Some of you may have noted that the House gave final approval to the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021,” which Biden reportedly plans to sign on Friday.
Key elements of the stimulus bill include:
- Establishing $1,400 direct payments to individuals meeting certain income requirements.
- Extending expanded unemployment benefits (with a $300 weekly supplement through Labor Day 2021).
- Extending a 15% increase in food stamp benefits through September 2021.
- Expanding the child tax credit.
- Expanding the earned income tax credit.
- Appropriating $28.6 billion for a new grant program for restaurants and bars to meet payroll and other expenses.
- Appropriating $15 billion for Emergency Injury Disaster Loans.
- Appropriating an additional $7 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Appropriating $1.25 billion for shuttered music halls and other concert venues.
- Appropriating $350 billion to help state and local governments bridge budget shortfalls.
- Appropriating $50 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for vaccine distribution and assistance.
- Appropriating $47.8 billion on COVID-19 testing, mitigation, and transmission prevention, including diagnosis, tracing, and monitoring.
- Appropriating $10 billion under the Defense Production Act for personal protective equipment and other medical gear.
- Making 16 additional and specific appropriations, such as grants to public transit and commuter rail agencies and for airlines and airline contractors.
That’s a lot of good stuff. But it’s not going to be cheap to implement all of this.
May the cost of that come back to bite us at some point? Sure. But if we could afford $2.2 trillion in tax cuts in 2017, then we can afford this as well.
Democrats had to lose the minimum wage increase to $15 and tighten some of the other programs in response to West Virginia Senator Joe Mancin, whose vote they could not lose if they wanted to have a bare majority.
And, of course, no Republican voted for the bill.
What else is new?
But let me tell you, my friends, this is quite the accomplishment. It’s a very good start for the Biden presidency, and should be pretty popular with most of America.
Will that get more Americans to vote Democratic?
Who the fuck knows.
Who the fuck knows why Americans do what they do these days.
Onward and upward, and now to fight off voter suppression efforts by our Republican friends.