Lawmakers on Wednesday approved a massive $1.9 trillion relief bill, extending unemployment benefits through September 6, dispatching $1,400 checks for many Americans, and greenlighting $50 billion in new small-business aid.
The House passed the measure in a vote of 220 to 211, with no Republicans voting to approve. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill this Friday. The legislation was previously passed by the Senate, which over the weekend approved a more targeted version of a previously passed House measure. The bill approved today removes a phased-in boost to the federal hourly minimum wage to $15 from $7.25 by 2025. It also reduces the pool of Americans eligible for economic impact payments. The direct payments will drop to zero for individuals with annual incomes of $80,000 and married couples with annual incomes of $160,000.
“This legislation is about giving the backbone of this nation–the essential workers, the working people who built this country, the people who keep this country going–a fighting chance,” said Biden in a statement following passage of the bill in the House.
The bill contains many provisions that may have downstream benefits for small businesses. Those include:
- $48 billion for testing and contact tracing
- $7.5 billion for the distribution of vaccines
- $350 billion for state and local governments
- $160 billion for schools and universities
- There’s also a one-year expansion of the child tax credit–valued at $3,000 for children 6 to 17 years old and $3,600 for children under 6. The existing child tax credit is $2,000.
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