AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

Third stimulus check: $1.9 trillion package breakdown

Democrats are moving forward with Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package with plans to speed it through House before the end of the month.

Third stimulus check: $1.9 trillion package breakdown
Oliver Contreras / POOL EFE

The stage is set for Democrats to advance a budget framework including the American Rescue Plan promoted by the White House with or without Republicans. Lawmakers in Congress will begin drafting the covid-19 aid package next week seeking to pass it within the next two weeks.

Although President Biden desires to work with Republicans he supported the move by congressional Democrats to move forward without Republican votes. During a speech on Friday regarding the state of the economy Biden said “I’ve told both Republicans and Democrats that’s my preference to work together. But if I have to choose between getting help right now to Americans who are hurting so badly and getting bogged down in a lengthy negotiation or compromising on a bill that’s up to the crisis, that’s an easy choice.”

VP Kamala Harris casts her first tiebreaking vote in the Senate

Democrats in both the House and the Senate voted to muscle Biden’s coronavirus relief bill through Congress using reconciliation, a budgetary tool whereby they can pass the legislation without any GOP votes. In the early hours of Friday, after a marathon voting session in the Senate the fast-track budget measure was passed with Vice President Kamala Harris casting her first tiebreaking vote. Now it will be up to lawmakers in both chambers to hammer out the language of the bill that will keep all the members of the party happy.

In both the House and Senate Republican opposition to the spending measure was unanimous. GOP Senators presented the White House with their own $600 billion proposal that is less than a third of the size of what Democrats approved. Biden said from the White House “I’d like to be doing it with the support of Republicans. I’ve met with Republicans. ...but they’re just not willing to go as far as I think we have to go,”

The economy is still in need of stimulus

The urgency by the White House and Democrats to get a new covid-19 relief package comes after a lackluster jobs report from the Labor Department on Friday. The economy added only 49,000 jobs bringing the unemployment rate to 6.3 percent. Notable job gains in education along with professional and business services were offset by losses in hospitality, retail, health care and logistics. Over 10 million Americans remain unemployed well above pre-pandemic levels.

Biden also highlighted the need to act fast citing the fact that the pandemic is far from over saying “January was the single deadliest month of the whole pandemic. We lost nearly 100,000 lives. I know some in Congress think we’ve already done enough to deal with the crisis in the country.” Adding “That’s not what I see. I see enormous pain in this country. A lot of folks out of work, a lot of folks going hungry, staring at the ceiling tonight wondering what am I going to do tomorrow.”

Biden says stimulus checks are “going to be $1,400, period.”

Speaking from the White House Biden reiterated his plan to send out another round of stimulus checks saying “I’m not cutting the size of the checks. They’re going to be $1,400, period.” However he did offer a concession to moderates in both parties to garner support for his coronavirus aid package saying he favored restricting the direct payments to those who need them most. “we need to target that money so folks making $300,000 don’t get any windfall.”

What else in Biden’s covid-19 relief plan?

Biden explained that his American Rescue Plan isn’t just to address the current crisis but to improve the long-term economic health and competitiveness of the nation. “My plan creates more jobs, creates more economic growth and does more to make us competitive with the rest of the world than any other plan,” Biden said.

A breakdown of the American Rescue Plan

  • $160 billion National covid-19 strategy
  • $120 billion Child Tax Credit
  • $350 billion funding for state and local governments
  • $350 billion extended unemployment insurance through September 2021
  • $170 billion for reopening schools
  • $50 billion small businesses
  • $40 billion for child care
  • $35 billion rental assistance
  • 15% increase in money for food and nutrition
  • More money for health insurance
  • 14 weeks of paid leave
  • raise minimum wage to $15 per hour