Covid-19 Bill Passes Senate

The+graph+breaks+down+where+all+of+the+%241.9+trillion%2C+or+more+accurately+%241.941+trillion%2C+is+going.+The+money+for+unemployment+benefits+includes+expanding+a+child+tax+credit%2C+extension+of+unemployment+programs+till+August%2C++expansion+of+paid+sick+leave%2C+and+employee+retention+credit.+Money+for+local+and+state+governments+will+be+to+help+state+and+local+governments+recover+financially+from+losses+suffered+from+the+pandemic+and+paid+Covid+leave+for+federal+workers.+Funding+spent+on+education+and+labor+includes+funding+to+get+schools+and+universities+open+in-person+sooner+and+extension+of+nutrition+assistance.+Money+for+vaccines+and+Medicaid+will+be+spent+on+increasing+spending+for+testing+and+contract+tracing%2C++increases+investments+for+the+public+health+workforce%2C+and+increases+Medicaid+payments+to+states.+The+infrastructure+projects+are+meant+to+create+jobs+and+improve+transportation+infrastructure.+Aid+for+small+businesses+will+be+for+providing+grants+to+restaurants+and+bars+that+lost+revenue+during+the+pandemic%2C+additional+EIDL+grants%2C+and+allowing+for+more+PPP+loans.+The+spending+on+veterans+will+be+for+providing+health+care+services+and+copays+for+veterans+and+to+fund+training+assistance+programs+for+veterans.+Agricultural+funding+will+be+spent+on+increasing+nutrition+assistance%2C+testing+for+Covid+in+rural+areas%2C+and+paying+off+loans+for+socially+disadvantaged+farmers.

Graphic by Jack O'Connor

The graph breaks down where all of the $1.9 trillion, or more accurately $1.941 trillion, is going. The money for unemployment benefits includes expanding a child tax credit, extension of unemployment programs till August, expansion of paid sick leave, and employee retention credit. Money for local and state governments will be to help state and local governments recover financially from losses suffered from the pandemic and paid Covid leave for federal workers. Funding spent on education and labor includes funding to get schools and universities open in-person sooner and extension of nutrition assistance. Money for vaccines and Medicaid will be spent on increasing spending for testing and contract tracing, increases investments for the public health workforce, and increases Medicaid payments to states. The infrastructure projects are meant to create jobs and improve transportation infrastructure. Aid for small businesses will be for providing grants to restaurants and bars that lost revenue during the pandemic, additional EIDL grants, and allowing for more PPP loans. The spending on veterans will be for providing health care services and copays for veterans and to fund training assistance programs for veterans. Agricultural funding will be spent on increasing nutrition assistance, testing for Covid in rural areas, and paying off loans for socially disadvantaged farmers.

Jack O'Connor, Co Editor-in-Chief

Biden achieved his first big accomplishment with the passage of Covid Relief Bill. $1400 stimulus checks, tax credits for families and workers, and aid to small businesses are just a few of the many items in the $1.9 trillion legislation.

The $1.9 trillion price tag of this bill makes it one of the most expensive in recent American history. However that money is spread across many different areas including unemployment benefits, funding for small businesses, aids for schools and local and state governments, stimulus checks, and money for vaccine distribution.

Due to increased numbers of layoffs and record setting unemployment rates during the pandemic, Senate democrats choose to focus much of the funding on assisting the unemployed.

With $572 billion invested, unemployment benefits make up the most crucial portion of the bill. Much of this investment comes in the form of providing emergency assistance to homeless, extending unemployment programs, and the expansion of child tax credit.

The stimulus package has been given the most coverage and in total $422 billion will be spent on it. This payment is designed to incentivize people to spend more money thus improving the economy overall.

“I think the $1400 Stimulus check is going to be super helpful for a lot of people. Personally, I’m going to invest a lot of it into Bitcoin,” said junior Evan Heckler.

Much of the funding was used as aid for local and state governments as well as small businesses in order to offset losses from the pandemic.

Additional cash is given out to public schools and universities throughout the United States, so that they can return students to full in-person classes before the end of the school year.

I think it was right for the Senate to pass a COVID relief bill; however, I think they did not focus on funding areas that needed more funding. I think the Senate needs to put the needs of American residents first especially right now”

— Chacon

The segment of the bill received the most criticism, the $90 billion going towards infrastructure projects. Defenders of this segment note that aside from the improved infrastructure, it would create desperately needed jobs. Opponents say that it’s not relevant to the pain purpose of the bill and that a majority of the infrastructure projects are in large, liberal cities like San Francisco and New York City.

While ambitious, the bill faced heavy scrutiny from Republicans who believed the bill was too expensive and included unnecessary provisions all culminating in zero votes from Republicans in both the House and Senate.

I think it was right for the Senate to pass a COVID relief bill; however, I think they did not focus on funding areas that needed more funding. I think the Senate needs to put the needs of American residents first especially right now,” said president of Young Republicans, Sienna Chacon.

The proposal also faced criticism from members of Biden’s own party. Many believed that the bill should’ve included more spending on the American people and that it should’ve been more inclusive.

“It will help people afford their basic necessities, however it leaves out the demographic that needs the help the most – undocumented immigrants. Eighty percent of undocumented immigrants are working as essential workers, the country has been relying on them for this past year, yet they are being denied this basic support that they need,” said co-president of Young Democrats, Lizzie Woods.

Regardless of one’s own political beliefs, the passage of this legislation is the first triumph for the Biden presidency and if all goes well it could mark a historic turning point in the slumping economy and pandemic.