What’s in the Covid Relief Bill
The president is expected to sign the bill later this week.
Families receive an additional $ 1,400 per child. A married couple with two children, for example, could receive up to $ 5,600.
The total amount goes to people earning less than $ 75,000 in adjusted gross income, heads of households (such as single parents) earning less than $ 112,500, and married couples earning less than $ 150,000. But then the payments gradually disappear as income grows – faster than previous stimulus payments.
People who earn at least $ 80,000 a year, heads of households who earn at least $ 120,000, and married couples who earn at least $ 160,000 will be completely excluded from the third round of stimulus payments – regardless of the date. number of children they have.
The bill plans to give a federal boost of $ 300 to weekly unemployment benefits and extend two key pandemic unemployment benefit programs until September 6.
It will also exempt the first $ 10,200 of benefit payments from tax for households with an annual income of less than $ 150,000.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program provides benefits to freelancers, concert workers, independent contractors and some people affected by the pandemic, while the Emergency Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program increases the duration of payments for people under the state’s traditional unemployment system.
The president’s plan was to provide a boost of $ 400 and continue the benefits until the end of September.
Aid to states and municipalities
The legislation provides $ 350 billion for states, local governments, territories and tribes.
It will give states and the District of Columbia $ 195.3 billion, while counties and cities will share about $ 130 billion in aid. The tribes will receive $ 20 billion and the territories $ 4.5 billion under the two bills.
The bill also contains a $ 10 billion fund for coronavirus investment projects.
Additional aid to states has been one of the most controversial elements of Congressional bailouts, with Democrats seeking to add to the $ 150 billion contained in legislation passed last March and Republicans resisting such efforts. The December package ultimately dropped an initial appeal to include $ 160 billion.
The package extends the 15% increase in food stamp benefits until September, instead of expiring it at the end of June.
It also contains $ 880 million for the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, known as WIC, to help increase participation and temporarily improve benefits, among other measures. Biden called for investing $ 3 billion in the program.
The bill sends about $ 20 billion to state and local governments to help low-income households cover rent, rent assistance, and utility bills.
It authorizes about $ 10 billion to help struggling homeowners pay off their mortgages, utilities and property taxes.
The bill also provides $ 5 billion to help states and communities help people at risk of becoming homeless by providing them with safe and socially remote housing, for example. Another $ 5 billion goes to emergency housing vouchers for the homeless.
Tax credits for families and workers
The legislation strengthens tax credits for families and some low-income workers for 2021.
The enhanced portion of the credit will be available to single parents with an annual income of up to $ 75,000 and joint tax filers earning up to $ 150,000.
The credit will also become fully repayable so that more low-income parents can take advantage of it. Additionally, families can receive monthly payments, rather than a lump sum once a year, which is meant to make it easier for them to pay bills.
The package also improves the earned income tax credit for childless workers by nearly tripling the maximum credit and extending eligibility to more people. The minimum age for applying for childless credit will be reduced to 19, instead of 25, and the upper age limit will be removed.
This is the largest increase in the earned income tax credit since 2009.
Optional paid sick and family leave
Unlike Biden’s original proposal, the bill does not reinstate the mandatory paid family and sick leave approved in a previous Covid relief program. But it will continue to give tax credits to employers who voluntarily choose to offer the benefit until October 1.
Last year, Congress guaranteed many workers two weeks’ pay if they contracted Covid or were in quarantine. It also provided an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave for those staying at home with children whose schools were closed. These benefits expired in December.
Education and childcare
The bill provides $ 125 billion to public schools in Kindergarten to Grade 12 to help return students to the classroom. Schools would be allowed to use the money to update their ventilation systems, reduce class sizes to help implement social distancing, purchase personal protective equipment and hire support staff. Another $ 2.75 billion would go to private schools. It demands that 20% of the money be used to address the learning loss by offering extended days or summer courses, for example.
Almost $ 40 billion will go to colleges. At least half of the funds must be spent on emergency student financial assistance grants and the remainder can help cover lost revenue due to declining enrollment and increased costs associated with keeping students safe during the trip. pandemic.
The bill also provides about $ 39 billion for child care providers. The amount a supplier receives would be based on operating expenses and is available to pay employees and rent, help families struggling to afford the cost, and purchase personal protective equipment and other supplies.
Health Insurance and Medicaid Subsidies
Registrants will pay no more than 8.5% of their income for coverage, compared to almost 10% currently. Additionally, those earning more than the current ceiling of 400% of the federal poverty level – about $ 51,000 for an individual and $ 104,800 for a family of four in 2021 – will become eligible for assistance.
In addition, the bills will strengthen subsidies for low-income registrants, completely eliminating their premiums for two years, and will do the same for those receiving unemployment benefits in 2021.
The legislation also provides for a full premium subsidy for dismissed workers who wish to remain affiliated with their employer’s health insurance scheme through COBRA. Assistance runs from April to September.
Additionally, the package seeks to encourage states that have yet to extend Medicaid to low-income adults to do so by increasing their federal Medicaid matching funds by 5 percentage points for two years.
More money for small businesses
The bill provides $ 15 billion for the Disaster Emergency Loan Program, which provides long-term, low-interest loans to the Small Business Administration. Severely affected small businesses with fewer than 10 workers will be given priority for some of the money.
It also provides $ 25 billion for a new subsidy program specifically for bars and restaurants. Qualifying businesses can receive up to $ 10 million and can use the money for a variety of expenses, including payroll, mortgage and rent, utilities, and food and drink.
The paycheck protection program, which is currently accepting second-round loan applications, would get an additional $ 7 billion and the bills would make more nonprofits eligible.
Another $ 175 million would be used for awareness and promotion, creating a community browser program to help target eligible businesses.
Vaccines and tests
The legislation provides $ 14 billion for research, development, distribution, administration and confidence building in vaccines. It will also spend $ 47.8 billion on testing, contact tracing and mitigation, including investing in lab capacity, community testing sites, and mobile testing units, especially in medically-based areas. underserved.
And it will allocate $ 7.7 billion to hire 100,000 public health workers to support the coronavirus response.
In addition, the package provides $ 50 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with part of the funds going to expand immunization efforts.
The president’s plan called for investing $ 20 billion in a national immunization program.
Rural hospital assistance
The bill allocates $ 8.5 billion to help struggling rural hospitals and health care providers.