Friday, January 15, 2021

Here's what's in Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion package to attack coronavirus, provide relief and stimulate economy

 President-elect Joe Biden proposed a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus and pandemic package Thursday night. Here's some of what's in the "American Rescue Plan," according to CNN:

  • $20 billion for a national vaccination program, to speed immunity and help the economy.
  • $50 billion for coronavirus testing, including buying tests, expanding testing capability, and helping schools implement testing; the hiring of 100,000 public health workers, expansion of community health centers and health services on tribal lands. It would also provide support for long-term care facilities experiencing outbreaks and prisons for mitigation strategies.
  • $1,400 stimulus checks per person to eligible recipients. Some who didn't receive earlier stimulus checks would be included, such as adult dependents and spouses of undocumented immigrants.
  • Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and end the tipped minimum wage and the sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities.
  • $400 a week in federal unemployment aid which, along with two key pandemic unemployment programs, would be extended through September.
  • $25 billion in rental assistance for low- and moderate-income households who have lost jobs during the pandemic. That's in addition to the $25 billion approved in December.
  • $5 billion to help struggling renters pay their utility bills.
  • $5 billion for state and local governments to help those at risk of homelessness.
  • Expand the federal eviction moratorium, set to expire Jan. 31, to Sept. 30, and allow people with federally guaranteed mortgages to apply for forbearance until Sept. 30.
  • A $25 billion emergency fund and $15 billion more for an existing program to help child-care providers, including family child-care homes, to pay for rent, utilities, payroll, and increased costs associated with the pandemic, such as personal protective equipment.
  • Expand the child-care tax credit for one year so families will get back as much as half of their spending on child care for children under age 13.
  • Boost the child tax credit to $3,600 for children under age 6 and $3,000 for those ages 6-17 for one year, and make it fully refundable.
  • Raise the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit for a year to nearly $1,500 for child-free adults, and raise the income limit of the credit to about $21,000 and expand the age range of eligibility to cover older workers.
  • Subsidize through September the premiums of those who lost work-based health insurance.
  • Increase and expand the Affordable Care Act's premium subsidies so enrollees don't have to pay more than 8.5% of their income for coverage.
  • $4 billion for mental-health and substance abuse disorder services.
  • $20 billion for veterans' health care.
  • Reinstate and extend through Sept. 30 the paid sick and family leave benefits that expired in December.
  • Extend the benefit to workers employed at businesses with fewer than 50 or more than 500 workers, as well as federal employees excluded from the original program.
  • People who are sick, quarantining, or caring for a child whose school is closed would receive 14 weeks of paid leave. The government would reimburse employers with fewer than 500 workers for the full cost of providing the leave.
  • $15 billion for a new grant program for small business owners, separate from the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • $35 billion for some state, local, tribal and non-profit financing programs that make low-interest loans and provide venture capital to entrepreneurs.
  • $170 billion to K-12 schools, colleges and universities to help them safely reopen or facilitate distance learning.

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