The House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Republican politicians all voted against the bill. However, 76% of Americans, including 60% of Republicans, like the plan. Over half the money — 54 percent — goes toward households, not corporations. There is funding for extra unemployment insurance, tax cuts, and programs to make rent, food and health insurance more affordable.
The plan contains a number of provisions related to the coronavirus. The plan includes $14 billion for speeding up vaccine distribution. Schools will open safely with $130 billion to improve ventilation, hire janitors and for personal protective equipment. The U.S. will purchase an additional 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Some provisions help strengthen the country’s frayed social safety net after a tear of COVID-19. The plan increases the annual Child Tax Credit to $3,000, a bump of $1,000, and raises it to $3,600 for parents of children under 6. With its expansion of the child tax credit, the bill is projected to reach about 27 million children and to cut child poverty in half.
The Plan provides $1,400 relief checks for citizens making less than $75,000 a year or married couples earning under $150,000. Those couples making over $160,000 will not receive any additional funds. Private health insurance will become affordable. The plan will also reduce the cost of health insurance for most Americans.
The seven-day average for new daily coronavirus cases fell below 58,000 for the first time since mid-October, after weeks of a steady decline in new infections.
The Biden administration has loosened its guidelines for nursing home visits. The advice recommends outdoor visits, but says that “responsible indoor visitation” should be allowed.