Congress Approves $1.9 Trillion Covid Bill That is Projected to Drastically Slash Poverty

The House passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Wednesday, sending the legislation to President Joe Biden’s desk, The Washington Post reports.

The bill was approved 220-211 mostly down party lines, with Maine Democrat Jared Golden joining every Republican in opposing the bill. Biden is expected to sign it into law on Friday.

The bill will send $1,400 stimulus checks to most Americans, provide enhanced federal unemployment benefits, expand the child tax credit, and more. The bill is expected to slash poverty in half, at least temporarily.

Unemployment: The bill extends the $300 federal unemployment boost through September 6 and gives laid-off workers a tax break on the first $10,000 in unemployment benefits that they collect. Biden initially wanted a $400 per week benefit through the end of September. The current benefits were set to expire this month.

Stimulus: The bill will provide $1,400 checks to individuals earning up to $75,000 per year and $2,800 to couples earning up to $150,000 per year but the benefits will phase out and individuals earning more than $80,000 or couples earning over $160,000 will not receive any payments.

Child tax credit: The legislation will provide most Americans with $3,000 per year for each child between 6 and 17 and $3,600 for children under 6. The existing child tax credit provided $2,000 per year. The new credit is expected to be paid out multiple times during the year. But it expires after a year, meaning Democrats would need to craft new legislation to extend it.

Aid: The bill provides $350 billion to states and local governments, some of which have faced economic disaster amid the pandemic closures. It also provides $130 billion to help schools reopen. Colleges will get another $40 billion for financial aid grants and to aid students.

The bill also includes tens of billions to fund coronavirus testing, expanding the public health workforce, and funding vaccine distribution and supplies.

The bill also provides $20 billion in emergency rental assistance and $10 billion in mortgage and homeownership assistance.

Another provision will provide an $86 billion bailout for failing pensions.

New provisions will provide money to help the homeless, expand the Employee Retention Tax Credit for small businesses, temporarily fund COBRA health insurance at 100%, provide $10 billion in infrastructure funding, and provide additional money to Amtrak.

The bill does not include a minimum wage increase.


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