Third Stimulus Bill: The American Rescue Plan Is Signed Into Law
Joe Bidens stimulus bill and $1,400 checks are on their way. Heres the latest news.
As America nears one year since Covid-19 pandemic-related shutdowns began, a third wave of stimulus support is on its way. The American Rescue Plan, an ambitious $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package first unveiled by President Biden in January 2020, has now officially been signed into law and is sure to be a centerpiece of Bidens first 100 days.
Whats in the stimulus bill? The package includes a third stimulus check for $1,400, expanded and extended unemployment insurance, and billions for schools, public health, and state and local government aid. And thats not all.
Some 280 million people will be eligible for the third round of stimulus checks, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, and unlike previous direct payments, all dependents including college students and some people with disabilities, not just children under 17 will be eligible. Heres how to check if you qualify for a third stimulus payment.
Between those checks, a child allowance program to help parents, an expansion of zero-premium health care coverage to low-income Americans, housing aid, and other aspects, its one of the most ambitious anti-poverty bills in decades.
Read more for the latest news and updates on the package:
Millions of Americans could gain health coverage under the Democrats stimulus bill.
How Does The American Rescue Plan Act Compare To Overall Federal Spending
The American Rescue Plan Acts estimated 2021 $1.2 trillion outlay is equivalent to 18% of the record $6.6 trillion the federal government spent in fiscal year 2020 . The federal government spent 91% more than it collected in revenue in fiscal year 2020, creating a $3.1 trillion deficit. At the same time, federal debt grew to $26.9 trillion.
Progressives Angry About Minimum Wage
The House bill also includes a federal minimum wage hike from $7.25 to $15 per hour, phased in over four years. The provision, a top progressive priority, is all but doomed in the Senate after a ruling Thursday evening by the in-house referee that it violates the chamber’s rules for legislation that can pass with a simple majority.
Biden had included the wage hike in his proposal. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in response to the ruling that the president is “disappointed” but “respects the parliamentarians decision and the Senates process.”
Psaki said he would “determine the best path forward” on a minimum wage increase, but called on legislators to “move quickly to pass” the rest of the Covid-19 relief package in the meantime.
Pelosi said the House, which is not bound by the Senate’s procedural restrictions, would keep the $15 wage provision in its bill on Friday despite the parliamentarian’s decision.
“House Democrats believe that the minimum wage hike is necessary,” she said.
The federal wage floor of $7.25 an hour hasn’t risen since 2009.
After the parliamentarian ruling, top Senate Democrats immediately began looking for a way to use tax penalties to push companies to pay higher wages, which is more likely to comply with the rules.
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The rest of the $1.9 trillion package has overwhelming support among Democratic lawmakers, and it is expected to become law, possibly with some changes in the Senate.
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Key Statistics Of Where The Stimulus Bill Will Be Spent
- $403 billion of stimulus checks will be given to eligible Americans
- The continuation of the $300 per week unemployment support and other measures will cost $205 billion
- More than $176 billion will be invested in schools, colleges, and online learning
- COVID-19 vaccination and testing programs will receive nearly $66 billion of federal support
- Restaurants and bars are set to receive $28.6 billion of aid, with Airlines and the aviation industry being handed slightly less at $25.5 billion
- 47% of Americans surveyed said they need urgent support within the next month
- The top 3 areas people need stimulus support for are paying critical debts , mortgage and rent payments , and buying food
Investments And Support For State And Local Governments
Estimated Support For State And Local Governments: $362.1 Billion
Percentage Of Stimulus Bill:19.83%
Many states and local governments have seen their ability to support residents diminish as the pandemic goes on. To help provide more localized aid, the American Rescue Plan provides $362.1 billion in support and investment for state and local governments.
This figure is designed to help the more local governments provide funds where they are needed, helping in the COVID response, ensuring public services are available, and local projects can continue.
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The Claim: ‘9% Of The 19 Trillion Dollar Package Is Going To The American People’
The American Rescue Plan the signature initiative thus far in President Joe Bidens tenure has passed the U.S. House, sparking renewed debate over what exactly is in the $1.9 trillion package.
Democrats are presenting the mammoth bill as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 500,000 lives and disrupted business, schooling and personal lives on every conceivable level.
Republicans say its a pork-stuffed wish list thats being opportunistically rammed through a Democrat-controlled Congress.
That has led to all manner of claims on social media, including the following post from : 9% of the 1.9 TRILLION dollar package is going to the American people, it said on a background of poop emojis. Nine percent.
The poster who made the claim did not provide any evidence in an exchange of messages with USA TODAY. Nearly identical posts made the same claim at leastfour othertimes between Feb. 26 and March 1.
There has been widespread criticism of the mammoth bill centered on a 9% figure. But this isnt it.
Lets take a closer look.
