Government

What is the New Coronavirus Stimulus Bill?

FIVE MINUTE READ

What you will learn in this article:

  1. What the new stimulus package is composed of, and how does it affect Americans.
  2. How the stimulus bill was passed. 
  3. The critical milestone this package reaches, paving a path for increased government spending.

1: What is the new stimulus package, and where is the money going?

With the Coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on the world for over a year now, the United States has recently signed the second-largest stimulus package in American history. At an astounding 1.9 trillion dollars, this new stimulus plan will have extensive, and much needed, effects on the country’s economic recovery post pandemic. The objective of a government issued stimulus bill is to distribute money to the people in order to save a weakening economy. By doing this, the government expands the amount of money in circulation, in hopes of increasing the amount of money citizens are able to spend. At the same time, employment rates rise. Thus, the combination of more spending and employment reinvigorates the economy. 

In this stimulus check specifically, the money goes to individuals earning less than $75,000 a year, and married couples making less than $150,000 per year. Any person who meets these qualifications, as well as their dependents, will receive a $1,400 stimulus check from the government. In addition, the government will continue the $300 weekly unemployment benefits.

Not only does the stimulus package provide money to American citizens, but it also gives funds to state governments to encourage the safe reopening of schools. Approximately $130 billion of the $1.9 trillion is issued to state and local governments for their education programs. One of the President’s goals is to reopen schools within the first 100 days of his term, and by allocating this money to education, this ensures schools will have the resources to open safely as soon as possible. The bill also provides funding for important scientific aspects like: rapid vaccine distribution, mapping the virus’ genome, improving Covid testing, and contact tracing methods. Lastly, the bill gives money to the Federal Emergency management Agency, which is “the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.” 

The Stimulus Checks were distributed to millions of Americans this past week (American Association of Retired Persons)

2: How did the bill get passed? 

The United States Senate passed the Stimulus package on Saturday March sixth. The Democratic party marched forward with their control of the Senate, narrowly getting the bill passed 50-49 (one Republican Senator was absent). In the Senate, Republicans unanimously voted against the bill, as they criticized its relevance and costliness. 

This bill, lacking bipartisan support, is a testament to the Democratic majority in the House and Senate. This bill was heavily debated in the Senate for about twenty-seven hours, where Republicans, and some moderate Democrats, tried to renegotiate the details of the bill. For example, last minute alterations had to be made on the bill for Senator Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia, who would not agree to the bill unless unemployment benefits were not increased. However, after one of the longest votes in modern senate history, the legislation passed. The bill, after being approved by the Senate, moved onto the House to be voted on because the two chambers passed different versions of the legislation. Finally, the bill landed on President Biden’s desk, which he signed on March eleventh.

Generally speaking, the stimulus package is narrower than President Biden’s initial plan: the bill does not include a federal minimum wage increase, it limited the amount of eligible people for the stimulus checks, and it failed to raise the unemployment checks to $400. But in order for the stimulus bill to have been successfully passed, compromises were critical, as every vote counts. 

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President Joe Biden signed the new stimulus bill on March 11th in the Oval Office. (Mandel Ngan/CNet)

3: The significance of the stimulus package 

The stimulus package is an enormous piece of legislation for the Biden administration to pass in just barely a couple months in office — let alone it being the first major bill introduced. This relief package set an ambitious tone for the Biden administration, which may be difficult to maintain for the next four years. Furthermore, this bill is the largest antipoverty effort in a generation, setting a new precedent for government capabilities and spending, especially in times of recession. 

Additionally, this stimulus package emphasizes the polarizing nature of Congress, and the country as a whole. The bill passed without any bipartisan support in the Senate, which would have been impossible for the Democrats until this past January. The passing of such a hefty spending bill, shows that Democrats have the means to accomplish lofty goals without having to reach hand across the aisle. 

Overall, the stimulus bill will have a profound effect on families who are struggling to make ends meet during these turbulent times, while also being a momentous piece of legislation for both the Biden administration and Congress. 

The stimulus bill was debated on for 27 hours in the Senate before narrowly being passed, marking an era of decreased bipartisanship. (Anna Moneymaker from The New York Times)

TL;DR:

  • The recent $1.9 trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Package was signed by President Biden on March 11th to revitalize the economy by giving citizens, who meet certain income parameters, $1,400 stimulus payments. 
  • The new bill also: continues giving $300 unemployment payments, increases the child tax credit, grants states money to reopen schools, and helps increase the rate of vaccine distribution.
  • The Stimulus package was a very partisan issue, and the package received no support from any Senate Republicans, despite attempts of negotiation. 
  • This piece of legislation marks an important milestone for the new administration, as well as the whole of Congress — marking one of the largest government spending efforts in the history of the country. 

Sources:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/whats-new-in-the-third-covid-19-stimulus-bill-11615285802

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/07/us/politics/whats-in-the-stimulus-bill.html

https://www.cnet.com/personal-finance/new-stimulus-bill-provides-more-than-1-check-heres-every-way-you-get-money/

https://www.federalregister.gov/agencies/federal-emergency-management-agency

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/06/us/politics/biden-stimulus-plan.html

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