Senate Amends House COVID Relief Bill, Needs to Passed Again by House, Before Biden can Sign it into Law
By Yehudit Garmaise
Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed a $1.9 trillion in COVID relief bill that will also result in $1,400 stimulus checks, but 8 million fewer Americans will receive them.
The previous House COVID-relief bill planned to provide $1,400 stimulus checks for Americans who make under $75,000 a year, while Americans who make between $75,000 and $100,000 would receive smaller checks. Under the Senate's American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, however, individual Americans who make more $80,000 and couples who make more than a combined income $160,000 will not receive any COVID relief checks.
President Biden called the aid package "urgently needed" and praised the Senate for passing it Saturday. The president said he will get "checks out the door" to Americans "this month."
Before President Joe Biden can sign into law the legislation that the Senate amended yesterday, however, the House of Representatives has have to vote on it once again, which the chamber is expected to do on Tuesday.
While the Republicans axed expenses that were bloating the Relief Bill, such as the $15 minimum wage and a $140 million California railway in the San Francisco district of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the Senate amended the bill in many ways that would benefit Americans.
Child Tax Credits: Senators included a Child Tax Credit increase of $3,600 per child under the age of 6, and a $3,000 tax credit boost per child, who is between the ages of 6 and 17 years old. The Child Tax Credit is limited to Americans who make less than $75,000 a year annually, and couples who make less than $150,000 a year.
Unemployment: The Senate bill would extend enhanced unemployment benefits through Sept. 6 at $300 a week, and the first $10,200 of benefits would be non-taxable. The provision applies to households who earn incomes under $150,000.
Bailouts: Senators are ensuring that massive bailout payments totaling $350 billion will go to financially struggling cities and states, like New York. The MTA will receive $6 billion.
Vaccine Distribution: The bill prioritizes $14 billion “to speed up manufacturing and distribution of the vaccines," President Biden said.
Healthcare at reduced or no cost for those in need: The Senate dedicated $34 billion to expand Affordable Care Act subsidies.
Restaurants: Restaurants struggling to pay their rent will receive $28.6 billion.