The Senate passed a budget resolution earlier this month that paves the way for the passage of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid relief package, called the American Rescue Plan, which includes $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals and $400 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits.
As proposal talks continue, policymakers from both sides of the aisle have come forward to pitch their own big ideas intended to provide relief during the pandemic and jump-start the stalled economic recovery. Some have made it into the bill, some have not.
Here are 4 proposals that appear to have made it into the bill and 2 that haven't.
This latest round of stimulus checks, which could bring the total of recent direct relief to $2,000 per household, seems assured.
Democrats had reportedly been considering lowering the eligibility of payments to individuals earning up to $50,000 instead of $75,000 and to married couples earning up to $100,000 instead of $150,000. Instead, on Monday, they released details revealing the thresholds would remain the same as they were in the 1st and 2nd rounds of checks.
Use our calculator to estimate how much you might qualify to receive.
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The bipartisan stimulus bill signed into law in December 2020 provided $300 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits through mid-March. The Biden plan's benefits would amount to $400 per week for those who qualify and would last until September 2021.
This provision appears to have remained in the bill as it has made its way through Congress. That extra $400 in weekly benefits would replace about 86% of lost wages for the average worker, according to a CNBC analysis of Labor Department data.
Biden aims to help American families during the pandemic in part by increasing the child tax credit for 1 year. The current credit provides $2,000 per year for children up to 16 years old. Biden included a measure increasing the child tax credit to $3,600 for each child under 6 and $3,000 for older children in his stimulus package.
The measure has thus far remained in the bill, and lawmakers have come forth with proposals for more long-term and sweeping changes in the future.
Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, for example, recently unveiled a plan that would provide payments of $350 per month for each child under 6 and $250 per month for children ages 6 to 18. Altogether that could add up to $4,200 per year for each young child.
Video by Jason Armesto
Biden's original stimulus proposal included raising the federal minimum wage to $15, but this provision has been far from certain.
During the budget resolution proceedings, Senator Joni Ernst, R-I.A., proposed a nonbinding amendment prohibiting the increase during the pandemic as so many small businesses are struggling financially. Even senators like Bernie Sanders of Vermont backed the amendment, saying his previous proposals to raise the federal minimum wage were meant to do so gradually by 2025.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a press briefing Thursday that the $15 minimum wage provision will be included in the aid package her chamber is preparing to send to the Senate.
"We're very proud of that," she told reporters. "As I've said, 27 million people will get a raise, 70% of them women."
Senator Cory Booker, D-N.J., recently reintroduced legislation that would give every American child a $1,000 federally issued savings account at birth, with anywhere from $0 to $2,000 added yearly, depending on their family's income, until they turn 18.
Booker had initially introduced the so-called baby bonds program several years ago as a way to narrow the racial wealth gap. Last month, he urged Biden to include it in future stimulus action.
Although the original proposal did not gain much traction, among its supporters this time around is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Still, it does not appear to be part of the American Rescue Plan.
Biden did not include debt forgiveness in the American Rescue Plan. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-M.A., put forth a resolution calling on the president to forgive $50,000 worth of student loan debt for federal student loan borrowers by executive action.
The resolution would forgive all of the debt for 80% of federal student loan borrowers. "Canceling student loan debt is the single most effective executive action that President Biden can take to kick-start this economy," said Warren.
Though the president has called forgiving up to $10,000-worth of student loan debt a priority, he has also expressed hesitation about forgiving it through executive action.
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