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The Federal Government Spent $66 Trillion In Fiscal Year 2020
Many Americans are struggling to make ends meet as the pandemic continues to impact the economy. Thirty-five percent of households reported having difficulty paying for usual expenses in the most Census Household Pulse Survey. The American Rescue Plan Act contains several provisions to stay accountable to hurting Americans, including $3 million to the Department of Commerces Inspector General for oversight, $40 million to the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, and $77 million to the Government Accountability Office. Over the coming months, check the indicators on how the nation is fairing at the COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Hub.
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The Child Tax Credit Would Become More Generous Among Other Benefits
For 2021, the bill would temporarily expand the child tax credit, which is currently worth up to $2,000 per child under 17.Under the legislation, the tax credit would be as much as $3,600 for children up to age 5and as much as $3,000 for children 6 to 17.
The bill would make the full value of the credit available to low-income people who are currently ineligible or receive only a portion. And for the second half of this year, it would have the federal government send advance payments of the credit to Americans in periodic installments, akin to a guaranteed income for families with children.
The legislation would also expand the child and dependent care tax credit for 2021, and it would expand the earned-income tax credit for workers without children for this year as well. Through 2025, it would exempt student loan forgiveness from income taxes.
Schools And Child Care Block Grants
The plan sets aside $122 billion for K12 education through September 30, 2023. This money will be used to reduce class sizes, improve ventilation, purchase personal protective equipment, and fund other steps to help schools reopen safely.
Almost $40 billion would go to colleges and universities to provide emergency financial aid grants for students through September 30, 2023. An additional $15 billion will go to child care providers through the Child Care and Development Block Grant program through September 30, 2021. The act also includes $1 billion for the Head Start program through September 30, 2022.
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Expanded Child Tax Credit
The American Rescue Plan Act increases the Child Tax Credit maximum to $3,000 a year for each child ages 6 to 17, and $3,600 for each child under age 6, for couples who make $150,000 or less and single parents who make $112,500 or less. Payments will be sent by direct deposit on a monthly basis, according to current language.
A family with one child under age 6 would receive $300 per month and $250 per month for children ages 6 to 17. The law provides for one year of credit payments. The idea behind regular payments is to help families pay for ongoing costs instead of claiming a credit when they file their taxes. The credit is refundable, meaning everyone who qualifies will get it no matter their tax situation.
State And Local Funding
There’s a $350 billion pot of cash to help governors, mayors and other local leaders recover lost funds “stemming from the public health emergency.”
That includes $220 billion for states, territories and tribal governments, in addition to an extra $130 billion for metropolitan cities, localities and counties.
The money can be put to a wide variety of uses, including infrastructure projects, but there are some restrictions: States can’t use the relief money to cut taxes either “directly or indirectly” through rate cuts, deductions, credits, rebates or delaying the onset of a tax. If they do, they’ll have to pay the money back to the Treasury. To enforce that, the bill requires states to give the Biden administration a “detailed accounting” of the use of funds and any changes to tax revenue sources during the relevant time period.
The money also can’t go to pension funds.
CORRECTION : A previous version of this article misidentified the state Sen. Roger Wicker represents. It is Mississippi, not Arkansas.
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Schools Could Get Money To Reopen
The administration says it wants to make the necessary investments to meet the president-elects goal of safely reopening a majority of kindergarten-to-eighth-grade schools within Mr. Bidens first 100 days in office.
Administration officials are suggesting $170 billion for schools, supplemented by additional state and local funds. About $130 billion of that would go toward reopening, while much of the rest of the money would go to help colleges dealing with the shift to distance learning and other pandemic-tied problems.
American Rescue Plan Act Funding Breakdown
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law. The $1.9 trillion package, based on President Bidens American Rescue Plan, is intended to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including the public health and economic impacts.
Below is an interactive tool that helps navigate the roughly $1.5 trillion in county related funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Programs that may provide counties with additional funding are denoted as county eligible. As federal guidance for the various new and existing programs are released, this information will be updated.
Direct Federal Aid to Counties | $65.1 Billion
In a major victory for America’s counties, the legislation includes $65.1 billion in direct, flexible aid to every county in America. These direct funds are allocated based on the county share of the U.S. population. Counties that are Community Development Block Grant recipients will receive the larger of the population-based share or the share under a modified CDBG allocation formula.
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Assistance To Small Business Landlords And Renters:
The American Rescue Plan continues earlier efforts to help small but key elements of the economy: main street business, landlords and their tenants.
Earlier relief bills created the Paycheck Protection Program to help small business. This builds on that with another $50 billion with an emphasis on getting money quickly to the smallest businesses. Small business revenue is down 32% across the country and some 400,000 firms have permanently closed.
