HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — This is the week that President Joe Biden could sign a huge COVID relief bill into law. The U.S. Senate passed the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill on Saturday. It now goes back to the House for approval. It could be passed as early as Tuesday night.
Democrats pushing the bill say it will bring much-needed relief to cities and towns hit hard by the pandemic.
Everyone has heard the American Rescue Act means every American making less than $80,000 gets a check for $1,400, but the bill that passed the Senate on Saturday also funds more vaccine and vaccine distribution. It extends unemployment benefits. It will help restaurants and schools safely reopen.
On Monday, two of the Senators who voted to approve the American Rescue Act came to New Haven City Hall and spoke out about what it means for the people of Connecticut.
The City of New Haven alone will get about $100 million. Republicans say it is a liberal wish list, Connecticut’s senators say it is just what the country needs.
“It is going to power our economy back to nearly full employment,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). “It is going to save literally thousand of businesses right here in the greater New Haven area.”
New Haven Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro released a statement saying she supports the American Rescue Act, but couldn’t join Murphy and Senator Richard Blumenthal on the steps of City Hall because she is needed in Washington to vote Tuesday.
Some Republicans argue it is too much money and it add to the national debt.
Tuesday, Connecticut’s Congressional delegation defended the rescue plan.
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (CT-04) said, “The implications of going too small is that restaurants stay closed, businesses are operating at half capacity, and Americans are unemployed. That is a major torpedo in the side of our economy…Any economist will tell you in time of crisis you don’t worry about debt and deficit.”
If the bill were to fail, the delegation believes Connecticut could be years away from recovery.
Representative Joe Courtney (CT-02-D) said Tuesday ahead of the vote, “If we do nothing versus if we pass this bill, we are talking about a recovery of jobs at a much faster pace for the U.S. economy. We are at best looking at 2025-2026 to get even remotely close to recovering these jobs if we do nothing.”
Here at News 8, we have profiled many small businesses teetering on the edge during the pandemic. Connecticut will receive $10-billion from the relief bill and many of those mom and pop shops will get some much-needed help along with citizens across the state.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03-D) added, “139,000 people currently out of work in the state of Connecticut. People are desperate, they are out of their homes, they don’t have a job through no fault of their own, they cannot put food on the table.”
The bill is being debated in the House Tuesday. As soon as it passes, it will go to President Joe Biden who says he will sign it before Sunday when some unemployment programs expire.
Those stimulus checks would then arrive sometime this month.
Some Republicans point to figures showing job growth to bolster their argument that the nearly $2-trillion plan is unnecessary.