President Biden Signs American Rescue Act Into Law

The final American Rescue Plan Act was signed by President Biden on Thursday, March 11th. 

President Biden’s first major piece of legislation to fight COVID-19 passed the Senate with the votes split 50 to 49 and one Republican senator from Arkansas not voting. The Senate version of the bill was accepted by the House and passed without amendments 220 to 211, with one Republican member from Wisconsin not voting.  

Votes ran along party lines with Democrats voting in favor and Republicans voting against and one Democrat in the House, Rep. Jared Golden from Maine, also casting a no vote. Rep. Golden is noteworthy for being the first member of Congress in history to win a seat under a ranked choice voting system, and wining a district as a Democrat that President Trump won by 7 points in 2016. 

The primary criticism from those who opposed the bill was that it is too large, and too much of the money appropriated was allocated to priorities unrelated to fighting COVID-19. The Democratic response to this criticism was that COVID-19 has devastated the entire country and even those who are not directly affected by the disease have been impacted by the fiscal aspects of the response, including through unemployment, and depleted state and local government reserves. The hope is that the infusion of extra resources throughout the economy will provide enough of a boost to reverse the economic decline associated with COVID-19.

Some of the key items in the legislation that we previously covered include cash payouts to most Americans earning under $75,000 a year, extending unemployment benefits, increased child tax credits, and $31 billion for programs intended to help Native communities, including $20 billion that will be distributed directly to tribal governments. To get a better understanding of what the American Relief Bill includes and what it does for you, please click HERE.