President Joe Biden’s economic plan for the country is closer to reality. Democrats in the House of Representatives helped pass the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on Wednesday. The bill is now headed to the President’s desk for an official signature thus released much needed help to the American people.
The American Rescue Plan includes an additional stimulus package issuing $1,400 payments to individuals who earn up to $75,000 yearly or for households with up to $150,000 for their yearly income. The stimulus package will be issued to Americans based on criteria such filing previous years’ tax returns.
Relief is coming to the hardest hit, the unemployed citizens of the country. As the pandemic swept through cities closing businesses and laying off thousands of workers leaving economic ruin in its wake, it also caused an influx in applications to unemployment agencies. The plan will extend the extra $300 for federal unemployment benefits. The bill ensures Americans will receive the additional funds through September 6, 2021. In addition, under the American Rescue Plan, the first $10,5000 in unemployment benefits will not be taxed for those who have made less than $150,000 in income on their last tax filing.
For some parents, working full time during the pandemic as an essential worker has caused some anxiety about childcare. The bill introduces guaranteed income for parents across the country to help put additional fund in their hands for their families. Parents will receive $3,600 per year for children newborn to age six and $3,000 for each child in the household age six to 17. The payments will be issued monthly allowing parents to receive $300 a month per child under six and $250 for each child in the household six and over.
Despite the additional funds, parents should be advised that the payments will only be received for one year, at this time. While an extension beyond one year may be in play, the bill only guarantees the funds for the 365-day period.
The bill will also issue $130 billion dollars to schools to prepare for in-person learning. The funds are designated for schools to purchase PPE and ventilation systems. College students will see some additional financial come their way through the $40 billion going to public colleges across the nation. Learning institutions must spend half of the funds on financial assistance to students.
Restaurants and bars are set to receive additional assistance as $25 billion has been set aside for the food industry. There will be $7.25 billion dedicated to paycheck protection programs offering loans to employers, sole proprietors and other business entities.
To continue in the fight against COVID-19, the plan allows for $50 billion for contact tracing and testing across the states. Thirty million dollars will be provided in emergency rental assistance programs to prevent evictions and homelessness.
Not included in the bill is the push for the rise in the federal minimum wage. Originally asking for an increase to $15 per hour over a span of five years, it was removed from the bill in negotiations.
The bill was passed with a vote of 220-211, leaning Democratic. All Republicans and one democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, voted against the bill. Pushing the bill through Senate, Democrats also secured that victory using the newly instituted 50-49 majority. The president is expected to sign the bill into law Friday thus allowing Americans to breathe a little easier.
According to nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the American Rescue Plan will help to boost the income of the country’s poorest populations by 20 percent.
The plan is making history as the first successful piece of legislation to pass during the Biden Administration’s reign.