After much procedural and partisan wrangling, the Senate passed a new version of the American Rescue Plan bill over the weekend. The revised bill now goes to the House for consideration and a vote on its changed form. It is expected to pass.
As was widely publicized, the Senate version of the bill dropped the proposed minimum wage hike, tweaked the eligibility for an individual stimulus check, and cut back on the proposed extension of existing unemployment benefits. Not as widely discussed are new measures from the Senate that will expand emergency aid through FEMA, expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit, infrastructure support for local governments, tax-free treatment for pandemic-related student loan relief, and other items. The Senate bill retained most of the programs initially drafted into the House bill, including school reopening aid, support for local and state governments, COVID testing and vaccination supplies and programs, and more.
Once the House votes on the amended bill, it will go to the president for signature. The bill is expected to move quickly so that funding for unemployment assistance does not expire mid-month.