Democrats, and only Democrats, pass historic Covid-19 relief bill


Image for article titled We did it, Joe!

Picture: Olivier Contreras (Getty Images)

It’s happening, all of you Democrats in Congress, with no Republican support, passed $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief package, and President Joe Biden is expected to sign it on Friday. I am literally crying right now, thinking of all the people this ambitious law will help.

While the relief checks that many Americans will receive have received the most attention, New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz has a good summary of what is included as well as the impacts of this big injection of money into people’s pockets and into the coffers of our state and local governments, and all I can say is, give to the democrats and progressive movements that have overturned the Senate and continued to press for the relief people need—their roses when they’re due!

Let’s take a look at what the rescue package will do. Going through New York magazine:

• The average household in the bottom quintile of the US economic scale will see its annual income increase more than 20%.

• A family of four with one working parent and one unemployed person will have $12,460 more in government benefits to help them make ends meet.

• America’s poorest single mothers will receive at least $3,000 more per child in government assistance, plus $1,400 for themselves and additional funds for nutrition assistance and housing assistance.

• Child poverty in the United States will halve.

• More than one million unionized workers who were about to lose their pension will now receive 100% of their promised retirement benefits for at least the next 30 years.

• Native American communities receive $31.2 billion in aid, the largest investment the federal government has ever made in the nation’s Indigenous peoples.

• Black farmers will receive $5 billion as a reward for a century of discrimination and dispossession, a miniature reparation that will have enormous consequences for African American farmers, many of whom will escape debt and keep their land as a direct result of the legislation.

• The vast majority of Americans who earn less than $75,000 as individuals or less than $150,000 as a couple will receive a $1,400 stimulus check for themselves and another for each dependent child or adult .

• American crèches will not go bankrupt en masse, thanks to a Investing $39 billion in the nation’s healthcare infrastructure.

• Virtually every state and municipality in America will emerge from the pandemic in better financial health than before COVID, i.e. large numbers of public employee layoffs and utility cuts will be avoided.

• No one in the United States will have to devote more than 8.5% of their income towards health insurance payment for at least the next two years as ACA plans become premium-free for large numbers of low-income workers.

• Unemployed Americans will not see their federal benefits expire this weekend and will have an extra $300 to spend every week through the first week of September.

That this is a sea change from past decades in the Democratic Party leadership’s approach to welfare policy goes without saying. It doesn’t include everything progressives wanted — most notably the $15/hour federal minimum wage — but it does show that what was considered wildly optimistic even in the near past is not only possible, but doable. (And hugely popular.)

Now convince Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to kill the filibuster, so we can do even more.




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