President-elect Joe Biden announced the first part of his COVID-19 recovery plan, calling it The American Rescue Plan. The second part of his plan will be brought to a joint session in February. For now, many Americans are still waiting on their $600 checks from December and are confused about whether or not they will be receiving $2,000. Here’s a look at some of the key points of Biden’s plan:
Additional $1,400 Checks
Americans who qualify will be receiving an additional $1,400 check to supplement the previous $600 stimulus check, for a total of $2,000. Those who were previously ineligible, like adult dependents, 17-year-old children and spouses of undocumented immigrants can expect to receive a check this time around.
The third stimulus check is already ruffling some feathers: Some consider the additional $1,400 a fulfillment of Democrats’ promise of $2,000 from December. But, because Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock campaigned on the idea of $2,000 checks during the 2021 runoff election in Georgia, some, such as Cori Bush (D-MO), believe the Biden Administration should send out the full $2000.
$400 Unemployment Checks
900,556 new unemployment claims were filed during the week ending January 9, the highest number since the pandemic hit in March of 2020. In December, Congress passed $300 weekly unemployment checks to last until March 2021. Under Biden’s plans, the check amount is now $400 which is set to last until September 2021.
A $15 Minimum Wage
Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has not increased from $7.25. The American Rescue Plan includes ending the tipped minimum wage and sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities in addition to a new $15 federal minimum wage.
Help for Renters
The relief plan will add another $25 billion to the $25 billion dollars in rental assistance set aside for low- and moderate-income renters. The bill also extends the eviction moratorium, which was set to expire at the end of January until September 2021.
When the pandemic hit, 30 million people were without health insurance and an additional two to three million people lost coverage throughout last year. Biden’s plan calls for subsidizing COBRA health benefits until September and is working to reduce or eliminate health insurance premiums through the Premium Tax Credit.
The plan will also increase the child tax credit to $3,000 per child, and make the credits fully refundable. Some are saying these policies can cut child poverty by half.
100 Million Vaccine Shots
In addition to expanding access to COVID-19 testing, the Biden administration has set a goal of 100 million shots in its first 100 days in office in addition to setting aside $20 billion for a national vaccine program.
The American Rescue Plan will include aid for rent, food and nutrition, childcare, taxes, health insurance, sick leave, small businesses, and states and schools. For a more in-depth look at the stimulus package, check out this fact sheet.