In the final days of 2020, President Donald Trump signed the biggest COVID-19 relief package since the CARES Act passed last spring. Incoming President Joe Biden and Congress have signaled that additional help and stimulus are needed to battle the pandemic and accompanying economic woes that unfolded in the first quarter of 2020.
President Biden has introduced a $1.9 trillion package that is designed to be the first installment of legislation to address oncoming problems caused by the pandemic. The primary goals of this plan are to speed up vaccine distribution and to provide economic relief to millions of Americans.
This will likely be another bipartisan effort. While the new legislation has not yet been drafted, it is likely to lead off with supplemental payments to most individuals to bring the total up to $2,000 from $600. This could be accomplished with additional payments of $1,400 to those receiving the $600 approved in December, or it could be more targeted depending on other criteria.
There is also an extension of unemployment benefits of $400 per week, rent relief and other small business assistance. With a 50-50 split in the U.S. Senate, ideally the next round of relief will also reflect bipartisan support. The speed, details and legislation course of the next relief package will become more clear in the coming days of the new administration.
In addition to added payments to most American families and expanded unemployment relief, the proposal hopes to speed up and revamp vaccine distribution and testing plans as well as provide funds to reopen schools, expand paid sick and family medical leave and raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
By Barlow T. Mann, J.D., General Counsel
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