House Passes American Rescue Plan; Biden to Sign Thursday

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Just days after the U.S. Senate passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the House of Representatives followed suit on Wednesday, clearing the bill to be passed into law. President Biden is expected to sign it and make it official on Thursday, The New York Times reports.

So, what can you expect from the plan?

For people, according to CBS News, it offers $1,400 direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 annually (which could arrive by the end of March), $300 per week extra in unemployment benefits (through September 6, 2021) and an expanded tax credit of up to $3,600 per child. It also made the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits non-taxable for households making under $150,000.

For businesses, the bill allocates $50 billion for small businesses, including $7 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as $15 billion for the hardest-hit small businesses, which includes those in the travel and tourism industry. (The bill also provides $25 billion for relief for small and mid-sized restaurants.) The employee retention tax credit was extended through 2021, while $160 billion is available to fight the pandemic and vaccinate individuals.

Following the passage of the bill in the Senate (which was not changed in the House), the American Society of Travel Advisors said it “welcomes the provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act that will support travel-reliant businesses and the industry as whole recover from the COVID-19 crisis, several of which we have been advocating nonstop since the beginning of the year.”

With that said, there were still misses in the bill, according to ASTA, which added that the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program must be broadened to include travel agencies. Separately, it has endorsed the bipartisan Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2021, which would provide relief and recovery measures for the travel and hospitality, entertainment, convention and trade show industries and their workers.

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