The new COVID relief bill was recently signed into legislation by President Joe Biden, so the Representative decided to answer questions from concerned Americans.
United States President Joe Biden signed his own sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package into law on March 11. Democrats within both the House of Representatives and the Senate have praised the legislation for its expansion of Americans' social safety net. Nonetheless, not a single Republican within the House or Senate voted in favor of the bill. President Biden declared before signing the bill, "This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation, working people, middle class folks, people who built the country, a fighting chance." After the bill became law, Democratic House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez logged on to Instagram Live in order to demystify the contents of the bill.
It’s time to show you the money! 💸— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 12, 2021
Just did an IG live to answer your questions on the COVID package. We talked stimulus checks, child checks, UI, funeral reimbursement & more.
Some of you are going to get more money than you think!
See it here:https://t.co/WRK4Y1NYQX pic.twitter.com/hPOqJs52GC
Among other concerns, she fielded questions about stimulus checks, child checks, Unemployment Insurance (UI), and funeral reimbursement. "In our last relief bill, the CARES Act, last year, you know, in the legislation that had the first round of checks, there was a lot of corporate giveaways and just like massive corrupt stuff, because frankly, we had to deal with the Trump administration," the Representative stated as she began the Instagram Live. "I can say that, with confidence, that this $1.9 trillion does not have anywhere near that same scope of giveaways and nasty stuff, and so that means that more of this money is going to help you."
In addition to aid for businesses and local governments, most American citizens will be eligible for $1,400 stimulus checks under the new relief bill. Unlike the previous two stimulus rollouts, dependents are now eligible for stimulus checks. Dependents comprise, most notably, students, disabled family members, and others who were claimed by their supporters when they filed 2020 taxes. Those who did not receive their checks although they were eligible last year will have the ability to receive these funds when filing their 2020 taxes. Ocasio-Cortez said, "When you file your 2020 taxes, you’ll have the opportunity to correct for that and they’ll just add it to your refund this year."
Nonetheless, she clarified that there is still an income limit this year, similar to last year. The Democrat explained, "If you are an adult that makes $75,000 or less as an individual, as a married couple up to $150,000." The lower threshold limit, compared to the CARES act, was a "huge point of contention" for Democrats. She added, "We put up a really big fight to prevent this but right now the Senate is 50-50 and this was a critical provision." Furthermore, the relief bill includes an additional $300 weekly in unemployment as well as a child tax credit of $3,000 to $3,600 additional aid per child. Parents will receive "recurring checks starting 90 days from now."
Students will also find some relief on their student loans through what Ocasio-Cortez termed an "Easter egg." College students will receive stimulus payments that they did not receive in 2020. However, due to a tax provision "tucked" within the bill, “if” student loans do get canceled in the future, students do not have to pay taxes on the cancellation. She encouraged college students to use this opportunity to place pressure on government officials. The Representative affirmed, "Now is the time to organize to create the political pressure because in there tucked away, is almost like... someone’s paving the path, and I can’t claim credit for that provision." Finally, she shared the following takeaways through an Instagram post:
1. FEMA will pay you back up to ~$7k for COVID funeral reimbursements
2. First $10,200 in 2020 unemployment income will NOT be federally taxed!
3. Cheaper ACA healthcare exchange premiums (free for some)
4. FREE COBRA PREMIUMS THRU SEPT!
5. Assistance for independent restaurants and bars
6. Housing assistance (rent + mortgage)
7. Easter egg on student loans... a positive sign of things to come?
8. All adults will be eligible for vaccines starting MAY 1ST! (Not part of the package but announced tonight!)