What's the Bill For?
The bill, called the American Rescue Plan, plans on doing many things. Increasing unemployment aid, helping the hungry, and boosting tax credits are all included, accompanied by much more.
The bill is planned to tremendously help those who have been struggling throughout the pandemic. With $1.9 trillion, you can do a lot of good. Along with extending things from the $2.2 trillion bill from last March and the $900 billion bill from December, the American Rescue Plan adds many new perks.
Not just focusing on COVID relief, the bill also contains a motion to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour. This is the first time it has been changed since 2009, when it was changed from $6.55. It is by far the biggest increase in minimum wage since there was one.
The Contents of the Package
With the American Rescue Plan, Americans will receive another $1,400 stimulus check, in addition to the $600 received in January, for a total of $2,000. To receive the third round of stimulus, one must be eligible. This eligibility is based off of salary, given to those making less than $75,000 annually.
Unemployment aid will be raised from $300 a week to $400 a week through August.
$25 billion will go to families struggling to pay their rent, while another $5 billion will go to families struggling to pay for their utilities, such as water and electricity.
The eviction moratorium will be extended even longer, from what it is now (March 31) to September 30.
The 15% increase in food stamp benefits will be extended as well, going through September instead of June.
$3 billion will go to helping women and children secure food, and $1 billion will go to US territories for further food assistance.
The government will partner with restaurants to give food to Americans in need as well as to hire those who lost their jobs in the restaurant business during the pandemic.
More money will be spent on child care and tax credits, as well as refundable tax credit increases.
Congress is being called on to subsidize the premiums of those who lost their health insurance with their jobs.
$20 billion will go towards the health care of veterans, and $5 billion will go towards mental health and substance abuse services.
Paid sick and family leave will be reinstated. Those who meet certain criteria will receive 14 weeks of paid leave.
About $50 billion will go towards helping small businesses.
$350 billion will go to state and local governments for use for schools and vaccine distribution.
$170 billion will go to K-12 schools and public universities to help them reopen responsibly.
$20 billion will be given to the public transit agencies that have suffered the most.
$20 billion will go to vaccine distribution, specifically opening vaccine distribution centers.
$50 billion will go to increasing COVID testing.
Minimum wage will be increased to $15 an hour.
What Happens Now?
The American Rescue Plan passed in the House of Representatives, but that doesn't mean it is in motion. It still needs to be passed by the Senate. They are set to vote on it before March 14, which is the day that the pandemic's unemployment benefits run out, and we go back to how things were.
The Senate passed on the budget of the bill in early February, sending it to the House to vote on it. It was not a bipartisan vote, winning 219-212, with 2 Democrats joining all the Republicans of the House on the "nay" side of history. Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Jared Golden of Maine felt that certain parts of the bill didn't need to be included, so they voted against it.
This will be the first major piece of legislation passed by the Biden administration (if it does pass). If it doesn't none of the things listed above go into effect. Assuming it doesn't, here is a list of dates that aid will end.
After March 31, you are allowed to be evicted from your house, as the eviction moratorium that has been in place for the last few months will be lifted. The increase in food stamp benefits will end June 30. The federal unemployment benefits will go back to normal after March 14. Minimum wage will continue to be $7.25 an hour.