STATEN ISLAND, NY – Congress has eight days to pass a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus (COVID-19) relief package before the end of the month, as it had hoped to do.
The pressure to pass the package before the end of the month is due to the content of the relief bill: extended unemployment benefits, which currently expire on March 14; stimulus checks for eligible Americans; public and local aid and money for immunization efforts.
The $ 1.9 trillion relief bill, the first under the Biden administration and the third since the start of the pandemic, would send $ 1,400 to eligible Americans.
The current plan would send $ 1,400 to those earning up to $ 75,000 and $ 2,800 to married filers earning up to $ 150,000, in addition to $ 1,400 for each eligible dependent.
The legislation would allocate $ 20 billion for a national immunization program, $ 350 billion for state and local aid, $ 170 billion for plans to reopen schools and increase the child tax credit to $ 3,600.
The legislation would also raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour by 2025 – a point of opposition from many Republicans and a handful of Democratic lawmakers.
Representative Nicole Malliotakis tweeted on Saturday that the $ 20 billion identified for vaccine development, at just 1% of the total, “shows how massive (and needlessly inflated) this spending bill is.”
If a single Democrat voted against the back-up plan, it would prevent him from passing through a Senate split 50-50 per party. If the Senate approved a separate law, the House would have to meet again and would likely not pass anything until the end of the month.
Stimulus checks cannot be sent until the relief package has passed. Once passed, the checks could be sent within a week.
PREVIOUS STIMULUS PAYMENTS
The first round of stimulus under President Donald Trump sent checks in the amount of $ 1,200 to individuals who have filed an income tax return with an adjusted gross income of up to $ 75,000. Payments have been reduced for singles earning up to $ 99,000 – they are down by $ 5 for every $ 100 of income over $ 75,000. People who earned more than $ 99,000 did not receive a check.
Married couples who filed a joint tax return in 2018 received $ 2,400, as long as the combined adjusted gross income reached $ 150,000 – those who earned up to $ 198,000 received a partial payment.
Eligible dependents aged 17 and under received $ 500.
After many negotiations, the second stimulus check sent $ 600 to all eligible Americans and dependents.
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