On Thursday, March 11, President Joe Biden (D) signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Here’s a look at some of the provisions contained in the $1.9 trillion package:
• The law provides for a third round of relief checks to eligible individuals and couples. Individuals and dependents earning up to $75,000 and married couples and dependents earning up to $150,000 will receive $1,400 checks. Individuals earning more than $80,000, and married couples earning $160,000, will not receive checks, though they will still receive $1,400 per dependent. The checks phase out at different rates depending on the taxpayer’s filing status and number of dependents for individuals and married couples earning between $75,000 and $80,000 and $150,000 and $160,000, respectively.
• The law extends a $300-per-week supplement to federal unemployment benefits through September 6. Those benefits were set to expire March 14.
• The law includes a one-year expansion of the child tax credit and expanded the credit to include 17-year-olds. The credit increases from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under 6 and $3,000 for those between 6 and 17.
• The law allocates $20 billion for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing and distribution, $50 billion for COVID-19 testing and tracing, $350 billion to state, local, and tribal governments, and about $130 billion to help K-12 schools reopen to in-person instruction.
The package passed the U.S. House 219-212 on February 27, with two Democrats joining with all Republicans to vote against it. On March 6, the Senate voted 50-49 along party lines to pass its own version of the bill. The Senate version removed an amendment that would have increased the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 and lowered the income eligibility for relief checks.
On March 10, the House voted 220-211 to approve the changes made in the Senate and send the bill to President Biden’s (D) desk. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D), who was one of two Democrats to oppose the original House bill, voted in favor of the changes. Rep. Jared Golden (D) was the only Democrat to vote against the bill. No Republicans voted for it.