $19 Trillion Stimulus Bill
If so many Americans are hurting, as we all know they are, our only focus should be getting this aid into their hands, not using their insecurity as a chance to pass a bunch of wish list items from the progressive agenda.
Watch the video here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer spoke on the Senate floor to voice her opposition to the Democrats partisan $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. Senator Fischer explained how the package fails to target aid to those who need it, and called on Congress to work together in a bipartisan manner to deliver relief.
Full Transcript of Senator Fischers Floor Speech:
Mr. President, I come to the floor today because the Senate will likely vote soon on the Biden stimulus bill.
I think all of us in this chamber agree that we want to get relief to the American people.
That was our objective when we passed the CARES Act last year, which allocated $2.2 trillion to the relief effort.
It was our objective when we passed four other COVID relief bills in 2020 and these brought the total up to $4 trillion.
All of these measures were the result of bipartisan cooperation and negotiations Democrats and Republicans working together.
But right now, the president and congressional Democrats are pushing a completely partisan product through a totally partisan process to promote their progressive agenda.
And as of the end of January, hundreds of billions of dollars from these bills had yet to be spent.
I think these payments are a good idea.
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Funding For State And Local Governments And Public Schools
The bill delivers a $350 billion cash infusion to state and local governments, and $130 billion to elementary, middle and high schools to help them re-open safely.
Local budgets have faced steep declines in revenue as businesses remain shuttered during the pandemic. Last September, the Brookings Institute estimated that state and local revenues would by $155 billion in 2020, $167 billion in 2021 and $145 billion in 2022. The money for schools is designed to help them improve their ventilation systems, hire more janitors, and reduce class sizes to conform with social distancing protocols.
Democrats argued that this money was necessary to save public sector jobs and enable teachers and students to return to classrooms without risking their health. Republicans said that the funding already allocated through last years relief bills was sufficient, and that sending more money to state and local governments was superfluous.
Whats In The $19 Trillion Stimulus Bill Biden Is About To Sign
— The House passed President Joe Bidens $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, the last step before it goes to his desk to be signed into law.
The legislation includes a wave of new spending, an extension of jobless benefits, another round of direct household payments, money for state and local governments and an expansion of vaccinations and virus-testing programs, including a national vaccine distribution program for all residents regardless of immigration status. It also includes a massive, one-year expansion to the child tax credit program aimed at curbing child poverty, a change Democrats are already seeking to make permanent.
The legislation cleared the House for a second time after last-minute changes were made to unemployment insurance payments to mollify moderate Democrats in the Senate, which passed their version March 6. Despite slight process delays in moving the bill, Democrats are set to beat their March 14 deadline to enact the legislation, the date when jobless begin to expire.
The legislation rivals the $2 trillion March 2020 Cares Act in size and scope and follows a $900 billion December relief package. After this bill, lawmakers plan to begin work on a longer-term economic recovery plan in coming weeks, aimed at job creation, infrastructure investment and development goals such as climate change.
Here are the key items:
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States And Localities Could Get Help
Mr. Bidens plan would provide $440 billion in help to communities, according to the administration, in addition to the funds for school reopening. The relief plan would entail billions in grants and loan programs for small businesses , and $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local and territorial governments.
State and local governments have had revenues decline less as a whole than once anticipated, but have taken an uneven financial hit from the pandemic. They have significantly reduced payrolls, which is concerning because they employ about 13 percent of Americas workers.
Will This Stimulus Plan Become The Law
The House of Representatives is expected to pass this lengthy bill the week of Feb. 22. However, it faces more hurdles in the Senate.
Democrats have just 50 of 100 votes in the Senate, so they cannot overcome a filibuster of legislation without the votes of 10 Republicans. While they may be able to use a process called reconciliation that requires just 51 votes to pass a bill, they cannot afford to lose a single member who caucuses with them. And there are restrictions on what can be passed through reconciliation, so some provisions — such as an increase to the federal minimum wage — may not pass muster.
Still, with Democrats in control and reconciliation available, some version of this legislation will almost assuredly be signed into law soon — likely before mid-March, when some workers will otherwise lose expanded unemployment benefits. Those hoping for help from D.C. should watch carefully in the coming days: Relief may be on the way.
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Where Things Stand On Stimulus Checks Jobless Aid Child Tax Credits Healthcare Coverage
President Biden and his administration say the economy needs relief to bring down the unemployment rate.
