President of U.S Joe Biden had signed a COVID-19 relief bill law on March 11, 2021, for $1.9 trillion. According to the bill, there will be an increment in funds for vaccine distribution, $1,400 cash payment to Americans, extended unemployment benefits and support for caregiving nutrition programs, health care and pensions. The latest COVID relief by the U.S have the provisions of packages that will be sent to Capitol Hill by the President, and the elements of the bill are advocated by American Rescue Plan Act(AARP).
Congress finalized the bill on March 10 through voting in the U.S House of Representatives. Help is here,” Mr Biden tweeted right after the House had voted on the American Rescue Plan. He called the bill one of the most significant stimulus measures on record and the “historic victory” for the American people. “The American Rescue Plan Act will greatly benefit Americans 50-plus at a time when too many 50-plus are hurting as a result of pandemic and economic fallout,” says Nancy LeaMond, AARO executive vice President and chief advocacy and engagement officer. The first notable thing about the bill is that it is massive. According to analyses, the relief bill could put the economy of the U.S in more robust shape than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, at least temporarily.
The Major Highlights Of The Relief Bill
- Stimulus Payments- Individuals earning upto $75,000, or household earning upto $112,500 and couple earning upto $150,000 would be eligible for $1,400 cash payment. Individual, household or couple earning $80,000, $120,000, $160,000 respectively will not receive any cash payment.
- Vaccine And Testing- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would receive $7.5 billion to improve the process of vaccine distribution. An additional $46 billion would be given for testing, diagnosing and monitoring the pandemic. $7.6 billion would be given to the Public health workforce, and $1.75 billion would be granted to CDC for improving the new COVID-19 strains.
- Unemployment Insurance- emergency pandemic unemployment assistance would be given till September 6. The extra weekly unemployment benefit will be $300. Tax relief up to $ 10,200 would be provided for household earning less than $150,000 a year.
- Paid Family Leave- Tax credits to business that offer paid leave would be extended till September 30.
- Nutrition- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would be extended up to 15 per cent. The food packages for seniors would receive $37 million, and they will be available till September 30, 2022.
- Housing- Emergency rental assistance and other relief for the homeless would get $30 billion, and $10 billion will be given for mortgage assistance.
- Nursing Home- Half a billion dollars would be given to the staff or residents of the Nursing home if diagnosed or suspected with COVID-19. $200 would be given to control the infection and prevention and mitigation of COVID 19.
- Pension- Severely underfunded multi-employer pension plans could get federal assistance from pension benefits guarantee corporation.
- Tax credit- The earned income tax credit for childless people would be increased from $542 to $1502 temporarily.
Republicans are against the bill. They are raising concern that the spending is vastly more than necessary. This isn’t a rescue bill, it isn’t a relief bill, it is a laundry list of left-wing priorities that predate the pandemic and do not meet the needs of American families,” says House Minority (Republican) Leader Kevin McCarthy. Democrats and President Joe Biden counter that a robust aid package is necessary to prevent a long and painful recovery from the pandemic. Some of the republicans want to cut the rebate’s size, but Me Biden has insisted on USD 1,400 checks, and he says, “that’s what the American people were promised.” The new round of checks will cost USD 422 billion to the government. Over 500,000 Americans have died of Coronavirus Pandemic. Over 18 per cent of Americans have been vaccinated, and Mr Biden has said that the Country will have vaccine for everyone by the end of May.