House passes $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, sending it to Biden's desk

The House passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package March 10, sending the bill to President Joe Biden's desk to sign into law.

President Biden said he plans to sign the bill at the White House March 12. 

"This legislation is about giving the backbone of this nation —  the essential workers, the working people who built this country, the people who keep this country going —  a fighting chance," President Biden said in remarks after the passage of the bill. 

Here are seven things to know about the legislation:

1. Funding for rural healthcare providers. The bill allocates $8.5 billion to rural healthcare providers that will be distributed by HHS through the Provider Relief Fund.

2. Lower ACA premiums. The bill will reduce healthcare premiums for low- and middle-income families by increasing the ACA's premium tax credits for two years. Under the bill, people with incomes over 400 percent of the federal poverty line can qualify for premium assistance for the first time.

3. COBRA subsidies. The relief package will cover 100 percent of the costs of COBRA premiums for workers who were laid off through Sept. 30, according to The New York Times.

4. Vaccine distribution and testing. The bill provides tens of billions of dollars to help vaccine distribution and administration efforts as well as increase coronavirus testing and enhance contact-tracing and genomic sequencing.

5. Local aid. The bill allocates $350 billion to state, local and tribal governments to help them offset losses attributed to the pandemic. This was left out of the aid bill signed into law by former President Donald Trump in December.  

6. School aid. The bill provides $130 billion to help schools reopen safely and $40 billion to colleges to cover the cost of pandemic-related expenses, according to The Guardian. 

7. Direct payments to Americans. The bill will provide $1,400 direct payments to individuals earning under $75,000 per year and $2,800 to married couples who make less than $150,000 annually, according to NBC.


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