The US Senate narrowly passed the $1.9 trillion relief package today and it is expected the bill will be signed into law this coming week. The Senate vote was the largest hurdle facing this bill and was a marathon voting session with some last minute concessions by Democrats on what would be included. Here's what you need to know about what made it into the final bill and what's in it that may be relevant for you.
$1.9 Trillion Package Is Likely In It's Final Form
Over the past 72 hours there were several key bill changes — including around minimum wage, direct payments eligibility, and unemployment benefits — that will affect millions of Americans.
This bill — which will be the second largest in US history behind last year's CARES Act if it passes — now has to go back to the House for another vote before going to President Biden for his signature. Both of these are seen as formalities and no changes to the bill are expected.
Despite the Political Split Most Americans Support This Bill
Today's Senate vote on the "American Rescue Plan" went 50-49 in favor of the bill, split completely along party lines. One Republican was absent preventing a 50-50 split, where Vice President Harris would have cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the bill.
Despite the partisan split in Washington, polls in the lead up to this vote have showed favorability for the $1.9 trillion package by most Americans.
We conducted a poll on our YouTube channel after the bill passed today with around 9 out of 10 people supporting the relief package. (Follow our YouTube to participate in our weekly polls, this poll is still open).
Here's A Summary of What's In the Relief Package
$1,400 direct payments: Americans who earned less than $75K on their last filed taxes (or $150K if filing jointly) will receive the full direct payment. The payments will also go to children and adult dependents. However, payments will now phase out completely at $80K (or $160K for joint filers). This was a change from earlier this week and it means if you made above those amounts, you won't receive any direct payments.
$300 in weekly supplemental unemployment insurance: This legislation would extend the federal supplemental unemployment insurance through the end of August. Earlier this week this weekly amount was $400, however one of the last minute concessions in the Senate, in part due to moderate Senator Joe Manchin, forced Democrats to change this to $300 per week.
$160 billion for vaccine distribution: The legislation includes $160 billion for vaccine and testing programs to help stop the virus’s spread and ultimately end the pandemic.
Up to $3,600 in childcare tax credits: Low to middle-income families would be eligible for up to $3,000 in child tax credits, or up to $3,600 for children under age 6. This is an increase from the previous amount of $2,000.
$170 billion to help schools safely reopen: The plan also would provide for schools and universities to reopen. This includes $130 billion for K-12 schools to hire additional staff to reduce class size, modify spaces and purchase resources to help meet students' academic and mental health needs.
More rental assistance and eviction moratorium extension: This bill extends the eviction and foreclosure moratorium through September. It would also provide $45 billion to help low-income households who have lost jobs to pay their rent, mortgages and utility bills.
Health insurance for laid off workers: A late addition to the legislation would cover 100% of the costs of continuing health insurance through September for laid-off workers. The plan would provide paid-leave benefits of as much as $1,400 per week and tax credits for employers with fewer than 500 employees to reimburse them for the cost of sick time.
$350 billion for city, state, and tribal governments: There's $350 billion in aid for governments, which in particular may go to public health, safety, and education programs.
$14 billion for eligible airlines: This bill includes money to help airlines as well as $8 billion for airports.
$48 billion for small businesses: The increased small business funding includes $25 billion to help restaurants, $15 billion for additional targeted EIDL grants, $1.25 billion for venue operators, and $7.25 billion for additional PPP program funding.
What's Most Important To You in the New Relief Package?
Overall, the $1.9 trillion package includes massive amounts of funding for vaccinations, direct payments, small businesses, healthcare, education, housing, and government. We'll keep this post update as this bill passes the House and gets signed by the President in case there are any unexpected changes.
We'd love to hear what's most important to you. Take our poll on our YouTube channel then subscribe so you stay up-to-date on our community polls.
If you want to track vaccine progress and see which of your friends are also tracking vaccine progress, check out our updated vaccine tracker.