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What's in the $1.9 Trillion House COVID Relief Bill?

Feb 18, 2021 | Other Spending

The House of Representatives is currently in the process of considering the next COVID relief bill. Nine of the 12 House committees have approved legislation. Below, we summarize the major elements of the $1.9 trillion plan.

This legislation is largely similar to President Biden's "American Rescue Plan." It contains a third round of stimulus checks, extension of enhanced unemployment benefits, additional tax credits for families and workers, funding for K-12 education, and support for state and local governments. Smaller, but-significant, expenditures include funds for COVID testing and vaccines, grants to small businesses, support for child care providers, assistance for colleges, and rental and homelessness assistance.

A few differences exist: the House plan shortens the unemployment extension by one month and adds grants to multiemployer pensions. It also earmarks some of the small business aid for restaurants, provides grants to airlines and airports, and contains more targeted expansions to Medicaid, but does not contain cybersecurity funding.

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.

The summary table above shows the total deficit impact of the provisions over the 2021-2031 budget window, although the reconciliation instructions that constrain each committee's section are for a slightly different measure: on-budget deficits through 2030, which excludes any impacts in the final year and excludes impacts to Social Security. The table below shows how the committees align with their reconciliation instructions.

In total, the bills together would increase on-budget deficits through 2030 by $1.94 trillion, which is slightly higher than the total envisioned for the House and Senate bills of $1.889 trillion. The overall bill will need to be made about $50 billion less costly in order to comply with reconciliation instructions in the Senate and be eligible to pass with a simple majority.

Because the bill is being enacted through reconciliation, each committee's bill is limited to a maximum cost specified in the budget resolution enacted earlier this month. The committee instructions are somewhat larger than the total to account for overlap in jurisdictions between committees. Although a few committees would have room to add additional policies and stay within their instructions, other committees would have to reduce the size of their sections to keep the overall size of the bill to $1.889 trillion, which is the sum of the instructions given to Senate committees.

Committee Deficits in Legislation* Maximum Allowed Space Left Over
Ways & Means $930 billion $941 billion $11 billion
Oversight & Reform $350 billion $351 billion -
Education & Labor $303 billion $357 billion $54 billion
Energy & Commerce $125 billion $188 billion $63 billion
Transportation & Infrastructure $90 billion $96 billion $5 billion
Financial Services $73 billion $75 billion $2 billion
Small Business $50 billion $50 billion -
Veterans’ Affairs $17 billion $17 billion -
Agriculture $16 billion $16 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 -
Subtotal $1,954 billion $2,102 billion $137 billion
Remove Overlap -$14 billion -$213 billion  
Total $1,940 billion $1,889 billion -$51 billion

*This total differs from the above table because the deficit measure used for compliance with the reconciliation instructions ends in 2030 (one year before the end of the traditional 10-year scoring window) and excludes off-budget revenue and spending, such as Social Security.