U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) says that “Senate Democrats delivered on our promise to act boldly and swiftly to end the pandemic” by passing an amended version of the American Rescue Plan this morning.
“Today, Senate Democrats delivered on our promise to act boldly and swiftly to end this pandemic and send relief to the families, communities and businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. The American Rescue Plan will put the United States on a path to defeat this virus once and for all and restore opportunity in our economy for hardworking families all across the nation,” he said in a statement.
“With this legislation, we have set the stage for the Biden Administration to launch an aggressive national vaccination campaign critical, not only to saving lives, but ultimately to restoring the sense of normalcy families crave in every corner of this country.”
The amended legislation, which barely passed 50-49 with no Republican support, has many similarities to the one that cleared the House last week, such as extending unemployment programs, budgeting $160 billion for a national COVID-19 testing and vaccination program, as well as allocating $350 billion to state and local governments.
According to Menendez’s office, New Jersey will receive $9.3 billion from the American Rescue Plan: $6.4 billion to the state and $2.9 billion combined to for county and local governments.
A county by county breakdown was not immediately available, but U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) said that Hudson County would get $130.4 million under the prior legislation.
The key difference is regarding stimulus checks: Americans making up to $75,000 would get a one-time $1,400 payment, while those earning up to $80,000 would get a reduced amount.
Furthermore, a household making up to $150,000 would still net $2,800 in government relief, while those earning up to $160,000 would get a smaller amount.
The thresholds in the House version were $100,000 for individual tax filers and $200,000 for joint filers.
“While I am disappointed not a single Republican colleague joined us in this effort, make no mistake, their constituents will benefit greatly from the financial relief Democrats fought for in this bill. Our legislation puts another $1,400 in the pockets of working people, keeps the unemployed afloat, makes student debt relief tax-free, delivers historic tax relief to families with children, and helps millions of people avoid eviction and foreclosure,” Menendez continued.
“ … I urge my colleagues in the House to pass the American Rescue Plan without delay. To me, this legislation is ultimately about rescuing the American way of life, so that our children can learn in classrooms instead of on computer screens, so that we can gather with loved ones without fear, so that we can join hands in prayer in our houses of worship, enjoy a night out at our favorite restaurants, and rebuild a spirit of community across our country that we have all missed out on over the last year.”