Everything you need to know about the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan but were too uninterested to ask

American Rescue Plan actually
(Image credit: Screenshot/Twitter/DNC)

President Biden will sign the American Rescue Plan on Friday, after all nearly all Democrats and zero Republicans passed the $1.88 trillion COVID-19 relief and stimulus bill. Unlike the previous rounds of COVID-19 support, most of this bill — 54 percent — goes to households, most notably via $1,400 checks for most Americans.

Those direct payments will cost about $400 billion. Where will the other $1.5 trillion go? The Democrats are trying to find creative, even cinematic, ways of showing off the highlights.

See more

Here's a more sober look at what's inside the ARP:

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
  • State and local governments: $350 billion. "These funds, initially proposed to plug COVID-19-created holes in public budgets," can also be spent "on improving services such as water, sewage, and broadband," The Atlantic reports.
  • Child Tax Credit expansion: $3,000 to $3,600 per child. The IRS will send these payments out "periodically" over one year to parents earning up to $75,000, $150,000 filing jointly, and $112,000 for single heads of household.
  • Rental and housing assistance: $21.5 billion.
  • Public transportation: $30.5 billion. "COVID has really decimated transit ridership, and that has eaten a huge hole in agencies' budgets," TransitCenter's Ben Fried tells The Atlantic.
  • K-12 schools: $125 billion for reopening, plus $1.25 billion for summer enrichment, $1.25 billion billion for after-school programs, and $3 billion for education technology.
  • Colleges and universities: $39.6 billion, split roughly between emergency financial aid for students and financial support for the institutions.
  • Tax increases: $60 billion. While most of the legislation is focused on cutting taxes ($590 billion), Democrats included three arcane tax hikes on the rich and large corporations to keep the bill within the $1.9 trillion price range, Politico reports.
  • Non-chain restaurants: $28.6 billion. Debt-free grants to independent restaurants with 20 or fewer locations.
  • Farmers and food supply: $10.4 billion, including $5 billion to Black and other disadvantaged farmers.
  • Affordable Care Act expansion: $62 billion. More than half will go toward subsidizing ACA premiums, with the rest going to Medicaid enticements — including to expand maternal care — and COBRA subsidies.
  • Live music venues: $1.25 billion, added to the $15 billion already approved.
  • Rural health care: $500 million.
  • Public libraries: $200 million, distributed through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
  • Arts and cultural institutions: $270 million.

You can dig deeper into the ARP at The Washington Post, USA Today, and the Senate Democrats' summary.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.