A trillion of anything is hard to fathom. It’s a million millions. Or a thousand billions.
Now double it.
This week, the House is expected to pass the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, and then President Biden will sign it into law. The legislation sends money just about everywhere — to families struggling to get by, to states and cities where tax revenue has fallen, to restaurants and to the unemployed.
The White House is calling it the most progressive bill ever passed because it will also provide money for Obamacare premiums, tax credits for parents, funds to fight hunger and to help boost schools for years.
Republicans say the bill “wasteful,” “bloated” and a “slush fund.” None are expected to support it, which would make this the only pandemic relief package to pass without bipartisan support.
Major Garrett digs into the politics and process of passing the American Rescue Plan, and tries to answer the question, $2 trillion for what?
- On the impact of the American Rescue Plan for smaller cities: “What’s great about this funding is every effort every city gets its money, regardless of how small they are, and smaller communities have a harder time with COVID because it’s not like they have a place that they can really cushion. The smaller the community, the less rainy day fund you have.” — Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio.
- On the bill being framed as a bailout versus a disaster relief bill: “Well, here, the pandemic is a natural disaster, just like a flood. Well, the thing that’s different is the flood is over in a day or two with this pandemic is continued on now for almost a year, and it’s still going, and so this isn’t a bailout. It’s a normal and usual thing after other natural disasters.” — Mayor Jeff Williams of Arlington, Texas.
- On the size and scope of the bill: “In the midst of uncertainty, there are legitimate reasons that people are saying it’s better to go to big than too small. It’s better to be safe than sorry. I think pretty much everybody somewhere deep down knows that this bill is bigger than it needs to be and certainly far less targeted than it needs to be.” — Maya MacGuineas, president of Citizens for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Here’s who’s featured in this week’s episode:
- Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton, Ohio
- Jason Furman, Harvard University professor and chair of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration
- Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste
- Jeff Williams, mayor of Arlington, Texas
- Maya MacGuineas, president of Citizens for a Responsible Federal Budget
- Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense