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Everything you need to know about the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan but were too uninterested to ask

Peter Weber
·3-min read

President Biden will sign the American Rescue Plan on Friday, after all nearly all Democrats and zero Republicans passed the $1.88 trillion COVID-19 relief and stimulus bill. Unlike the previous rounds of COVID-19 support, most of this bill — 54 percent — goes to households, most notably via $1,400 checks for most Americans.

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Those direct payments will cost about $400 billion. Where will the other $1.5 trillion go? The Democrats are trying to find creative, even cinematic, ways of showing off the highlights.

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Here's a more sober look at what's inside the ARP:

  • State and local governments: $350 billion. "These funds, initially proposed to plug COVID-19-created holes in public budgets," can also be spent "on improving services such as water, sewage, and broadband," The Atlantic reports.

  • Child Tax Credit expansion: $3,000 to $3,600 per child. The IRS will send these payments out "periodically" over one year to parents earning up to $75,000, $150,000 filing jointly, and $112,000 for single heads of household.

  • Rental and housing assistance: $21.5 billion.

  • Public transportation: $30.5 billion. "COVID has really decimated transit ridership, and that has eaten a huge hole in agencies' budgets," TransitCenter's Ben Fried tells The Atlantic.

  • K-12 schools: $125 billion for reopening, plus $1.25 billion for summer enrichment, $1.25 billion billion for after-school programs, and $3 billion for education technology.

  • Colleges and universities: $39.6 billion, split roughly between emergency financial aid for students and financial support for the institutions.

  • Tax increases: $60 billion. While most of the legislation is focused on cutting taxes ($590 billion), Democrats included three arcane tax hikes on the rich and large corporations to keep the bill within the $1.9 trillion price range, Politico reports.

  • Non-chain restaurants: $28.6 billion. Debt-free grants to independent restaurants with 20 or fewer locations.

  • Farmers and food supply: $10.4 billion, including $5 billion to Black and other disadvantaged farmers.

  • Affordable Care Act expansion: $62 billion. More than half will go toward subsidizing ACA premiums, with the rest going to Medicaid enticements — including to expand maternal care — and COBRA subsidies.

  • Live music venues: $1.25 billion, added to the $15 billion already approved.

  • Rural health care: $500 million.

  • Public libraries: $200 million, distributed through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

  • Arts and cultural institutions: $270 million.

You can dig deeper into the ARP at The Washington Post, USA Today, and the Senate Democrats' summary.

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