In order to provide financial relief to troubled families and expand the scope of national vaccination, the Democrats of the House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion US rescue plan early on Saturday morning.
The bill largely tracks the economic plan announced by President Joe Biden in January, which includes funding for vaccine production and distribution, another round of stimulus payments to many families, and the expansion of federal unemployment benefits. and many more. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called it “transformational”
Pelosi said: “The American people need to know that their government is there, and, as President Biden said, aid is on the way.”
No Republicans voted for the bill. The Conservative Party largely opposes the size of the bill and regulations that they consider unrelated to the pandemic.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said during the debate: “The Democrats are so embarrassed that all non-communist waste in this bill is so embarrassing that they blocked it in the middle of the night.”
The bill will now go to the Senate, and despite some potential changes, it is still expected to pass. This is a breakdown of some of the main clauses in the House version.
Child tax credit
The bill is a more ambitious provision that provides for a fully refundable child tax credit in 2021, increasing the amount from US$2,000 to US$3,000 per child between the ages of 6 and 17 and increasing the amount of children under 6 years old from US$2,000 to US$3,000. Children increased from US$3,600 to US$3,600.
For individuals with an annual income of more than $75,000 or married couples with an annual income of more than $150,000, these payments are beginning to be phased out.
Because they are refundable in full, eligible families will be eligible for credit no matter how much income they earn each year. These families will receive a check from the IRS.
The bill includes US$30 billion in emergency rental assistance and US$5 billion in additional costs to prevent the Covid-19 outbreak of homeless people. Another $10 billion is earmarked for mortgage assistance. The bill does not directly extend the national suspension of expulsion, which is currently set to expire at the end of March.
The stimulus bill passed at the end of December also included $25 billion in emergency rent relief.
Minimum wage increase
One of the most controversial provisions in the draft bill is to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. This is included in the House of Representatives bill, but it may not become the final law.
The Senate is a non-party official who is responsible for deciding which bills are eligible to pass the upper house. He determined on Thursday that the minimum wage increase did not meet the standard legislation that must be passed so that it can be passed by a simple majority. Pelosi promised that Congress will resolve the minimum wage issue as soon as possible.
Pelosi said: “The minimum wage that currently exists is $7.25, which in many cases is an exploitation of American workers.” “This is a price for taxpayers, because minimum wage workers need food and housing assistance.”
The bill provides funding for the third economic impact payment, with a maximum value of $1,400 per person and his family.
This time, individuals with adjusted gross income (AGI) of up to $75,000 (and individuals with married couples with a maximum income of $150,000) will receive $1,400 and $1,400 per dependent, respectively. Unlike previous incentive payments, adult family members are eligible to participate in this round. This means that many college students, disabled people and older Americans will receive checks for the first time.
The payment is phased out, and for AGI individuals with an annual income of more than US$100,000 and for couples with an annual income of more than US$200,000, the payment reaches $0. These payments are based on 2019 or 2020 income, depending on when the taxpayer submits the 2020 tax return.
Together with the $600 payment made in January, this is to fulfill Biden’s promise of $2,000 to stimulate payment. Some critics disagreed with the fulfillment of this promise, believing that the federal government should pay $2,000 in addition to the $600 cheque for January.
The bill also extended the main unemployment plan from the current expiration date of March 14 to August 29. This is one month shorter than Biden’s proposal in his original plan.
In addition to providing benefits for show workers and others who were not eligible for benefits before the pandemic, it also increased federal payments from an additional $300 per week to $400.
The bill allocates US$20 billion to create a national Covid-19 vaccination plan, and allocates another US$50 billion for virus testing. The plan aims to help establish community vaccination sites nationwide and eliminate vaccine shortages.
Finally, the “American Rescue Plan” also provides funding for schools, restaurants and bars, state and local aid, vaccine production and distribution, and paid vacation.
Now, the Senate may pass different versions of the bill. The House of Representatives will then have to sign the new version. Democrats hope that Biden will sign this legislation before March 14, when many federal unemployment regulations will expire.
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