House Democrats passed a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Wednesday, sending one of the largest stimulus plans in U.S. history to President Joe Biden’s desk.
The president hopes to sign the bill on Friday after Congress officially sent it to the White House, which can take days on large bills. Biden will tick off his first major piece of legislation as the US tries to speed up Covid-19 vaccinations and boost the economy.
Here are the most important parts of the proposal:
- A weekly unemployment benefit allowance of $ 300 and programs that increase millions of people’s unemployment benefits will be granted through September 6th. The plan also provides that the first $ 10,200 in unemployment benefits will be tax-free.
- The bill sends $ 1,400 direct payments to most Americans and their loved ones. Checks start on an individual income of $ 75,000 and are limited to those earning $ 80,000. The thresholds for shared filers are twice as high. The government will base its eligibility on Americans’ most recent tax returns.
- It extends the child tax credit by one year. It increases to $ 3,600 for children under 6 and to $ 3,000 for children 6-17 years of age.
- The plan puts around $ 20 billion in manufacturing and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, and around $ 50 billion in testing and contact tracing.
- It adds $ 25 billion for rental and utility services and approximately $ 10 billion for mortgage assistance.
- The plan calls for $ 350 billion in state, local, and tribal governments.
- The proposal earmarks more than $ 120 billion for K-12 schools.
- It increases the benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by 15% through September.
- The bill will expand subsidies and other provisions to help Americans get health insurance.
- It provides nearly $ 30 billion in aid to restaurants.
- The legislation expands an employee retention tax credit that enables companies to keep employees on payroll.
The bill passed with a margin of 220-211 without a Republican vote as the GOP argues the labor market has recovered enough to warrant little or no new stimulus spending. One Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, was against it. The Democrats also approved the plan alone in the Senate as part of the special budget reconciliation.
Biden celebrated the passage of the law in a statement on Wednesday, saying he plans to include it in law on Friday.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) gives a thumbs up before the final passage in the House of Representatives from US President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus disease (COVID-19) bill in Chamber of the Washington Capitol, March 10, 2021.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
“This legislation is about giving the backbone of this nation – the essential workers, the working people who built this country, the people who run this country – a chance to fight,” he said.
The party believes that Congress needs to put more money into the economy to both suffer a year of economic restraints and prevent future pain as normal activities slowly resume. House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Pointed out it as “consistent and transformative legislation” after it was passed.
Democrats passed the bill because an improving economy is still cracking. The US created a better-than-expected 379,000 job in February as the unemployment rate fell to 6.2%.
Still, 8.5 million Americans had fewer jobs a month than a year earlier. Black and Hispanic or Latin American women have regained a lower proportion of pre-pandemic jobs than any other group, according to government figures.
More than 18 million people were receiving some form of unemployment benefit in mid-February.
“Aid is on the way,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said repeatedly on Wednesday at an event at which he and Pelosi officially signed the legislation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California speaks as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and listens on Capitol Hill during an enrollment ceremony accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, in Washington.
Alex Brandon | AP
Republicans have argued that the increasing pace of vaccination of the most vulnerable Americans, coupled with the gradual or even full reopening of many states, eliminates the need for more stimulus spending. You have accused the Democrats of including priorities unrelated to the health crisis in the bill.
Some economists and GOP lawmakers have warned of the potential of massive spending to increase inflation.
“There is a real risk here that these kind of massive incentives will overheat the economy. … I just find it sad because we could have done it. I think something much more targeted and focused on Covid-19,” said GOP Sen Rob Portman of Ohio told CNBC on Wednesday morning.
According to the February job report, Biden said that passing the stimulus plan would ensure the recovery doesn’t stall.
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