Local politicians react to House passage of COVID relief bill

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- House Democrats passed a $1.9 trillion dollar coronavirus relief plan.

The massive bill will set aside $125 billion for K-12 schools and $25 billion for rental assistance while giving many families a more immediate boost.

The next round of stimulus checks of up to $1400 will go out to people making $75,000 or less, or couples who make up to $150,000. About $300 in weekly jobless benefits have also been extended to September.

Fresno Democratic Congressman Jim Costa said, "The economic impacts that we think this package will provide will really, I think, will bring us out of this recession."

The bill passed on a 220-211 vote without any GOP support.

Republican Congressman David Valadao of Hanford felt the bill should have been more focused on fighting the virus.

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Valadao said, "This piece of legislation, only 1% goes towards improving the vaccination solution. They needed to focus more on vaccination because that's how we're going to open up our economy."

About $56 billion dollars will go to vaccine distribution and testing.

A new Child Tax Credit of $3,000 or $3600 for kids under 6 years old was also in place - with part of that money being paid out in advance as monthly stipends to families.
Costa said, "It's believed that this is going to be one of the most significant developments to lift children out of poverty, as we've seen in recent history."

Democrats hoped the relief funds could also help stimulate the economy.

Fresno County was expected to get $193 million. Tulare was looking to receive $90 million, Merced County $54 million while both Kings and Madera would get $30 million.

But Valadao believed the price tag of $1.9 trillion was too steep.

Valadao said, "We've already got a trillion dollars from previous ones that hasn't been spent yet and I think we should worry about getting those dollars out to those who need it most."

President Biden issued a statement after the vote. He said he looked forward to signing the American Rescue Plan into law Friday at the White House.
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