Massive National COVID Relief Bill A ‘Lifeline’ for Baltimore, Mayor Says
A $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that Congress passed Wednesday contains an “unprecedented” level of funding for Baltimore and other Maryland cities and counties that have been clamoring for help after seeing revenues plunge because of the coronavirus pandemic, state lawmakers said.... The American Rescue Plan, which the House approved 220-211 Wednesday, was Democratic President Joe Biden’s first major initiative since taking office Jan. 20. Biden had vowed to “set aside the politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation.” He planned to sign the bill Friday.... The bill expands child tax and Earned Income Tax Credits, sends many Americans direct payments, extends a $300 weekly unemployment supplemental benefit and provides new support for restaurants and other small business. Rep. John Sarbanes, a Baltimore County Democrat, said the measure “will help put money in people’s pockets, keep roofs over heads, place food on kitchen tables, bring millions of children out of poverty, extend unemployment benefits to laid-off workers, support small businesses, increase access to affordable health insurance, expand child care and allow our schools to safely reopen....” Baltimore will get about $670 million in direct support, while the state will independently receive about $4 billion, according to Cardin and Van Hollen. Separately, Maryland counties will share $1.1 billion in aid, and state municipalities will split a similar sum.... The package will allow families a larger child tax credit, a change expected to lift 52,000 Maryland children out of poverty, according to estimates by the Maryland senators and their staffs.