Still Living Paycheck To Paycheck
Some top economists have called for more direct aid to Americans. More than 150 economists, including former Obama administration economist Jason Furman, signed a letter last year that argued for “recurring direct stimulus payments, lasting until the economy recovers.”
Although the economy is improving, millions of people continue to suffer from reduced income and have not been able to tap government aid programs, Nasif said. Only 4 in 10 jobless workers actually received unemployment aid, according to a from economist Eliza Forsythe.
Many people never applied for unemployment benefits because they didn’t think they were eligible, while others may have given up due to long waits and other issues.
“You’ll see reports about how the economy is starting to grow, but there are a lot of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, and for a lot of them the government relief programs haven’t been able to help,” said Greg Nasif, political director of Humanity Forward.
Support For Climate Measures
In an unusual rebuke of the Trump administrations climate policy, the deal includes new legislation to regulate hydrofluorocarbons, the powerful greenhouse gases common in air-conditioners and refrigerators.
It also allocates $35 billion to fund wind, solar and other clean energy projects.
Both measures received vocal bipartisan support, with senior senators from both parties hailing the breakthrough as overdue and key to creating jobs of the future.
The State of Vaccine Mandates in the U.S.
The inclusion of some climate legislation may be of particular interest to President-elect Joseph R. Biden, whose hopes of enacting even modest reforms on climate change hinge on the support of Republicans such as Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, who threw their support behind the new measures.
What Does The Child Tax Credit Do
Currently, American couples are able to apply for a $2,000 per child under the Child Tax Credit, a 24-year old government programme.
This law increases the tax break to $3,000 for every child age 6 to 17. Children under the age of 6 will receive a $3,600 benefit.
More than 4 million children – more than half of the total – could be lifted out of poverty, according to analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
It also extends access to lower income families, even those that pay nothing in taxes, by making the credit refundable.
The programme is temporary, and will expire after one year.
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‘treating This Like A Game’: Psaki Blasts Gop As Debt Ceiling Deadline Nears
President Donald Trump signed the massive $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and government funding bill into law Sunday night, averting a government shutdown that was set to begin on Tuesday, and extending billions of dollars in coronavirus aid to millions.
Money For Schools Childcare Testing & Vaccines
The new Republican bill includes $105 billion for schools, an additional $16 billion for coronavirus testing and contact tracing and $31 billion for vaccine development and distribution. It provides an additional $20 billion for farmers, $10 billion to forgive a United States Postal Service loan and $10 billion toward child care.
Republicans have also included some liability protections from coronavirus lawsuits in the bill, an issue Republicans have made a top priority throughout the stimulus talks.
It does not contain every idea our party likes. I am confident Democrats will feel the same. Yet Republicans believe the many serious differences between our two parties should not stand in the way of agreeing where we can agree and making law that helps our nation, said McConnell in a statement.
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How Does The Cares Act Help The Agriculture And Food Industry
The $2 trillion relief plan includes $49 billion in funds for the agriculture and food industry, a critical industry according to the Department of Homeland Security. As one of 16 critical U.S. infrastructure sectors, this recognition helps to prioritize resources and funding for the businesses and organizations that maintain core operations.
The passing of this bill also represents the largest stimulus package in modern U.S. historywhich speaks to the overwhelming effect that the coronavirus pandemic has had on resources and funding for our vital infrastructures, especially those that support our healthcare and food industries.
The $49 billion aid is planned to be dispersed into the sector through the following channels:
- Families First program that increases SNAP funding
- Small business relief in the form of backed loans
- Stimulus checks distributed to taxpayers who fall below a certain income level
- Various programs and grants within the agriculture sector allocated by the USDA
Highlights: Whats Changed In The Senates Covid Relief Bill
WASHINGTON Senate Democrats on Thursday came out with their version of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. A look at some of the major changes in the bill now being considered by the Senate versus what passed the House last week.
WHO GETS A CHECK
President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats have agreed to tighten eligibility for the $1,400 payments.
Under the House bill, the cash payment would phase out for singles with incomes between $75,000 and $100,00. But under the Senate bill, the phaseout stops at $80,000.
Under the House bill, the cash payment for married couples phased out between $150,000 and $200,000. But under the Senate bill, the phaseout stops at $160,000.
Most Americans will still be getting the full amount under either bill. The median household income was $68,703 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Roughly 8 million fewer households will get a check under the Senate bill compared with what the House passed, according to an analysis from the Tax Policy Center.
$15 MINIMUM WAGE REMOVED
The Senate bill does not include an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.
The Senate parliamentarian ruled that the minimum wage increase violated strict budget rules limiting what can be included in a package that can be passed with 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.
