COVID relief plan will help millions of NY children, lawmaker says

Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to pass President Joe Biden's nearly $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package on Wednesday. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the American Rescue Plan, as it is known, will be a game-changer for lower- and middle-class Americans.

"This is the most consequential legislation that many of us will ever be a party to," Pelosi said. "Who knows what the future may bring, but nonetheless on this day we celebrate." 

This is Biden's first legislative success as president. 

"This bill represents a historic, historic victory for the American people," Biden said. "I look forward to signing it later this week." 

$3,000 child tax credit: Here's what parents need to know

The legislation will assist most Americans, providing up to $1,400 stimulus checks to those making $80,000 a year or less. It also extends unemployment benefits through Labor Day. It gives billions of dollars for vaccines and treatments, money to schools, states, local governments, and the airline industry. Supporters say needy children will also benefit.

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Rep. Ritchie Torres, a Democrat who represents the Bronx, said the centerpiece of the legislation is the child tax credit, which could potentially cut child poverty in half.

"It would benefit 27 million more children, including 3 million more children here in New York state," Torres said. "The South Bronx, which I represent, is the poorest congressional district in America. There is no policy that would do more to lift the South Bronx out of poverty than an expansion of the child tax credit."

How the pandemic relief bill could dramatically cut child poverty

The bill passed in the House without any Republican support. Republicans called it a "liberal wish list" that sends money to projects not directly tied to the pandemic.

"Most of this bill has nothing to do with COVID itself," Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said. "It's just a big gift from the Democratic majorities in both houses."