By: Lucas Green | Contributor
President Joe Biden signed the third Covid-19 relief bill, worth $1.9 trillion, on Thursday, March 11, 2021. This stimulus package expands the number of Americans who can benefit from the bill and places more significant restrictions on the upper limits of who can receive support.
Even with the increased limits, around 90% of American households can expect to receive some sort of financial support under the bill.
The bill’s big-ticket item was a $1,400 stimulus check with a more significant expansion to who is eligible to receive the check. Cnet reported that under the new bill, adult dependents, children, and mixed citizenship families can now receive a check.
Those eligible for the full amount detailed in the check are individuals earning less than $75,000 gross income, heads of households (single-parents, for example) earning less than $112,500 gross income, and married couples earning less than $150,000 gross income. The amount paid out past those incomes begins to drastically decrease with the cap for any payments being $80,000, $120,000, and $160,000, respectively. The first $10,200 of claimed Covid-19 relief has also been made tax-free for all households.
Many House Democrats also expected an increase to the federal minimum wage to be attached to the bill along with some sort of student loan forgiveness for all Americans. Neither was on the final bill due to Senate Democrats and the Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough determining both motions did not fit on this relief bill. Both motions are expected to be brought up in a future bill. However, there was some progress made for student debt forgiveness made on this relief bill; any forthcoming student loan forgiveness between 2021 and the end of 2025 will be considered tax-free.
Approximately $119.5 billion allocated to boost vaccination efforts, supporting vaccine research, hiring additional healthcare employees, expanding vaccine distribution efforts, and tracking new virus variations. Rural hospitals are also receiving $8.5 billion to help them stay open for their communities.
The bill not only aims to help individuals but also businesses and schools. $125 billion is being sent to K-12 schools as they try to reopen safely. Along with $2.75 billion to private schools and $40 billion to colleges to help recoup lost income and continue safe, educational practices. $15 billion will help struggling small businesses as those with ten or fewer employees are given priority.
An additional $25 billion included just for bars and restaurants. Additionally, the bill offers a tax credit to any businesses that provide paid family and sick leave to their employees. This was mandatory under the previous two stimulus packages, but Biden’s package does not enforce paid leave.