House Democrats on Wednesday passed a $ 1.9 billion coronavirus relief bill, sending one of the largest incentive plans in U.S. history to President Joe Biden’s desk.
The president hopes to sign the bill Friday after Congress formally sent it to the White House, which could take days for big bills. Biden will review his first major legislative article as the U.S. tries to drive up the vaccines against Covid-19 and push the economy.
Here are the key pieces of the proposal:
- It extends a $ 300-a-week supplement to unemployment benefits and programs that benefit millions more people from unemployment insurance through Sept. 6. The plan also makes the first-person $ 10,200 in unemployment benefits tax-free.
- The bill sends $ 1,400 direct payments to most Americans and their dependents. The checks start with an income of $ 75,000 for individuals and are limited to people who earn $ 80,000. The thresholds for shared files are double the limits. The government will base the suitability on Americans’ most recent tax return.
- This increases the child tax credit for one year. It rises to $ 3,600 for children under 6 and to $ 3,000 for children between 6 and 17.
- The plan puts about $ 20 billion into the production and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, along with about $ 50 billion in testing and contact detection.
- It adds $ 25 billion in rent and utility assistance and about $ 10 billion in mortgage lending.
- The plan provides $ 350 billion in relief to state, local and tribal governments.
- The proposal leads to more than $ 120 billion to K-12 schools.
- This increases the benefit for supplementary nutrition assistance programs until 15 September by 15%.
- The bill includes an extension of subsidies and other provisions to help Americans afford health insurance.
- It offers nearly $ 30 billion to restaurants.
- The legislation extends a tax credit for worker retention to enable businesses to keep workers on the payroll.
The bill passed the House 220-211 without a Republican vote, as the IDP claims the labor market has recovered enough to justify little or no new stimulus spending. One Democrat, Maine’s representative Jared Golden, opposed it. Democrats also approved the plan on their own in the Senate through the special budget reconciliation process.
Biden celebrated the passage of the bill in a statement on Wednesday, saying he intends to sign it into law on Friday.
US Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) gives a thumbs up before the last passage in the House of Representatives of US President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 billion coronavirus (COVID-19) bill within the Living Room of the Capitol in Washington, March 10, 2021.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
“This legislation is about giving the backbone of this country – the essential workers, the working people who built this country, the people who keep this country going – a chance to fight,” he said.
The party argues that Congress should invest more money in the economy to alleviate the suffering of a year of economic constraints and to prevent future pain as normal activities slowly resume. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, calls it “consequential and transformative legislation” after its inception.
Democrats passed the bill as an improving economy nonetheless shows cracks. The US added a better-than-expected 379,000 jobs in February as the unemployment rate fell to 6.2%.
Yet, 8.5 million fewer Americans held jobs during the month than a year earlier. According to government data, black and Hispanic or Latino women recovered a smaller portion of their work before the pandemic.
More than 18 million people receive some form of unemployment benefits by mid-February.
“Help is on the way,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., repeatedly said Wednesday at an event where he and Pelosi formally signed the legislation.
California House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Speaks as Majority Leader of the Senate Chuck Schumer of NY listens to the $ 1.9 billion COVID-19 Emergency Relief Bill, accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY, during an inauguration ceremony Capitol Hill, Wednesday, March 10, 2021, in Washington.
Alex Brandon | AP
Republicans have argued that the increasing rate of vaccinations of the most vulnerable Americans, coupled with the gradual or even total reopening of many states, makes more stimulus spending unnecessary. They accused the Democrats of pushing priorities unrelated to the health crisis into the bill.
Some ECP economists and legislators have warned about the possibility of massive spending to increase inflation.
“There’s a real risk, that this kind of enormous stimulus is overheating the economy. … I just think it’s sad because we could do, I think something much more focused and focused on Covid-19,” GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio told OilGasJobz on Wednesday morning.
After the jobs report in February, Biden said that the recovery of the stimulus plan will ensure that the recovery will not falter.