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Illinois (US) Democrats hail $1.9tril pandemic rescue plan

written by Bella Palmer

Sen. Tammy Duckworth is happy 450,000 Illinoisans will see their unemployment benefits extended through September 6

Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Wednesday on a 220-211 vote. Many call the $1.9 trillion plan a major victory for President Joe Biden and Democrats. Under the plan, nearly 85% of adults will receive stimulus checks of $1,400.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) says working families desperately need this relief, as many have fallen behind throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She says the plan can cut the rate of childhood poverty by nearly 50%. The legislation increases the country’s child tax credit from $1,000 to $6,000.

Duckworth is also happy 450,000 Illinoisans will see their unemployment benefits extended through September 6. Unemployment checks will start to go out after President Biden approves the bill. Without the new stimulus, benefits would run out this Sunday.

And we’re just talking about $300 additionally, Duckworth said. $1,200 is what you pay just to cover your health insurance when you’re out of a job. So, this is a desperately needed safety net.

Duckworth says the measure also includes $1.3 billion for Illinois childcare providers so parents can get back to work. She emphasized that portion of the plan will help essential workers keep their children in care programs. An allotment of $6 billion is also heading to local governments to help recover from COVID-19 costs.

There’s also $275 million in the proposal to assist in distributing vaccines in Illinois. Duckworth hopes that can help lead to herd immunity with more doses available.

Still, the Democratic leader said she’s disappointed her Republican colleagues didn’t support the bill.

I don’t understand how you could vote to give over a trillion dollars to Americans who have over $5 million in income, Duckworth said. Yet, you’re not willing to send $1,400 to families that are literally drowning right now in debt and in mortgage payments and rent payments, Duckworth said.

Republican Congressman Rodney Davis says his Democratic colleagues pushed their own political priorities which were unrelated to the pandemic.

You know spending isn’t pandemic-related when Democrats tout this legislation as ‘the most progressive domestic legislation in a generation.’ The American people don’t need ‘progressive’ legislation, Davis stated. They need relief now, but that’s not what this bill does.

Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton said the plan truly provides help to people struggling throughout the pandemic.

From direct payments to extended unemployment benefits to the child tax credit, American families will have some breathing room, Stratton stated. Help is on the way for small businesses, low-income families, and housing insecure people who this pandemic has hit the hardest.

Davis is also concerned Illinois Democrats will use the $7.5 billion coming to the state to avoid tough budget decisions.

As it’s currently written, this legislation allows state lawmakers to use this federal money with few restrictions, Davis stated. Given the Democrats’ track record in Springfield, I don’t think that’s a responsible use of taxpayer dollars, particularly during a pandemic.


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