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Utah Life Sciences News & Events

President Biden Signs $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill

March 11, 2021

Yesterday, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan (H.R. 1319), a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that Congress approved this week.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved the Senate-passed version of the bill by a vote of 220 to 211, with one Democrat joining all Republicans in voting against it. Rep. Jared Golden (D-MN), crossed party lines to join 210 Republicans in voting against the proposal, saying in a statement that he had “concerns with the overall size and scope of the bill.” The measure passed the Senate last Saturday with a 50 to 49 vote, also along party lines.

In total, $92.2 billion is allocated for various public health activities to respond to COVID-19, including:

  • $8.5 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for vaccine activities.
  • $47.8 billion for testing and tracing activities for COVID-19 and,
  • $8.5 billion for vaccine activities at the CDC, including a supplemental funding opportunity for state, locality and territory vaccine distribution grants from the December COVID relief package based on entities receiving the higher of the two distribution formulas as well as clarifies use of standards for data and data sharing.

There is $50 billion for the smallest businesses, including $7 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.

Although the initial measure passed by the House included a $15 minimum wage increase, the provision was nixed in the Senate on procedural grounds and with opposition by moderate Democrat Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Joe Manchin (WV). The wage issue, a priority for Democrat progressives, is likely to resurface in subsequent legislation.

The Senate also made changes to the House provision on federal enhanced unemployment benefits. While the House bill had provided $400 per week, the final bill reflects a Senate amendment to renew the benefit at $300 per week to supplement state unemployment payments through the first week of September.

The American Rescue Plan follows previous COVID-19 relief measures enacted last year.

View National Association of State Legislatures summary HERE.