MONEY FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
MORE MONEY FOR HOSPITALS
The Senate bill adds $8.5 billion for rural providers for COVID-19 relief.
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Funding For Broadband Infrastructure
With millions of families forced to work and attend school remotely and make health appointments online, the legislation includes $7 billion for expanding access to high-speed internet connections.
Nearly half of that $3.2 billion will go toward helping cover the cost of monthly internet bills by providing up to $50 per month to low-income families.
The stimulus deal also sets aside $300 million for building out infrastructure in underserved rural areas that have historically suffered from slow internet speeds, as well as $1 billion in grants for tribal broadband programs.
What’s In The $900 Billion Coronavirus Relief Bill Passed By Congress
Washington Congress approved a massive $900 billion relief bill on Monday evening to provide sorely needed aid to Americans suffering amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. While the package includes provisions to extend expiring programs, it only offers temporary relief, and does not address some critical issues such as direct funding for state and local governments.
The bill, known as the Coronavirus Response And Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, passed with large bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate. Here is a rundown of some of the key provisions in the legislation, which now heads to the White House for President Trump’s signature.
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What Did Biden Say
Before signing the bill in the White House Oval Office, Mr Biden said the bill is about “rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation, working people, middle class folks, the people that built the country a fighting chance.
“That’s what the essence of it is.”
He promised that he would have “a lot more to say about that tonight and the next couple of days”.
Mr Biden will deliver his first primetime address to the American public on Thursday night.
The speech comes on the 50th day of his presidency.
It will be the third time this year that he has marked a moment in the coronavirus pandemic, which has left more than 529,000 people dead and over 29 million infected.
Previewing his remarks on Wednesday, Mr Biden said he would be laying out “the next phase,” of the US Covid-response.
“There is light at the end of this dark tunnel of the past year. But we cannot let our guard down now or assume the victory is inevitable,” he said.
“Together, we’re going get through this pandemic and usher in a healthier and more hopeful future.”
On Thursday, the White House announced that Mr Biden and Vice-president Kamala Harris will travel to Atlanta, Georgia next Friday as part of the “Help is Here tour to amplify the American Rescue Plan”.
Pandemic Aid Package Includes Some Relief From High Health Plan Premiums
“This is exactly why we pay taxes. We want the federal government to be there when we need it most,” said Mila Kofman, who runs the District of Columbia’s insurance marketplace. Kofman said the middle of a pandemic was not a time to “wait for the perfect solution.”
But the large new government commitment underscores the disparity between the high price of private health insurance and lower-cost government plans such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Acutely aware of this disparity, the crafters of the ACA laid out a second path to provide health insurance for uninsured Americans beside the marketplaces: Medicaid.
The half-century-old government safety net insures about 13 million low-income, working-age adults who gained eligibility for the program through the health law and make too little to qualify for subsidized commercial insurance.
Medicaid coverage is still costly: about $7,000 per person every year, federal data indicates.
But that’s about 18% less than what the government will pay to cover people through commercial health plans.
“We knew it would be less expensive than subsidizing people to go to private plans,” said former Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat who as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee helped write the Affordable Care Act and has long championed Medicaid.
That can have a huge impact on a patient’s finances.
Unlike Medicaid, however, her Oscar “Silver Saver” plan comes with a $6,200 deductible.
Often the price differences are dramatic.
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Moratorium On Evictions And Rent Payment Assistance
For Americans who are living in rented accommodation, the Federal moratorium on evictions, defined under the CARES Act, has been extended until January 31st, 2021.
It also offers assistance for families struggling to pay the rent and families with rent payments still due. They could be eligible to get Federal assistance for covering back rent and future rent payments. Utility bill assistance has also been included.
Whats In The $19 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill
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Testing Tracing And Vaccine Distribution
The bill includes $20 billion for procurement of vaccines, and $9 billion to the CDC and states for vaccine distribution. It also includes $22 billion sent directly to states for testing, tracing and mitigation programs.
The bill did not include direct funding for state and local governments to use as they desire, which was a priority for Democrats. However, it also left out a liability shield for businesses and institutions, which was touted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Congress is likely to pick up both of these issues again in the new year.
Senate Passes $19 Trillion Covid Aid Bill After Marathon Session
- OUT: the Houses $100,000 stimulus ceiling Senate bill eliminates the payout for single filers earning over $80,000 and couples over $160k
- IN: extension of $300 weekly boost for unemployment checks through Sept. 6, plus tax relief on those benefits
- OUT: Houses plan to increase the weekly amount to $400
- IN: $350 billion in aid to cash-strapped states and cities, plus a Senate-added $10 billion for local infrastructure projects
- OUT: no-strings rules on use of the aid can only cover expenses incurred through 2024
- IN: $75 billion for pandemic medical costs like vaccinations and testing
- IN: an added $8.5 billion for rural medical providers
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Covid Relief Bill Gives $86 Billion Bailout To Failing Union Pension Plans
- The $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill offers $86 billion in grants to failing multi-employer pension plans, to help pay benefits for union workers.
