“American Rescue Plan” Stimulus Package Signed into Law

In the first major win for the Biden administration, the President’s proposed stimulus package passed Congress and became law. However, the road to get there paints a messy picture for the future of Democrat unity.

Tim Micula, Staff Reporter

On March 11th, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The bill made it through months of partisan debate in both chambers of Congress to make it to the President’s desk. It includes one-time $1,400 direct payments to individuals making $75,000 or less per year and couples making less than $150,000 per year. The massive bill also includes provisions for small business loans and a $3,000 child benefit which would give millions of families money for their children. 

With a majority in both chambers of Congress, Democrats pushed the bill through to the President’s desk. In the House vote, the bill was pushed through with a vote tally of 219-212, with two Democrats breaking from their party and voting against the bill. No Republicans voted in favor of passing the bill. The Senate voted along party lines, with a 50-50 stalemate that was broken by Vice President Kamala Harris’s vote in favor. The bill marks the first big legislative win for the Biden White House. 

The economic stimulus bill was first proposed in January and had gone through various changes in order to appease both the progressive and moderate factions of the Democratic Party. A provision of the bill which would have gradually raised the federal minimum wage to $15/hour in the coming years was scrapped. The passing of the bill highlighted the growing divide within the Democratic party between progressive and moderate legislators. Biden’s newly proposed “American Jobs Plan”, which is another massive bill, totaling $2 trillion, will furthermore demonstrate this rift and is expected to take months to pass.

In the meantime, the American Rescue Act and its key elements are being put to work. It expands unemployment benefits through Labor Day, gives out the main stimulus benefit, and gives 100 million Americans emergency paid leave. It also expands the 15% increase in food stamp benefits and provides various tax credits to poorer families. Tax increases on corporations and the wealthy are also included, along with grants to small businesses. Education and housing funding as well as billions going towards COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution round out the bill.

The American Rescue Act is geared towards providing stimulus for low income and middle class Americans. Roughly 70% of the tax benefits included in the bill will benefit households which make less than 90,000 dollars a year. How effective this bill will be in rebounding the American economy is yet to be seen.