House narrowly votes to approve COVID relief bill

House narrowly votes to approve COVID relief bill

The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package on a 220-211 vote Wednesday afternoon, with Nassau County expected to receive $397.7 million as a result.

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) gave the estimate in a statement, also estimating that the Town of Hempstead would receive $84.3 million, the Town of North Hempstead would receive $25.3 million, and the City of Glen Cove would receive $2.9 million.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said Sunday that the county needed the relief.

“The coronavirus continues to have devastating health and economic consequences,” Curran said. “Nassau County urgently needs this relief to ensure we have the resources to assist our residents and business community.”

Included in the bill,  the American Rescue Plan Act, are expansions of tax credits including up to $3,600 per child for the child tax credit, at a cost of $219 billion; per-person stimulus checks of $1,400 totaling $424 billion; a $300 increase to weekly unemployment benefits, costing $246 billion; $350 billion in aid allotted to states and local municipalities; $109 billion for farmers and small businesses; $28 billion for restaurants and live venues; $40 billion for renters and homeowners; $178 billion to help reopen schools; and $171 billion for vaccine development and distribution.

The numbers came from a statement from Suozzi, who said during debates for the bill on the House floor that he was speaking in an effort to “set the record straight.” The congressman said that some “friends across the aisle and their enablers on some cable news networks [were continuing] to promote lies” about the plan.

“Let’s pass this bill, it’s time to stop the phony-baloney talk points, and get the American people the relief they need,” Suozzi said.

The chamber first passed the relief bill on Feb. 27, but was voting again on amendments made when the Senate passed it on March 7, with all of that chamber’s Democrats supporting it and all Republicans opposing it. Among changes made by the Senate are the excising of a $15 minimum wage, lessening the addition to unemployment benefits and changes to the eligibility of those who will receive stimulus checks.

New standards for the checks cut off individuals who earn more than $80,000 a year and married couples earning more than $160,000, regardless of how many children they have. Those earning less than $75,000 a year and married couples earning less than $150,000 will receive $1,400 per person, including for each child.

According to C-SPAN commentary during the vote, President Joe Biden’s press secretary has said that he intends to sign the bill on Friday.

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