Congressional summary of the $1.9 trillion “Covid” law plus cost breakdown

Adjusted for today’s dollars the Second World War cost $4.1 trillion.  On March 11, 2021 the United States committed to spend nearly half of that.

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Signed into law 03/11/2021

Passed Senate 03/06/2021

Congressional Summary

This bill provides additional relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses.

Specifically, the bill provides funding for

  • agriculture and nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program);
  • schools and institutions of higher education;
  • child care and programs for older Americans and their families;
  • COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, treatment, and prevention;
  • mental health and substance-use disorder services;
  • emergency rental assistance, homeowner assistance, and other housing programs;
  • payments to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments for economic relief;
  • multiemployer pension plans;
  • small business assistance, including specific programs for restaurants and live venues;
  • programs for health care workers, transportation workers, federal employees, veterans, and other targeted populations;
  • international and humanitarian responses;
  • tribal government services;
  • scientific research and development;
  • state, territorial, and tribal capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to COVID-19; and
  • health care providers in rural areas.

The bill also includes provisions that

  • extend unemployment benefits and related services;
  • make up to $10,200 of 2020 unemployment compensation tax-free;
  • make student loan forgiveness tax-free through 2025;
  • provide a maximum recovery rebate of $1,400 per eligible individual;
  • expand and otherwise modify certain tax credits, including the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit;
  • provide premium assistance for certain health insurance coverage; and
  • require coverage, without cost-sharing, of COVID-19 vaccines and treatment under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).


Official Congressional summary of the $1.9 trillion "Covid" bill plus cost breakdownMarch 11, 2021


Deficit Impact approximately $1.9 trillion

A breakdown of the deficit impact of the law compiled by the Committee For a Responsible Budget.  A few provisions were tweaked prior to passage such as the elimination of the $15 minimum wage by the Senate Parliamentarian.

Policy Deficit impact, 2021-2031
Ways & Means $923 billion
Provide $1,400-per-person stimulus checks $422 billion
Extend unemployment programs through August 29 with a $400/week supplement $246 billion
Expand Child Tax Credit, Child Care Tax Credit, and Earned Income Tax Credit mostly for one year $143 billion
Provide grants to multi-employer pension plans and change single-employer pension funding rules $58 billion
Temporarily expand ACA subsidies for two years and subsidize 2020 and 2021 coverage $45 billion
Extend paid sick leave and employee retention credit $14 billion
Subsidize COBRA coverage for laid-off workers* $8 billion
Repeal rule allowing multinational corporations to calculate their interest expenses including foreign subsidiaries -$22 billion
Other policies $9 billion
Oversight & Reform $350 billion
Provide money to state governments $195 billion
Provide money to local governments, territories, and tribes $155 billion
Create paid COVID leave for federal workers and other policies $0.4 billion
Education & Labor $290 billion
Provide funding for K-12 education $129 billion
Provide funding for colleges and universities $40 billion
Increase the federal minimum wage to $15/hour by 2025 $54 billion
Provide support for child care, grants to child care providers, and Head Start $40 billion
Subsidize COBRA coverage for laid-off workers* $10 billion
Extend nutrition assistance in place of school lunch for the duration of the emergency and other food assistance $7 billion
Human services, labor programs, and other policies* $11 billion
Energy & Commerce $122 billion
Increase funding for testing and contract tracing $50 billion
Increase public health workforce and investments $19 billion
Fund vaccine distribution, confidence, and supply chains $16 billion
Increase Medicaid payments to states that newly expand Medicaid under the ACA $16 billion
Allow states to expand Medicaid coverage for prisoners close to release and for pregnant and postpartum women for 5 years $9 billion
Remove the cap limiting how much drug manufacturers must rebate to Medicaid for drugs that have increased quickly in price -$18 billion
Other policies* $31 billion
Transportation & Infrastructure $90 billion
Increase funding for the Disaster Relief Fund and cover funeral expenses related to COVID $47 billion
Provide grants to transit agencies $28 billion
Provide grants to airports and aviation manufacturers $11 billion
Provide grants to communities under economic stress $3 billion
Grants to Amtrak and other transportation-related spending $2 billion
Financial Services $71 billion
Provide emergency rental assistance and assist homeless $30 billion
Provide grants to airlines and contractors to freeze airline layoffs through September $12 billion
Use Defense Production Act to buy and distribute medical supplies $10 billion
Provide mortgage payment assistance $10 billion
Reauthorize and fund the State Small Business Credit Initiative $9 billion
Small Business $50 billion
Provide grants to restaurants and bars that lost revenue due to the pandemic $25 billion
Provide additional EIDL Advance grants of up to $10,000 per business $15 billion
Allow more PPP loans and expand eligibility to certain non-profit and digital media companies $7 billion
Other policies $3 billion
Veterans’ Affairs $17 billion
Provide funding for health care services, facilities, and copays for veterans $16 billion
Fund job training assistance programs for veterans and other VA administrative costs $1 billion
Agriculture $16 billion
Increase nutrition assistance $6 billion
Pay off loans and other programs for socially disadvantaged farmers $5 billion
Purchase and distribute food to needy individuals $4 billion
Testing and monitoring for COVID in rural communities and among animal populations $1 billion
Foreign Affairs (no legislation reported yet) $10 billion
Natural Resources (no legislation reported yet) $1 billion
Science, Space, & Technology (no legislation reported yet) $1 billion
Total* $1.927 trillion

Source: CRFB calculations from Congressional Budget Office and House Budget Committee documents

This table shows the deficit impact of various provisions, which may differ slightly from the total amount of aid offered. For instance, $50 billion is allocated to the Disaster Relief Fund, but CBO estimates that only $47 billion will ultimately be spent, based on past precedent. As another example, there are $15 billion in loans and grants given to airlines, but the previous version of this bill has led CBO to conclude that $3 billion will ultimately be repaid or given to the government as stock as a condition of accepting the support.

*The total removes $14 billion from COBRA subsidies and funding for LIHEAP that are shared between two committees and would be double-counted if summing each committee’s total.

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* This article was originally published here

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