Democrats in Congress are racing to meet a self-imposed mid-March deadline for President Bidens coronavirus relief package before enhanced federal jobless benefits expire. The Senate passed the bill on Saturday and now sends it back to the House. Heres an overview of the $1.9 trillion legislation, from stimulus checks to child tax credits, jobless benefits, vaccine distribution, healthcare subsidies, restaurant aid and more.
What is the overall size of the package?
The House and Senate passed a budget resolution in February that allowed them to craft the $1.9 trillion relief package. The size of the package has stayed roughly the same since it was unveiled by Mr. Biden during the transition period, and after he rebuffed a proposal by a group of 10 Republicans who argued for a $618 billion bill.
How big are the stimulus checks?
Children and adult dependents would be eligible for the full $1,400. Those adult dependents, including disabled adults and college students, werent eligible for the first two rounds of checks.
What about unemployment payments?
What is included for vaccines and testing?
How does it expand tax credits for children?
The proposal would also authorize periodic payments, so that the credit becomes a near-universal child allowance like those in some other countries instead of part of a lump-sum tax refund.
Write to Gabriel T. Rubin at
Deficit Impact Approximately $19 Trillion
A breakdown of the deficit impact of the law compiled by the Committee For a Responsible Budget. A few provisions were tweaked prior to passage such as the elimination of the $15 minimum wage by the Senate Parliamentarian.
This table shows the deficit impact of various provisions, which may differ slightly from the total amount of aid offered. For instance, $50 billion is allocated to the Disaster Relief Fund, but CBO estimates that only $47 billion will ultimately be spent, based on past precedent. As another example, there are $15 billion in loans and grants given to airlines, but the previous version of this bill has led CBO to conclude that $3 billion will ultimately be repaid or given to the government as stock as a condition of accepting the support.
*The total removes $14 billion from COBRA subsidies and funding for LIHEAP that are shared between two committees and would be double-counted if summing each committees total.
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How Does The Original $19 Trillion American Rescue Plan Act Compare To The $22 Trillion Cares Act
The recent stimulus bill in response to COVID-19 covers an array of initiatives and focuses less on businesses than the 2020 CARES Act. USAFacts digs into the numbers behind the original version of the House bill passed on February 27, 2021, whose estimated outlays added up to $1.9 trillion. While the $1.9 trillion cost estimate may be revised due to subsequent amendments, many major outlays are expected to remain at similar levels.
Covid Stimulus: Biden Signs $19tn Relief Bill Into Law
US President Joe Biden has signed a $1.9tn economic relief bill that aims to help Americans impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic into law.
The bill includes $1,400 payments, an extension of jobless benefits, and a child tax credit that is expect to lift millions out of poverty.
Mr Biden said the relief package will rebuild “the backbone of this country”.
The spending bill, one of the largest in US history, passed Congress without a single Republican supporter.
Mr Biden is due to give a primetime address later on Thursday to tout the bill’s provisions. He and other Democrats will also hold a signing ceremony at the White House on Friday.
This sixth Covid-19 relief bill is a major legislative win for Mr Biden.
The package has been broadly popular among Americans.
A March Pew Research Center poll found that 70% of US adults surveyed expressed support for the bill, including 41% of Republicans.
Unemployment skyrocketed over the last year, with a current rate of 6.2%, according to the US Labor Department.
Mr Biden had originally planned the bill signing for Friday, but it was pushed up in his schedule “because Congress enroled the bill more quickly than we anticipated,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a tweet.
Joe Biden was originally expected to sign the ambitiously named “American Recovery Plan Act” at the White House on Friday. Instead the final step in enacting the president’s first significant piece of legislation was moved up to Thursday afternoon.
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Child Tax Credit Updates
The stimulus package will temporarily increase the child tax credit to $3,600 from $2,000 for children up to the age of 5, and $3,000 for children between the ages of 6 and 17 in 2021. The bill will also expand the credit to lower-income earners who previously did not qualify for the credit. The credit will take the form of a monthly payment from the Department of Treasury.
Schools Could Get Money To Reopen
The administration says it wants to make the necessary investments to meet the president-elects goal of safely reopening a majority of kindergarten-to-eighth-grade schools within Mr. Bidens first 100 days in office.
Administration officials are suggesting $170 billion for schools, supplemented by additional state and local funds. About $130 billion of that would go toward reopening, while much of the rest of the money would go to help colleges dealing with the shift to distance learning and other pandemic-tied problems.
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