Everything You Need to Know About The COVID Relief Bill

Today, Congress passed The American Rescue Plan, the third, long-awaited COVID relief bill that includes $1,400 checks for millions of Americans. The bill passed the Senate with a majority Democratic vote over the weekend in what was called a “ stimulus vote-a-rama.” Early this afternoon, the House also passed the bill with a majority Democratic vote. With full Congressional approval, The American Rescue Plan will go to President Biden’s desk for signature this Friday.

The bill, totaling $1.9 trillion, is one of the largest stimulus bills in United States history. It takes a dual approach by allocating funds in direct response to COVID-19, but it also includes provisions that address social, health, and financial challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Already being compared to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” programs, the American Rescue Plan is expected to cut the number of Americans living in poverty by one third and reduce child poverty by almost half. Notably, the bill earmarks $31 billion to support Native American tribes in housing, education, healthcare, and infrastructure. $5 billion will also go toward Black farmers for agricultural grants, debt relief, education, and training.

 

The American Rescue Plan’s far-reaching impacts will provide much needed assistance to vulnerable communities. Here are a few key ways the bill could affect you:

 

  • Individuals who earn less than $75,000 will receive a stimulus check for $1,400. Individuals who earn between $75,000 and $80,000 will also receive a check, but not in the full amount. Individuals with dependents will receive $1,400 for each dependent.

 

  • Couples whose combined income is less than $150,000 will each receive a check for $1,400. Couples earning more than $160,00 will not receive a check.

 

  • Federal unemployment will remain at $300 per week until Sept. 6, and the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits will not be taxed for households earning less than $150,000.

 

  • $7.25 billion in additional funds has been allocated for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). If you own a small business or nonprofit organization, contact your Small Business Association (SBA) lender for application assistance! The updated application form can be found here.

 

 

  • $110 billion has been allocated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget includes funds for research, production, promotion, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. It also includes line items for testing, contact tracing, and “strike teams” for COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes.

 

SOURCES

NBC NewsThe GuardianNavajo Hopi Observer NewsCommittee for a Responsible Federal BudgetNPR