Stimulus update: Senate vote nears, here’s what you can expect

As U.S. Senators debate the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, heading toward a vote late Friday or on Saturday, here is a look at what the bill has in it and how much money could be coming your way.

Stimulus check: $1,400

If you make less than $75,000 or your family makes less than $150,000, you will receive a $1,400 check, and so will your spouse and each dependent child.

In other words, a family of four could get $5,600.

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If, as an individual, you make up to $80,000 or your family makes up to $160,000, you will also be getting a check, though it will be lower than $1,400.

The money will be paid on a sliding salary scale, with a salary limit of $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for couples.

Unemployment: $400 per week through the end of August

Federal unemployment benefits would get a boost to $400 a week through Aug. 29. Currently, those out of work are eligible to get $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits.

The $400 would be in addition to what a state would pay in unemployment.

If the bill is delayed or does not pass, the current federal unemployment aid will end on March 14.

Child tax credit: $3,000 or $3,600

For qualifying parents, the bill includes a child tax credit of $3,600 for each child under 6, and $3,000 for each child under age 18. The new credit would become fully refundable, meaning the amount could come as a lump sum once a year. There is also expected to be an option that would allow households to receive monthly payments instead of the lump sum.

Food assistance: 15% increase

The bill allows for an increase of 15% in food stamps through September.

Health insurance: 1.5% of your income

The bill includes a health care insurance plan that would have enrollees paying no more than 8.5% of their income toward premiums. Currently, most are paying nearly 10% of their income.

A part of the bill cuts out premiums for lower-income enrollees. If you are getting unemployment benefits, you could sign up for the insurance with no premiums due in 2021.

The Senate bill also includes a plan to excuse any payment for COBRA insurance benefits though the end of September, if you have been laid off from your job and want to continue insurance coverage.

Rent/mortgages: Varies — money for rent, mortgage and utilities

The bill contains around $20 billion that will be funneled to state and local governments to help lower-income households get rent assistance, pay utility bills or pay back rent.

Homeless help: Varies

The bill includes $5 billion to help those at risk of losing their homes. An additional $5 billion will be used for emergency housing vouchers for those who are already homeless.

Business owners: Varies

The bill includes $15 billion for emergency loans to businesses, and $25 billion directed at bars and restaurants alone.

The bar and restaurant program is a grant program. The money can be used for a wide variety of needs. There is a $10 million cap on those grants.

The Paycheck Protection Program receives more money under the bill. The program is accepting applications or loans now.

Federal minimum wage: none

The federal minimum wage provision was taken out of the bill by the Senate parliamentarian, because it did not fit the parameters of the bill through the reconciliation process used to pass it.

Under reconciliation, it takes only 50 votes to pass a certain piece of legislation that would normally take 60 votes to pass, but the bill can only contain items directly related to the main purpose of the bill.


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