The Senate passed the American Rescue Plan Act on Saturday after over 24 hours of debate on amendments to the bill. The Senate version includes some changes to the House bill, including a decrease in unemployment insurance benefits. The House is expected to vote on the bill on Tuesday.
The Senate voted 50-49 along party lines to approve the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act Saturday morning. The amendment process took over 24 hours due to disagreements within the Democratic caucus on unemployment insurance. Ultimately, 35 amendments were brought up during the “vote-a-rama” and six were adopted. In a statement following the Senate vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said the House will vote on the newly amended legislation Tuesday.
For more information on the bill, check out these links:
The Senate version of the bill differs from the House bill in several ways. The Senate bill:
Does not include the increase in the federal minimum wage after Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that it violated the Byrd rule for the budget reconciliation process.
Decreases the weekly pandemic unemployment benefit from $400 to $300 a week, but it will be extended to Sept. 6 rather than Aug. 29. It would also make the first $10,200 of benefits tax-free for households with annual incomes less than $150,000.
Lowers the income phaseout of the $1,400 direct payments for individuals from $100,000 to $80,000 and for joint filers from $200,000 to $160,000.
Provides an additional $510 million for FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program and $750 million to the Economic Development Administration for communities impacted by job and revenue loss in the tourism, travel, and outdoor recreation sectors.
Provides $1.25 billion for evidence-based summer enrichment, $1.25 billion for after school programs, and $3 billion for education technology.
Makes COVID-19 student loan relief tax-free.
Adopts an amendment to add a six-month delay to a provision that would end the Department of Education’s (DOE) “90-10” rule, which requires for-profit colleges get at least 10% fo their revenues from sources outside of DOE student aid programs but is controversial because funding for veterans under the GI bill and Pentagon tuition assistance programs are not counted to the DOE revenue cap. The now-delayed provision will instead count the GI bill funds as part of the federal revenue for for-profit schools.
Adopts an amendment to reallocate less than 1% of the elementary and secondary school emergency relief fund to programs for homeless children.
Increases funding for restaurants and bars by $3.6 billion to a total of $28.6 billion.
Removes two House provisions that would have funded an expansion of the Bay Areas subway system in California and a bridge between upstate New York and Canada.
Subsidize 100% of premiums under COBRA through the end of September, whereas the House bill covered 85%.
Other provisions that have stayed the same between the two chambers are:
Extends the 15% increase in food stamp benefits through September, instead of allowing it to expire at the end of June.
Includes $880 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
Provides $19.1 billion to state and local governments to help low-income households cover back rent and utility bills.
Expands the child tax credit to $3,600 for children under 6 and $3,000 for children under age 18 and makes the credits advanceable and refundable.
Provides $170 billion for K-12 schools and higher education.
Provides $39 billion to child care providers.
Increases federal premium subsidies for Affordable Care Act and eliminates the maximum income cap for two years.
Provides $15 billion to the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan program.
Provides an additional $7 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Provides $350 billion to state and local governments, as well as tribes and territories.
Provides $14 billion to research, develop, distribute, administer and strengthen confidence in vaccines.
Provides $46 billion towards testing, contact tracing and mitigation, including investing in laboratory capacity, community-based testing sites and mobile testing units, particularly in medically underserved areas.
Allocates $7.6 billion to hire 100,000 public health workers to support coronavirus response.