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Friday, April 16, 2021

Coronavirus

$1.9T relief bill, with checks for college-age dependents, signed into law by Joe Biden


The House passed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill with a 220-211 vote. The bill provides $1,400 in direct payments and other benefits to those who qualify. | Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

Congress passed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill with a 220-211 vote. The bill provides $1,400 in direct payments and other benefits to those who qualify. | Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

On Wednesday, Congress gave final clearance to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, marking it as the first major legislation passed under President Joe Biden’s administration.

The final passage comes after the Senate passed the bill in a 50-49 vote on Saturday, including revisions to the original document passed by the House.

These changes include lowering unemployment benefits and reducing the number of people who will receive stimulus checks. 

With a vote of 220-211 from the House, President Biden signed the bill into effect on Thursday.

According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, some people will receive their electronic payments as early as this weekend.

The $1.9 trillion relief package provides $300 a week in unemployment benefits and increased funding to COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution, education, child care grants, rental assistance and public transit.

Additionally, the legislation will grant $1,400 in direct payments to individuals making under $75,000 and $2,800 to married couples who make less than $150,000. Although individuals making up to $80,000 and joint filers up to $160,000 will receive money, it will be a partial amount.

The $1,400 in direct payments will also apply to adult dependents, a new provision compared to the last stimulus package.

“As a college student, I feel it is beneficial for students filing as dependents,” says marketing junior Ajish Wadhwani. “To me, the stimulus means there will be an influx of capital in the market to drive GDP growth.”

However, while it seems beneficial, Wadhwani also believes continued use of government aid will result in more harm than good. 

“While many people believe this is good, and it is for the short term,” he says. “But in the long term perspective, I think it will be detrimental as the cost of living increases and wages will not.”

Wadhwani fears prolonged use will result in increased inflation and a wider wealth gap. Instead of giving money, he believes there are other ways to help people.

“Rather than putting cash in people’s pockets, I think funding should go to the systemization of healthcare,” he says. “In my opinion, this is something that would help rather than a stimulus check.”

Meanwhile, students such as strategic communications junior David Ritchey hope legislators will continue including adult dependents. 

Although he is not categorized as one, Ritchey believes the checks will help many students support themselves and their families. 

“Many students and other dependent adults are crucial to supporting their families,” he says. “Some had their only financial support for college ripped away by this pandemic and this money will help them.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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