U.S. House Passes $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill

The third COVID-19 relief bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on February 26. The $1.9 trillion package will provide federal emergency assistance to the ongoing health, economic and social crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This bill is the critically-needed next effort by Congress to deliver assistance to so many still-critical needs throughout our country,” said U.S. Congressman Ed Case.

“This measure will add billions more to assist governments, businesses, workers, communities and families across Hawaii as we continue to weather the crisis.”

With the House approving the bill, the attention are now focused on the Senate. The Senate’s approval will officially make the third COVID-19 package accessible to majority of Americans.

Lawmakers are hoping to pass the bill by March 14. Some of the highlights of the third COVID-19 relief package includes:

Stimulus checks. Qualifying individuals and families can receive $1,400 for an individual, $2,800 for joint filers and $1,400 for each qualifying dependent.

Extended Federal Unemployment Benefits. $400 per week for those who qualified for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.

$350 billion for state and local governments. Hawaii will receive an projected total of $2.69 billion to help the state respond to COVID-19 emergency needs.

Support for small businesses. The bill will fund the new programs such as the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and Community Navigator Pilot Program to help small businesses stay afloat. Moreover, $840 million will go to Paycheck Protection Program and and other initiatives.

Healthcare funding. To strengthen the efforts in fighting COVID-19, some of the funding includes $47.8 billion will go for testing and tracing activities; $8.5 billion for vaccine development and review at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;  $7.7 billion to expand the public health workforce and $6.1 billion to support manufacturing and purchasing vaccines.

School funding. To address learning loss, $128.6 billion will be allotted to states to support local educational efforts. At least 20% of the funding is expected to be used for summer learning, after-school programs or extended-day or extended-year programs.

Tourism assistance. $3 billion will go to the Economic Adjustment Assistance program with 15% of the budget dedicated to communities with job losses in the tourism industry.

“I sincerely hope the U.S. Senate now passes our measure and sends it to President Biden for signature as soon as possible and in any event by mid-March, when some of our existing emergency benefits expire,” said Case.

“In the meantime, the full resources of my office will remain focused on getting all of this assistance to where it is needed as fast and comprehensively as possible.”

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