House passes Biden's amended $1.9 trillion relief package including $1,400 stimulus checks

Denitsa Tsekova
·Reporter
·4 min read

The House passed the amended version of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package on Wednesday, sending the legislation to the president's desk for his signature as the final step before becoming law.

Biden will sign the bill on Friday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The Democratic-controlled House voted 220-to-211 to pass the "American Rescue Plan." This is the second version of the legislation the House has voted on, the latest of which includes amendments made in the Senate before that chamber passed the bill on Saturday.

"This bill has bipartisan support across the country," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said from the House floor before the vote. "Not only among the general public, but in mayors and city council persons and county executives who are Republican eagerly awaiting the passage of this bill because they know at their level, what a difference it will make in the lives of their constituents."

The legislation got support from all but one Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine. No Republicans voted for the legislation, similar to what happened in the Senate. 

UNITED STATES - MARCH 09: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., right, and Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., assistant speaker, conduct a news conference on  the coronavirus relief bill, the American Rescue Plan Act, in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., right, and Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., assistant speaker, conduct a news conference on the coronavirus relief bill, the American Rescue Plan Act, in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

After the passage of the legislation, the bill should be printed on special paper, as is customary, and signed by officers from the House and the Senate before sending it to the president's desk. The printing and collation of the over 600-page bill are the time-consuming parts of the process, according to Mark Harkins, a former congressional staffer and senior fellow at Georgetown's Government Affairs Institute.

"It will be done by this week," Harkins said.

The earlier version of the bill the House approved included a minimum wage increase to $15, but that provision was stripped out of the final version that passed the chamber after the Senate parliamentarian ruled the measure can't be passed by budget reconciliation.

Read more: Here's what's in Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion 'rescue plan' that could help your wallet

The income thresholds for stimulus checks were also narrowed in the latest version, while the weekly unemployment benefits were reduced to $300 from $400. The latest legislation also includes a new tax break for jobless workers, forgiving taxes on up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits.

What's in the bill?

The legislation includes stimulus payments, the extension of key unemployment programs that are set to lapse in the spring, aid to small businesses, around $350 billion for state and local governments, an increase in tax credits for low- and middle-income families, and $160 billion for a national program on vaccination and testing.

Eligible Americans would receive a $1,400 stimulus payment — plus $1,400 for any dependent. Under the amended provision, a single filer making up to $75,000 would get the full payment, while those earning up to $80,000 would get a reduced amount. Joint filers making up to $150,000 would get the full $2,800, while those earning up to $160,000 would get a smaller amount. Previously, the phase-out thresholds were $100,000 for single filers and $200,000 for joint filers in the House version.

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The extra unemployment benefits would continue to be $300 a week and would be extended through September 6. Currently, they are set to expire on March 14. The legislation would also extend the program that provides jobless benefits to workers who typically don’t qualify for regular benefits as well as the jobless program that extends unemployment benefits for individuals who have exhausted their weeks.

The newly added tax exemption for the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits would be applicable for the 2020 tax year and would apply to households making up to $150,000.

Read more: Here's what to do if you haven't gotten your stimulus check

The plan also would improve the Child Tax Credit (CTC), making it refundable and worth up to $3,000 per child — or $3,600 for a child under 6 — for 2021. The provision also allows American families to receive periodic payments for the credit for one year beginning in July. The eligibility requirements for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would also be expanded under the proposal.

The plan would also put in place a federal moratorium on evictions and foreclosures until the end of September and would allocate billions of dollars toward food insecurity. It also includes measures on health care access and student loan breaks.

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Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova

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