Bay Area lawmakers on Wednesday celebrated congressional passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act coronavirus pandemic relief and recovery plan.
The bill, known as ARPA, became Congress’ top priority following the inauguration of President Joe Biden. It includes hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to state and local governments as well as funds for vaccine distribution, health care subsidies, unemployment benefits, and more.
The bill also includes stimulus checks of up to $1,400 for taxpayers and up to $3,600 in child tax credits for parents. “Today is a historic day,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to congressional Democrats. “It’s a day of accomplishment as the House Democrat passes the US Biden bailout, joining President Biden’s promise to the American people: Help is on the way.”
Following Senate approval on Saturday, the House voted 220 to 211 in a party vote, with only one dissenting Democrat, to send the bill to Biden’s office.
Biden is expected to sign the bill later this week.
The bill is the third pandemic-related relief bill Congress has passed in the past year, totaling more than $4 trillion in federal spending.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) applauded the bill’s passage, but argued it was just one of many steps toward the country’s post-pandemic recovery.
“For too long the American people have been told they must get through this crisis on their own, hospitals were running out of PPE and ventilators to treat patients, and millions of families were struggling to keep food down. on the table and a roof over their heads,” she said. .
“Today we finally adopted a relief plan commensurate with the scale of this crisis that will help save the lives and livelihoods of millions of people across our country,” she said. .
California will receive about $43 billion in funding from the bill, including $16 billion specifically for local governments.
According to U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), Sonoma County will receive approximately $96 million while Marin County and its cities will receive just over $50 million.
“The US bailout is what we need to beat Covid, reopen schools safely, provide relief and ensure a fair recovery for all,” Huffman said. “The vast majority of the American people support the President’s plan, and today House Democrats delivered on our promise to bring relief to the people.”
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo), called the bill “transformative” and said it was one of the most aggressive anti-poverty actions Congress has taken in more than a decade. 50 years.
“For the first time, we are protecting our children while fighting the crippling devastation the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked on small businesses, schools, our healthcare industry, frontline workers and American workers who are the backbone of our economy and our country. ,” she says.
“For once, we’re putting our money where our mouth is.”