Here’s what’s in the Biden and GOP stimulus proposals
Tami Luhby and Katie Lobosco, CNN
Published at | Updated at
The President last month outlined a $1.9 trillion package that included a wide range of immediate assistance for struggling families, such as $1,400 stimulus checks and extended unemployment, nutrition and eviction aid, and longer-term changes, such as a $15 hourly minimum wage.
But the measure immediately ran into resistance from Republicans on Capitol Hill. In response, a group of 10 senators on Sunday released their own roughly $618 billion relief proposal — less than one-third the size of the President’s. They provided a chart detailing the cost of their plan on Monday morning.
The senators are scheduled to meet with Biden on Monday afternoon to discuss their plan.
Meanwhile, Democratic Senate leaders are preparing to trigger a controversial budget procedure known as reconciliation that would allow them to pass Biden’s rescue package without Republican support.
Here’s what we know so far about the differences between the two packages.
Biden: The President’s plan calls for sending another $1,400 per person to eligible recipients. This money would be in addition to the $600 payments that were approved by Congress in December — for a total of $2,000.
Individuals earning less than $75,000 a year will receive the full $600. Married couples filing jointly earning less than $150,000 are also due the full amount of $1,200.
The payments will phase out entirely at $87,000 for single filers without children and $174,000 for those married filing jointly without children, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation.
The new payments would go to adult dependents that were left out of the earlier rounds, like some children over the age of 17. It would also include households with mixed immigration status, after the first round of $1,200 checks left out the spouses of undocumented immigrants who do not have Social Security numbers.
GOP: The Republican senators want to send $1,000 checks, per adult, but target them to those with lower incomes. The amount would begin phasing out at $40,000 for individuals and $80,000 for couples filing jointly. The upper cap would be $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for couples. Dependent adults and children would receive $500.
Biden: The President would increase the federal boost the jobless receive to $400 a week, from the $300 weekly enhancement contained in Congress’ relief package from December.
He would also extend the payments, along with two key pandemic unemployment programs, through September. This applies to those in the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program who have exhausted their regular state jobless payments and in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides benefits to the self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers and certain people affected by the pandemic.
Lawmakers only provided an additional 11 weeks of support in the December package, which will last until March.
GOP: The GOP proposal would extend the $300 a week benefit through June 30. It would also provide $2 billion to states to improve their technology.
Coronavirus vaccines, testing and tracing
Biden: The President’s plan calls for investing $20 billion in a national vaccination program, including launching community vaccination centers around the country and mobile units in hard-to-reach areas. Biden would also increase federal support to vaccinate Medicaid enrollees.
The proposal would also invest $50 billion in testing, providing funds to purchase rapid tests, expand lab capacity and help schools implement regular testing to support reopening.
It would also fund the hiring of 100,000 public health workers, nearly tripling the community health workforce. It would address health disparities by expanding community health centers and health services on tribal lands. And it would provide support to long-term care facilities experiencing outbreaks and to prisons for mitigation strategies.
In total, it would provide $160 billion to fight the virus, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
GOP: The Republicans’ proposal calls for providing the same amount to battle the pandemic. It would fund a National Vaccine Program, expansion of testing, a disaster relief fund and personal protective equipment for first responders, independent physician offices and dentists.
It would also provide $15 billion to replenish the National Strategic Stockpile and inject $35 billion to the provider relief fund, which reimburses hospitals and health care providers for coronavirus-related expenses and revenue losses.
Biden: The President would extend the 15% increase in food stamp benefits through September, instead of having it expire in June. He would invest another $3 billion to help women, infants and children secure food, and give US territories $1 billion in nutrition assistance. And he would partner with restaurants to provide food to needy Americans and jobs to laid-off restaurant workers.
GOP: The senators would also extend enhanced food stamp benefits through September as well as provide $3 billion for WIC funding.
It also proposes making a $35 billion investment in some state, local, tribal and non-profit financing programs that make low-interest loans and provide venture capital to entrepreneurs.
