President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act in the Oval Office on Thursday, one day earlier than originally scheduled.
Why it matters: The enactment of the massive coronavirus relief plan cements Biden’s first major legislative victory and comes exactly one year after the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization.
The big picture: Federal agencies will now face the daunting task of implementing one of the largest economic relief packages in U.S. history, which is projected to lift millions out of poverty in addition to supporting businesses and other institutions hit hard by the pandemic.
Why it matters: While Democrats were unable to include some progressive priorities in the bill, like an increase in the minimum wage, the final product is being touted as one of the most consequential anti-poverty bills of the modern era.
The bill includes:
- $1,400 stimulus checks for Americans making less than $75,000 annually and married couples making less than $150,000. Check sizes phase down from there, with a cap of $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for couples.
- A continuation of the federal $300-per-week supplemental unemployment benefit. Federal income taxes will also be waived on the first $10,200 of 2020 unemployment benefits for households earning less than $150,000.
- An increased child tax credit in 2021 of $3,600 for children up to age 5 and up to $3,000 for ages 6–17.
- $350 billion in state and local aid and $128.6 billion to help K-12 schools reopen.
- $25 billion in aid to restaurants and other food and drinking establishments.
- $19 billion in emergency rental assistance, $100 million to housing counseling programs and $5 billion to help combat homelessness.
- $7.25 billion in funds for Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses.
- $7.5 billion in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding for vaccine distribution.
- Increased subsidies for Americans buying health care through the Affordable Care Act.
- An extension of 15% increased federal SNAP benefits through September.
- About $7.2 billion for the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that all students have internet access during remote learning.