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       CNN - Breaking News, Latest News and Videos
       CNN | 4/12/2021 | Listen
       Here's what's in the House Democrats' stimulus relief
       plan
       By Tami Luhby and Katie Lobosco, CNNUpdated: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 16:24:01
       GMTSource: CNN
       
       The House has passed the Democrats' massive coronavirus relief
       package, bringing President Joe Biden's stimulus proposal one step
       closer to reality.
       
       Most -- but not all -- of the measures in the 591-page bill adhere
       closely to what Biden outlined in his $1.9 trillion relief proposal
       last month. 
       
       The legislation could face hurdles in the Senate, where Democrats
       can't afford to lose a single member of their party thanks to the
       50-50 split in the chamber.  
       
       Time is of the essence. An estimated 11.4 million workers will lose
       their unemployment benefits between mid-March and mid-April unless
       Congress passes its next coronavirus relief package in coming weeks, a
       recent study by The Century Foundation found.
       
       Here's what's in the bill:
       
       Stimulus checks
       
       The House bill would provide direct payments worth up to $1,400 per
       person. A family of four could receive up to $5,600. 
       
       Individuals earning less than $75,000 a year and married couples
       earning less than $150,000 would be sent the full amount.
       
       But not everyone who received a previous stimulus check would be
       eligible for this round. The payments would phase out faster and
       completely cut off individuals earning more than $100,000 and families
       earning more than $200,000.
       
       The payment will be calculated based on either 2019 or 2020 income.
       Unlike the previous two rounds, adult dependents would be eligible for
       the payments. 
       
       Unemployment assistance
       
       The House bill would extend two key pandemic unemployment programs
       through August 29. It would also increase the federal weekly boost to
       $400, from the current $300, and continue it for the same time period.
       
       It would lengthen the duration of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
       program to up to 74 weeks, from 50 weeks, and the Pandemic Emergency
       Unemployment Compensation program to 48 weeks, from 24 weeks.
       
       The former provides benefits to freelancers, gig workers, independent
       contractors and certain people affected by the pandemic, while the
       latter increases the duration of payments for those in the traditional
       state unemployment system.
       
       The President's plan had called for continuing the benefits
       through the end of September.
       
       Out-of-work Americans will start running out of Pandemic Unemployment
       Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits in
       mid-March, when provisions in December's $900 billion relief
       package begin phasing out. 
       
       The $300 enhancement also ends in mid-March.
       
       Nutrition assistance
       
       The House plan would extend the 15% increase in food stamp benefits
       through September, instead of having it expire at the end of June.
       
       It also contains $880 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition
       Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC, to help
       increase participation and temporarily improve benefits, among other
       measures. Biden called for investing $3 billion in the program.
       
       And it would allow states to continue the Pandemic-EBT, which provides
       families whose children's schools are closed with funding to
       replace free- and reduced-price meals the kids would have received,
       through the summer.
       
       Housing aid
       
       The legislation would send roughly $19.1 billion to state and local
       governments to help low-income households cover back rent, rent
       assistance and utility bills. 
       
       About $10 billion would be authorized to help struggling homeowners pay
       their mortgages, utilities and property taxes. 
       
       It would provide another $5 billion to help states and localities
       assist those at risk of experiencing homelessness.
       
       Tax credits for families and workers
       
       The legislation beefs up tax credits for families and certain
       low-income workers for 2021.
       
       In an effort to combat poverty, it would expand the child tax credit to
       $3,600 for each child under 6 and $3,000 for each child under age 18.
       Currently, qualifying families can receive a credit of up to $2,000 per
       child under age 17.
       
       The credit would also become fully refundable so more low-income
       parents could take advantage of it. Plus, families could receive
       payments monthly, rather than a lump sum once a year, which would make
       it easier for them to pay the bills.
       
       The bill also enhances the earned income tax credit for workers without
       children by nearly tripling the maximum credit and extending
       eligibility to more people. The minimum age to claim the childless
       credit would be reduced to 19, from 25, and the upper age limit would
       be eliminated. 
       
       This would be the largest expansion to earned income tax credit since
       2009.
       
       Optional paid sick and family leave
       
       Unlike Biden's proposal, the House bill would not reinstate
       mandatory paid family and sick leave approved in a previous Covid
       relief package. But it does continue to provide tax credits to
       employers who voluntarily choose to offer the benefit through October
       1. 
       
       Last year, Congress guaranteed many workers two weeks pay if they
       contracted Covid or were quarantining. It also provided an additional
       10 weeks of paid family leave to those who were staying home with kids
       whose schools were closed. Those benefits expired in December. 
       