- Funding in more than 100 plans are in critical shape. A Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation program that serves as a financial backstop is also nearly insolvent.
- The American Rescue Plan passed the Senate on Saturday. The House is expected to pass it Tuesday.
The $1.9 trillion Covid relief package passed by the Senate on Saturday offers $86 billion in funding to failing pension plans.
The American Rescue Plan, which now heads to the House, would let certain pensions apply for federal grant funding, which would be used to help pay retirement benefits to workers.
The provision applies to multi-employer pensions. These plans pay benefits to union workers in industries such as construction, manufacturing, mining, retail transportation and entertainment.
There are roughly 1,400 such plans in the U.S., covering 10 million people.
Housing Amtrak And The Arts
The package includes $22 billion in rental assistance, $5 billion in homelessness aid and nearly $10 billion to help homeowners pay mortgages.
The bill allocates $1.7 billion for Amtrak, which the organization suggests it will use to bring back furloughed workers and restore long-distance train services.
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The Covid Relief Bill Expands The Affordable Care Act It Doesn’t Come Cheap
Noam N. Levey
The recently enacted $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill includes around $20 billion to make larger premium subsidies available to consumers who buy qualified Affordable Care Act plans.hide caption
The recently enacted $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill includes around $20 billion to make larger premium subsidies available to consumers who buy qualified Affordable Care Act plans.
When Democrats pushed through a two-year expansion of the Affordable Care Act in the COVID-19 relief bill this month, many people celebrated the part that will make health insurance more affordable for more Americans.
But some health care researchers consider this move a short-term fix for a long-term crisis, one that avoids confronting an uncomfortable truth: The only clear path to expanding health insurance remains yet more government subsidies for commercial health plans, which are the most costly form of coverage.
The ACA’s reliance on private plans a hard-fought compromise in the 2010 health law that was designed to win over industry already costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year, as the federal government picks up a share of the insurance premiums for about 9 million Americans.
The price tag will now rise higher because of the recently enacted $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. The legislation will direct some $20 billion more to insurance companies by making larger premium subsidies available to consumers who buy qualified plans.
Experts: Covid Relief Bill Will Aid Childrens Health
March 9, 2021 — President Joe Biden’s pandemic relief bill includes an expanded child tax credit that would give most families $3,600 a year for each child under age 6 and $3,000 a year for each older child, paid monthly. Experts in social services and pediatric health say the benefit will slash the childhood poverty rate and improve children’s mental and physical health, with lifelong effects.
The bill, called the American Rescue Plan Act, passed the Senate on Saturday. The House is expected to vote on the amended bill Wednesday, with Biden’s signature expected soon after.
The plan to expand the child tax credit, which is now $2,000 for each child under age 17, is in addition to the $1,400 stimulus checks many Americans are expecting. The expanded child tax credit is in place for just 1 year under the bill’s provisions. But some policymakers are urging it to become permanent. In other countries, including Britain, similar plans have had a dramatic effect on childhood poverty, as The New York Times reports.
“The provision included in the COVID relief legislation is an important policy to address the impact of poverty on child health, especially as families continue to be affected by the pandemic,” says Lee Savio Beers, MD, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
According to the Center for American Progress, an independent policy institute, 1 in 7 children in America, or 11 million, live in poverty.
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Obamacare And Cobra Money
With surprisingly little fanfare, the legislation includes some of the biggest changes to the Affordable Care Act since President Barack Obama signed it in 2010.
The bill boosts subsidies for customers who buy insurance through the ACA, lowering premiums across the board and outright eliminating them on benchmark plans for people making under 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
For the first time, people making over 400 percent of the federal poverty level can qualify for federal help, as well, with their premiums capped at 8.5 percent of income. The new subsidies are for only two years Democrats are likely to try to extend them.
The federal government would also cover a larger share of Medicaid expenses if states that haven’t expanded the program through the ACA choose to do so now. Twelve states have opted out of Medicaid expansion. It’s unclear whether their governors and legislatures will take up the offer.
Outside of the ACA changes, people who have left jobs during the pandemic and want to maintain their existing employer insurance can get 100 percent of their premiums subsidized through COBRA, the law that allows workers to carry over their work plans.