President Joe Biden is expected to sign into law on Friday the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package aimed at sending relief to Americans hurting form the year-long coronavirus pandemic.
Congress has passed about $4 trillion in spending over the last year to respond to the pandemic and its economic effects. Most of the bills passed with bipartisan support, but Biden's plan passed along mostly party lines because Republicans opposed the large price tag of the package and provisions they say weren't related to COVID-19.
Here's how to visualize the enormous figures for the different bills to help with the consequences of the pandemic.
Let's start with $1 million: If we imagine a block of 10,000 $100 bills fits in a large suitcase, then 1,000 of these blocks would give us a billion dollars, the size of a small pool.
Now we can start visualizing the relief bills. The first one rolled out almost one year ago:
Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020
Became law March 6, 2020.
Provided $8.3 billion to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the United States by funding vaccine and testing development.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Became law March 18, 2020.
The $225 billion legislation provided COVID-19 testing funds, paid sick leave, and food assistance funding.
Became law March 27, 2020.
The $2.2 trillion bill included $1,200 stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits, created the Paycheck Protection Program small business forgiveness loan program, aid for state and local governments, and aid for corporations.
Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
Became law April 24, 2020
At $483 billion, the measure authorized more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and funding for COVID-19 testing.
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021
Signed into law on Dec. 28, 2020.
The $920 billion in total spending (attached to a larger government funding bill) included $600 stimulus checks, renewed the Paycheck Protection Program, provided billions for vaccines, and a renewal of a federal boost to unemployment benefits at $300 per week.
American Rescue Plan, 2021
The first relief bill from the Biden presidency includes $1.9 trillion in total spending. The package has $1,400 stimulus checks, money for schools to reopen, and billions for vaccine distribution and development.
The bill will be the second largest COVID-19 package after the CARES Act.