Anchor Staff Writer
On Thursday, President Biden passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package called “The American Rescue Plan” into law. The bill was approved with a vote of 220 to 211 in the U.S. House of Representatives and passed with a vote of 50 to 49 in the Senate. The relief package includes $1,400 direct payments to Americans, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments and $14 billion for vaccine distribution.
The American Rescue Plan includes nearly $1.78 billion in fiscal aid for the state of Rhode Island. In addition to the fiscal aid for the state, Senator Jack Reed, who was a prominent supporter of the bill, said nearly 500,000 or over 86% of Rhode Island households will be getting a direct payment, totaling nearly $1.2 billion. Individuals who make less than $75,000 a year and couples whose combined income is less than $150,000, will be eligible as well. For the first time, parents who have dependents who are 17 or older will be eligible to receive an additional $1,400. Rhode Island will also receive about $980 million in extended unemployment benefits.
“This direct relief represents a major boost to Rhode Island’s economy. Vaccines save lives. These funds will help revitalize communities by providing a needed injection of federal relief to state and local governments that have been impacted by the pandemic,” Senator Reed said.
White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters on Thursday that Americans could start to see direct deposits as soon as the weekend.
In addition to the economic impact payments and extension for weekly unemployment benefits, cities and towns across the state will also be receiving federal aid. The breakdown for how much each of the major municipalities are getting is:
Providence ($131 million)
Pawtucket ($46 million)
Woonsocket ($33 million)
Cranston ($27 million)
Warwick ($24 million)
East Providence ($19 million)
There will also be an additional sum of $205 million that will be shared by all municipalities. Factors like population and size will determine how the money is distributed.
R.I. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representatives David Cicilline and Jim Langevin have also expressed their support for the relief package. Congressman Jim Lanegvin said, “With today’s final passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, the American people should know that help is on the way. In addition to direct payments of $1,400 for Rhode Islanders, over $2 billion is heading directly to our states and cities and towns to help them mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. Rhode Islanders have waited long enough for relief and I’m thankful my Democratic colleagues came together to deliver help during this time of great need.”