House Passes Final Version Of $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill, Biden To Sign Friday
Nearly two months into his time in office, President Joe Biden will sign a version of the sweeping stimulus package he proposed even before he was sworn in.
The House of Representatives passed the final version of the American Rescue Plan bill Wednesday afternoon without any Republicans voting in favor and one Democrat voting against. Biden will promote and detail the bill in a primetime television address Thursday night before signing it into law Friday, The Washington Post reports. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine was the only Democrat to vote against the measure.
In addition to the $1,400 individual checks to be sent to most Americans, the bill includes $350B in direct aid to state and local governments, $28.6B in aid targeted at individual restaurants as well as small and midsized chains, $25B in financial assistance for renters and $5B in aid for renters to pay utility bills.
An additional $7B will be added in financing to the Paycheck Protection Program, $20B will be dedicated to financing vaccine and therapy research, $8.75B will go to state, local and tribal authorities to assist in vaccine distribution and $25B will go to similar targets for testing.
The bill also includes multiple expansions to the federal Child Tax Credit, both in terms of amount and in who is eligible to receive it. Some experts have called it among the most significant anti-poverty measures to be passed in a generation. The direct checks, or economic impact payments, stand to provide an immense boost to the economy, even more so than the influential $600 checks distributed in December.
When the House initially passed the American Rescue Plan, it came with a provision to increase the federal minimum wage to $15/hour and an increase of federal employment benefits from $300/week to $400/week. After Senate negotiations and a parliamentarian ruling removed the minimum wage, the amended bill was sent back to the House that included a simple extension of the $300/week federal unemployment through September. Unemployment payments were scheduled to expire March 14.