Give us the money

Congress Just Passed $1.9 Trillion in Covid-19 Relief

Here’s what to know about stimulus checks and where all that money is going.

By Catherine Wendlandt March 10, 2021

Congress just spent a ton of money, and we’re not even joking.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed President Joe Biden’s nearly $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package. Called the American Rescue Plan, the president’s package, which the president introduced this past January, is one of the biggest federal aid packages since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal during the Great Depression, according to The New York Times.

Where the heck is all that money going?

Well, $350 billion will aid tribal, state, and local governments, and another $10 billion is designated for critical infrastructure projects. There’s more than $140 billion headed to schools, $14 billion to vaccine distribution, $49 billion for Covid-19 testing, $25 billion to rental assistance, and $30 billion for transit agencies. Billions more will go to other areas like small businesses and child-care grants, according to NBC News. That’s a lot of billions.

The bill will extend $300-a-week federal unemployment benefits through September 6. For families making less than $150,000, the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits will be tax-free. For children under age 6, there will be a child tax credit of $3,600, and for children ages 6-17, there will be a tax credit of $3,000.

And, as you probably have already heard, there will be a third round of stimulus checks.

In this new round, individuals making up to $75,000 and couples with a joint income of up to $150,000 would receive $1,400 and $2,800 respectively. Folks earning more than that would receive incrementally smaller checks until the benefits capped out at incomes of $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for couples. Heads of households (like single parents) making between $112,500 and $120,000 would also receive checks. Families in these income brackets will also get $1,400 per child.

While the income ceiling is lower than it was for previous rounds, CNN reported that the mass majority of households will receive checks.

“The COVID relief package is a huge win for the people of Harris County, and the embodiment of hope,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo tweeted Wednesday. “Between direct assistance and local government funding, this is the support we needed.”

The House voted 220 to 211 to re-pass the package—the version the U.S. Senate passed last Saturday was different than the original bill. On March 6, the Senate voted 50-49 on party lines to approve the bill, but some of the original provisions, like a minimum wage increase, were adjusted or removed. The president is expected to sign the final package into law on Friday.

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