California’s $1.9 trillion stimulus relief package is expected to go to the House of Representatives this week for another round of congressional vote, but Bay Area local officials are anxious about their commitment to supporting the bill.
The new package, known as the American Rescue Act, was cleared in the Senate despite lacking support from Republicans. Officials expect the bill to pass through the House easily and be placed on U.S. President Joe Biden’s desk.
California Stimulus Package
The stimulus bill includes a $1,400 payment for Americans who earn less than $75,000 per year. “Democrats are still pretending like this is some down the middle proposal and lecturing us for not supporting it,” Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said.
Chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party John Dennis said the fact the bill moved forward without support from a single Republican was problematic.
“I think that’s a signal that there is something not quite right with the bill and usually means it’s destined to not work out well, Dennis said.
Senator Alex Padilla spoke about the bill earlier this week, expressing his support of revising the country’s minimum wage. However, Republicans and some Democrats eventually shot down the proposal.
Padilla said Oakland was in dire need of the American Rescue Package to support their economy, which has seen a deficit of more than $200 million last year amid the pandemic.
“The American Rescue Plan is a rescue plan for Oakland. This has been one of the most violent years in my beloved hometown that we have had in recent memory. Out of fiscal necessity, I had had to reduce public safety services,” Oakland City Mayor Libby Schaaf said.
The bill proposed a total of $350 billion to support local governments, with $42.3 billion of which going to California. It also provides $28 billion in support of restaurants and bars, $15 billion in support for small businesses, and $7 billion for paycheck protection.
“This additional grant money, additional relief for unemployed, that just gives us time for us all to recover. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is going to be an instant recovery,” Executive Director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Laurie Thomas said, KTVU reported.
However, many Republicans openly oppose the bill, arguing it is spending too much of the country’s money. “If you look at the bill, very little of it actually goes to direct stimulus to the American people. There’s all kinds of goods in there for, sorry to say, Democrat supporters,” Dennis said.
On Tuesday, the House is expected to begin discussions regarding the bill. If it passes, it will be ready for President Biden’s signature. Afterward, the distribution of the stimulus checks could begin immediately. However, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) experts expect a delay with the process due to tax returns happening at the same time.