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House-passes-stimulus-package (1).jpg Tim Graham / Stone
President Biden is expected to sign the bill Friday afternoon.

House passes the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan; bill now heads to President Biden’s desk

Congress just passed the COVID-19 stimulus plan, complete with $28.6 billion in relief for small restaurants and without the $15 minimum wage

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus plan on Wednesday afternoon with changes from the Senate — including $28.6 billion in relief for small restaurants and without the Democrat-backed $15 minimum wage — and the bill now heads to President Biden’s desk for signing.

The bill was passed largely along party lines in a 220-211 vote. First, “the bill text will be rechecked, printed, and signed by the appropriate leaders in the House and Senate,” 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said and then confirmed that the President plans to sign the bill on Friday afternoon.

“How do you say no to lifting 50 per cent of impoverished children in America out of poverty?” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a floor speech on Wednesday before the House voted on the bill.

According to CNN, the turnaround time between the President signing the bill into law and sending out stimulus checks and beginning to approve funds could be relatively quick, “within days

Psaki also told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the President plans to appoint someone to lead the implementation of the American Rescue Plan.

The Senate’s changes from the original House bill include decreasing the unemployment benefits, as well as extending the deadline to Sept. 6. The bill also subsidizes 100% of COBRA insurance coverage for unemployed Americans, up from 85% that the House proposed.

The American Rescue Plan also includes the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which now will provide $28.6 billion in debt-free relief for small and mid-sized restaurants and is based on the original $109 billion RESTAURANTS Act passed by the House last year.

As a reminder, the bill also includes:

  • A new $15 billion grant program for struggling small business owners, separate from the existing Paycheck Protection Program, along with a $35 billion investment in local financing programs that provide businesses with low-interest loans.
  • An extension of eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until the end of September, with $5 billion set aside to help tenants struggling to pay rent.
  • Restoration of emergency paid sick leave through the end of September
  • $350 billion in aid for state and local governments
  • $170 billion in aid for K-12 schools and higher education
  • $50 billion for Covid-19 testing
  • 15% increase in SNAP benefits through September
  • $20 billion toward a national vaccine program, in partnership with state and local governments
  • Increasing the Child Tax Credit to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for children under 6) and making it refundable for the year

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

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