       Education and child care
       
       The bill would provide nearly $130 billion to K-12 schools to help
       students return to the classroom. Schools would be allowed to use the
       money to update their ventilation systems, reduce class sizes to help
       implement social distancing, buy personal protective equipment and hire
       support staff. It would require that schools use at least 20% of the
       money to address learning loss by providing extended days or summer
       school, for example.
       
       The money is also intended to help prevent teacher layoffs next year
       when some states may be struggling to balance their budgets. The pot of
       money will remain available through September 2023. 
       
       The Democratic bill is in line with what Biden proposed, but calls for
       more than six times the amount of funding for K-12 schools than a
       compromise plan offered by a small group of Republican senators.
       
       The House bill now includes nearly $40 billion for colleges.
       Institutions would be required to spend at least half the money to
       provide emergency financial aid grants to students.
       
       Altogether, $170 billion would be authorized for K-12 schools and
       higher education. Last year, Congress approved a total $112 billion
       between two relief packages that went to K-12 schools and colleges. 
       
       The bill would also provide $39 billion to child care providers. The
       amount a provider receives would be based on operating expenses and is
       available to pay employees and rent, help families struggling to pay
       the cost, and purchase personal protective equipment and other
       supplies. 
       
       Health insurance subsidies and Medicaid
       
       The bill would make federal premium subsidies for Affordable Care Act
       policies more generous and would eliminate the maximum income cap for
       two years. 
       
       Enrollees would pay no more than 8.5% of their income towards
       coverage, down from nearly 10% now. Also, those earning more than the
       current cap of 400% of the federal poverty level -- about $51,000 for
       an individual and $104,800 for a family of four in 2021 -- would become
       eligible for help.
       
       In addition, the legislation would bolster subsidies for lower-income
       enrollees, eliminating their premiums completely, and would do the same
       for those collecting unemployment benefits in 2021. 
       
       The bill would also provide assistance for those who want to remain on
       their employer health insurance plans through COBRA. These laid-off
       workers would pay only 15% of the premium through the end of
       September, though that can still prove costly. 
       
       Also, the legislation seeks to entice states that have yet to expand
       Medicaid to low-income adults to do so by boosting their federal
       Medicaid matching funds by 5 percentage points for two years.
       
       More money for small businesses 
       
       The bill would provide $15 billion to the Emergency Injury Disaster
       Loan program, which provides long-term, low-interest loans from the
       Small Business Administration. Severely impacted small businesses with
       fewer than 10 workers will be given priority for some of the money. 
       
       It also provides $25 billion for a new grant program specifically for
       bars and restaurants. Eligible businesses may receive up to $10 million
       and can use the money for a variety of expenses, including payroll,
       mortgage and rent, utilities and food and beverages. 
       
       The Paycheck Protection Program, which is currently taking applications
       for second-round loans, would get an additional $7 billion and the bill
       would make more non-profit organizations eligible. 
       
       Another $175 million would be used for outreach and promotion, creating
       a Community Navigator Program to help target eligible businesses. 
       
       Aid to states
       
       The House legislation would provide $350 billion to state and local
       governments, as well as tribes and territories. 
       
       States and the District of Columbia would receive $195.3 billion, while
       local governments would be sent $130.2 billion to be divided evenly
       between cities and counties. Tribes would get $20 billion and
       territories $4.5 billion.
       
       Additional assistance to states has been among the most controversial
       elements of the congressional rescue packages, with Democrats looking
       to add to the $150 billion in the March legislation and Republicans
       resisting such efforts. The December package ultimately dropped an
       initial call to include $160 billion.
       
       Vaccines and testing
       
       The House bill provides $14 billion to research, develop, distribute,
       administer and strengthen confidence in vaccines. It would also put
       $47.8 billion towards testing, contact tracing and mitigation,
       including investing in laboratory capacity, community-based testing
       sites and mobile testing units, particularly in medically underserved
       areas.
       
       It would also allocate $7.6 billion to hire 100,000 public health
       workers to support coronavirus response.
       
       The legislation also provides $50 billion to the Federal Emergency
       Management Agency, with some of the funds going toward expanding
       vaccination efforts.
       
       The President's plan called for investing $20 billion in a
       national vaccination program.
       
       Minimum wage
       
       The House legislation would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an
       hour by 2025 in stages. It would also guarantee that tipped workers,
       youth workers and workers with disabilities are paid the full federal
       minimum wage.
       
       The plan would raise the wages of 27 million workers, according to the
       Budget Committee.
       
       But the Senate parliamentarian has ruled against allowing the increase
       to be included in the Senate version of the bill under the budget rules
       Democrats plan to use, an aide familiar with the process and two
       sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell CNN. That means
       that the wage increase won't survive into the final version of the
       bill even if passed by the House. 
       
       This story has been updated with House passage of the stimulus bill. 
       
       CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the total amount
       allocated for vaccine research in the final legislation passed by the
       House. It was $47.8 billion.
       
       
       
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