On Wednesday, March 10, the U.S. House of Representatives approved President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan (AMP), the $1.9 trillion relief package. The third major relief package to be approved since the disease began playing havoc with the world. Most news coverage has focused on the facet relevant to every viewer – the $1400 direct payments and the budget to improve vaccine roll-outs. But the package is much larger than that.
What’s in the new stimulus package?
The AMP extends supplemental unemployment insurance. The additional $300 a week unemployment checks, in those states still receiving them, were going to expire on Sunday, March 14. They’re now extended to September 6.
$130 billion is apportioned to reopen schools to in-person learning. This money will go towards any of the hundreds of necessities to make the classrooms safer for teachers and students, as well as providing additional resources to help make up for lost time.
$40 billion is going to higher education institutions, to support financial aid grants for students facing hunger, homelessness, or other challenges due to the pandemic.
$1 billion is set aside for Head Start, which provides early childhood education, health, and nutrition services to low-income families with young children.
$80 billion is for assistance to small business owners, landlords, and rental assistance. Over 400,000 small businesses have already been lost since the beginning of 2020. This injection of cash will help keep that number from growing larger.
$34.2 billion will expand health care subsidies in the Affordable Care Act, mostly to benefit older Americans who formerly made too much for the ACA but not enough to afford private insurance.
The AMP will increase the child tax credit from $2000 per child to $3,000, 3,600 if the child is under seven, giving much needed aid to families.
$160 billion for vaccine development and distribution. $20 billion of that is targeted at helping states, localities, tribes, and territories deploy vaccination centers where they’re needed most.
$350 billion in aid to state and local governments, to help governments recover from budget shortfalls due to tax revenue drops.