House approves COVID-19 bill, president expected to sign Friday
The latest COVID-19 relief bill officially passed Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives, and based on the time frame for the last relief package, eligible Americans could expect $1,400 stimulus checks from the IRS within two weeks.
The House approved the final version of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Wednesday afternoon. The commander-in-chief is expected to sign it Friday.
Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, voted to pass the bill Wednesday.
“This pandemic has killed over half a million Americans, driven families into poverty and crushed our economy. Overcoming these challenges requires a big, bold investment and the American Rescue Plan delivers at a scale that meets the moment,” Rep. Carbajal said. “This rescue plan mounts a national vaccination program, puts our children back in school in a safe and sustainable way, keeps small businesses open and their workers on payroll, and will lift nearly 12 million Americans out of poverty. I’m thrilled to say that more help is on the way.”
The package sends $15 million to California for students returning to the classroom; commits $20 billion to enhance vaccine distribution; bolsters the Paycheck Protection Program to help hard-hit businesses and their workers stay afloat; and delivers $259.5 million to local governments in CA-24, Rep. Carbajal’s district, to maintain essential services.
The city of Santa Barbara alone is estimated to receive just under $22.5 million, and the county will receive $86.6 million, according to Rep. Carbajal’s office, which referred to this local allocation as a “huge win” after state and local governments were left out of the last package.
The plan provides a direct payment of $1,400 to individuals earning less than $75,000; $2,800 for couples earning less than $150,000; and $1,400 per dependent for eligible families with children. The payments then phase out as income goes up.
In addition, the bill increases the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000, and makes it fully refundable for 2021. Parents can expect payments starting July 1, 2021.
The president’s plan extends unemployment benefits, including the $300 weekly federal supplemental unemployment benefit through Sept. 6, and provides $27.5 billion for emergency rental assistance, along with $10 billion for the Homeowner Assistance Fund.
“I’m thrilled that the American Rescue Plan contains a $55.5 billion investment in public health for COVID-19 response efforts. I am looking forward to seeing the flow of dollars into Santa Barbara County so that we can continue our work with partners to ensure that all members of our community will have access to testing, isolation and quarantine, case management and vaccines,” said Van Do-Reynoso, Santa Barbara County public health director.
Other cities in the county will receive the following allocations from the American Rescue Plan: Buellton will receive $960,000; Carpinteria, $2.52 million; Guadalupe, $1.46 million; Solvang, $1.1 million; Goleta, $5.62 million; Lompoc, $13.19 million; and Santa Maria, $40.61 million.