What Do You Need to Know About Biden’s COVID Package?

What Do You Need to Know About Biden's COVID Package?

Fatou Niangadou, Staff Writer

In March 2021, Joe Biden signed a new COVID relief law that aimed to improve upon Trump’s previous attempts to help people in 2020.

On Sunday, December 20th, 2020, Trump signed a $900 billion stimulus bill that included unemployment benefits and cash payments.

Lawmakers passed the bill because the  $2 trillion CARES Act passed in March 2020 was about to expire. The CARES Act included a suspension to student loan payments, $117 Billion dollars towards funding hospitals, protections against evictions, etc (CNN, 2020).

This $900 billion stimulus bill was originally supposed to be a $2.3 trillion bill, but because of Trump’s refusal to sign the bill the day before, the relief bill went from trillions to billions.

This means that unemployment compensation programs did not receive a check during the end of 2020. And because states aren’t allowed to put programs into effect until authorized, this delay caused the $300 (half the amount of benefit given in the spring) federal enhancement to last ten weeks instead of eleven, according to CNN. 

Individuals would receive stimulus payments of $600, which was half the amount given in March. On top of that, eligible family members received an additional $600 per child.

Trump recognized how insubstantial the $600 stimulus check was. He even called it a disgrace.

In an online video, Trump says: “It’s called the COVID relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID. Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests while sending the bare minimum to the American people. I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000.”

It says a lot when the president who approved and signed the bill is utterly disappointed about it. Trump actually agreed with House Democrats that the stimulus payments should have been $2000, not the mere $600.

That’s right: Nancy Pelosi and President Trump were in the same boat. The relief bill was also used to fund the military, which already gets more than $686.1 billion in funding. With such limited money, the bill should have done more for Americans struggling in the pandemic.

But on Tuesday, March 9th, 2021, the Senate passed Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan after 25 hours of deliberation.

Before signing the COVID relief package, Biden stated: “This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation, working people, middle-class folks, people who built the country, a fighting chance” (CNN, 2021).

Here’s what’s included  in Biden’s rescue plan:

Eligible Americans receive a $2000 stimulus payment. These new stimulus payments also include adult dependents who didn’t receive any payment during Trump’s relief plan. Households with undocumented immigrants are also included this time around.

The bill increases the unemployed federal enhancement from $300 to $400 weekly, with an addition to 11 more weeks of payments. Moreover, Biden bolsters the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program by providing additional benefits to self-employers, independent contractors, and gig workers with a low annual salary. 

There is a 15% increase in food stamp benefits. Biden wants to invest $3 billion to ensure that women, infants, and U.S territories have sufficient food. Furthermore, he is partnering with restaurants to give food to Americans in need.

These are only three of the various examples of how Biden’s COVID plan helps Americans. If you would like to read more, CNN shows other ways in which the relief bill supports Americans in need in this article: Here’s what’s in Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic rescue package.