GOP: The senators would funnel more money into Paycheck Protection Program and the Emergency Injury Disaster program, which provides long-term, low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration. Their proposal includes $5 million for audits and investigations into the Paycheck Protection Program.
Biden: The President would provide an additional $170 billion to K-12 schools, colleges and universities to help them reopen and operate safely or to facilitate remote learning. Congress approved $82 billion in aid for schools in December.
GOP: The Republicans would provide $20 billion for getting K-12 students back to school.
Biden: The President’s plan calls on Congress to create a $25 billion emergency fund and add $15 billion to an existing grant program to help child care providers, including family child care homes, to pay for rent, utilities, and payroll, and increased costs associated with the pandemic like personal protective equipment.
It also proposes expanding the child care tax credit for one year so that families will get back as much as half of their spending on child care for children under age 13.
GOP: The senators would allocate $20 billion for a child care and development block grant, which provides federal assistance to help low-income families who are working or taking classes pay for child care.
Mental health services
Biden: The President’s package calls for sending $4 billion to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Health Resources and Services Administration to expand access to treatment.
GOP: The senators would also increase funding for behavioral health services by $4 billion.
What else is in the Biden plan
Republicans have not yet released the full details of their plan, but here’s what else was in Biden’s proposal.
Rental assistance and eviction moratorium
The President would provide $25 billion in rental assistance for low- and moderate-income households who have lost jobs during the pandemic. That’s in addition to the $25 billion lawmakers provided in December.
Another $5 billion would be set aside to help struggling renters pay their utility bills. Biden is also calling for $5 billion to help states and localities assist those at risk of experiencing homelessness.
The plan would extend the federal eviction moratorium, which was to expire at the end of January, to September 30, as well as allow people with federally-guaranteed mortgages to apply for forbearance until September 30.
Biden subsequently issued an executive action extending the duration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction protection, which now lasts until March 31.
A temporary increase in tax credits
Biden wants to boost the child tax credit to $3,600 for children under age 6 and $3,000 for those between ages 6 and 17 for a year. The credit would also be made fully refundable.
And he proposes to raise the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit for a year to close to $1,500 for childless adults, increase the income limit for the credit to about $21,000 and expand the age range of eligibility to cover older workers.
Both of these are aimed at supporting low-income families, including millions of essential workers.
Health insurance premium subsidies
Biden is also calling on Congress to subsidize through September the premiums of those who lost their work-based health insurance.
He wants to increase and expand the Affordable Care Act’s premium subsidies so that enrollees don’t have to pay more than 8.5% of their income for coverage — which is also one of his campaign promises. (The law is facing a challenge from Republican-led states that is currently before the Supreme Court.)
Also, he wants Congress to provide $20 billion to meet the health care needs of veterans.
Emergency paid leave
The President’s plan would reinstate the paid sick and family leave benefits that expired at the end of December until September 30.
It would extend the benefit to workers employed at businesses with more than 500 employees and less than 50, as well as federal workers who were excluded from the original program.
Under Biden’s proposal, people who are sick or quarantining, or caring for a child whose school is closed, will receive 14 weeks of paid leave. The government will reimburse employers with fewer than 500 workers for the full cost of providing the leave.
Aid for states
Biden wants to send $350 billion to state, local and territorial governments to keep their frontline workers employed, distribute the vaccine, increase testing, reopen schools and maintain vital services.
Asked during a call with reporters whether states could use the funds to offset declines in tax revenue spurred by the pandemic, a senior Biden administration official did not clarify. The aid is intended to be flexible, an official told CNN later.
Additional assistance to states has been among the most controversial elements of the congressional rescue packages, with Democrats looking to add to the $150 billion in the March legislation and Republicans resisting such efforts. The December package ultimately dropped an initial call to include $160 billion.
Biden’s plan would also give $20 billion to the hardest-hit public transit agencies to help avert layoffs and the cutting of routes.
A $15 hourly minimum wage
Biden is calling on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and to end the tipped minimum wage and the sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities.
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