The bill also includes $25 billion in rental assistance . The money is designed to help small landlords as well. In addition, the bill includes $5 billion to cover home energy and water costs.
Data Sources & Methodology:
Data for the American Rescue Plan breakdown was sourced from the CBO – – dated 03/11/2021. Total outlay figures reach a value of $1.840 trillion, with a $14.4 variance on preserving health care that provides a total package outlay of $1.825 trillion. Percentages used in the chart relate to the $1.825 trillion outlay figure.
A sample of 1,033 Americans were surveyed between March 4th-12th, 2021 using Amazons Mechanical Turk survey platform. Questions were asked about their need for stimulus support, their financial situation, and where they plan to spend their stimulus check, should they be eligible.
The breakdown of the respondents sampled is as follows:
Lead Bank. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender Sunrise Banks, N.A. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender Atlantic Capital Bank, N.A. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender
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Deficit Impact Approximately $19 Trillion
A breakdown of the deficit impact of the law compiled by the Committee For a Responsible Budget. A few provisions were tweaked prior to passage such as the elimination of the $15 minimum wage by the Senate Parliamentarian.
This table shows the deficit impact of various provisions, which may differ slightly from the total amount of aid offered. For instance, $50 billion is allocated to the Disaster Relief Fund, but CBO estimates that only $47 billion will ultimately be spent, based on past precedent. As another example, there are $15 billion in loans and grants given to airlines, but the previous version of this bill has led CBO to conclude that $3 billion will ultimately be repaid or given to the government as stock as a condition of accepting the support.
*The total removes $14 billion from COBRA subsidies and funding for LIHEAP that are shared between two committees and would be double-counted if summing each committees total.
Housing Amtrak And The Arts
The package includes $22 billion in rental assistance, $5 billion in homelessness aid and nearly $10 billion to help homeowners pay mortgages.
The bill allocates $1.7 billion for Amtrak, which the organization suggests it will use to bring back furloughed workers and restore long-distance train services.
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Obamacare And Cobra Money
With surprisingly little fanfare, the legislation includes some of the biggest changes to the Affordable Care Act since President Barack Obama signed it in 2010.
The bill boosts subsidies for customers who buy insurance through the ACA, lowering premiums across the board and outright eliminating them on benchmark plans for people making under 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
For the first time, people making over 400 percent of the federal poverty level can qualify for federal help, as well, with their premiums capped at 8.5 percent of income. The new subsidies are for only two years Democrats are likely to try to extend them.
The federal government would also cover a larger share of Medicaid expenses if states that haven’t expanded the program through the ACA choose to do so now. Twelve states have opted out of Medicaid expansion. It’s unclear whether their governors and legislatures will take up the offer.
Outside of the ACA changes, people who have left jobs during the pandemic and want to maintain their existing employer insurance can get 100 percent of their premiums subsidized through COBRA, the law that allows workers to carry over their work plans.
Visual Chart Of The Third Stimulus Package Spending Plans
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost $3 trillion of support and stimulus packages have been approved by the federal government. However, with the nation still suffering from the impact of the virus, President Joe Biden and his administration pledged to do more.
Approved by Congress on March 10th, 2021, and signed by President Biden on March 11th, 2021, the $1.9 trillion stimulus package – titled the âAmerican Rescue Planâ – provides support across 6 key areas:
- Individual Support
*Data for the American Rescue Plan breakdown was sourced from the CBO – – dated 03/11/2021. Total outlay figures reach a value of $1.840 trillion, with a $14.4 variance on preserving health care that provides a total package outlay of $1.825 trillion. Percentages used in the chart relate to the $1.825 trillion outlay figure.
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Senator Fischer To Oppose Democrats $19 Trillion Stimulus Bill
If so many Americans are hurting, as we all know they are, our only focus should be getting this aid into their hands, not using their insecurity as a chance to pass a bunch of wish list items from the progressive agenda.
Watch the video here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer spoke on the Senate floor to voice her opposition to the Democrats partisan $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. Senator Fischer explained how the package fails to target aid to those who need it, and called on Congress to work together in a bipartisan manner to deliver relief.
Full Transcript of Senator Fischers Floor Speech:
Mr. President, I come to the floor today because the Senate will likely vote soon on the Biden stimulus bill.
I think all of us in this chamber agree that we want to get relief to the American people.
That was our objective when we passed the CARES Act last year, which allocated $2.2 trillion to the relief effort.
It was our objective when we passed four other COVID relief bills in 2020 and these brought the total up to $4 trillion.
All of these measures were the result of bipartisan cooperation and negotiations Democrats and Republicans working together.
But right now, the president and congressional Democrats are pushing a completely partisan product through a totally partisan process to promote their progressive agenda.
And as of the end of January, hundreds of billions of dollars from these bills had yet to be spent.
I think these payments are a good idea.