After weeks of debate, President Biden officially signed his historic $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. The massive financial relief package is the first major piece of legislation that President Biden signed into law. As the pandemic still rages on across the country and globe, the bill was designed to be needed relief for millions of Americans.
Notable is that the bill will allow eligible Americans to receive upwards of $1,400 in a single stimulus check. Besides the higher check per person compared to the last relief package, college students will also receive the stimulus check. College students are eligible no matter if they were filed as dependents or independents on their parents’ tax forms. The only catch is that if a student was filed as a dependent, they will not receive the stimulus directly. Instead, the money is going to the person that filed the student as their dependent. The $1,400 check will begin to phase out if the taxpayer(s) makes more than $75,000 or $150,000 jointly.
The bill will give $350 billion to the states and tribal communities to compensate for economic harm due to the pandemic. Missouri will receive a little bit over $5 billion. The hefty amount intends to give local and state governments the funding to continue to maintain basic government services.
As in past bills, the American Rescue Plan will have specific funds allocated for higher education emergency relief (HEEF). $40 billion will be dispersed to private and public colleges across the country for college students that qualify through FAFSA. College students have been hit hard by the pandemic, both financially and emotionally, and the American Rescue Plan intends to help some of the burdens.
The bill also addressed the next challenge of the pandemic: vaccinations. The American Rescue Plan allocated $20 billion towards vaccinating the country. Biden’s goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans by Friday will be met, but the path to normalcy is still a long way away. Biden said that there will be enough vaccines for every American adult in May, and the goal is to have a normal Fourth of July.
The bill was highly controversial in Washington DC. It passed the Senate, with senators voting strictly across party lines. The House had a little more bipartisan opposition, with a handful of Democrats flipping sides and voting against the majority of their party. Republicans that did not support the bill said it was wildly expensive and would only hurt our ever-growing national debt.
“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country… And giving people in this nation, working people, middle-class folks, the people who built this country, a fighting chance,” said Biden on his historic first bill.