There's a lot more to President Joe Biden's COVID-19 relief bill than funding vaccination efforts and $1,400 stimulus checks. CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger joins "CBS This Morning: Saturday" to discuss what other benefits are available to Americans.
- There is a lot more to the COVID relief bill than funding for the vaccination effort and the $1,400 stimulus checks. Here to tell us about all of this is CBS News senior business analyst Jill Schlesinger. Jill, good to see you. It's been way too long.
So in the last year now, the government has spent more than $5 trillion. What is different about this third version?
JILL SCHLESINGER: I think what's really important in this version is that it's tilted more towards the low- to middle-income earners. You know, with all of the different elements, which we will discuss today, you are going to see a reduction by one third of poverty. That's 50% for child poverty. You're going to see incomes rise for the lowest fifth of earners by 20%. Middle-income people are going to see increases by more than 5 and 1/2% after taxes, Jeff. So this is much more geared towards low- to the middle-income earners.
- You know, Jill, we're still talking about how they got those checks so fast. But more importantly, what data is the IRS basing this on?
JILL SCHLESINGER: Well, it really is dependent on when you file taxes. You know, we are in the middle of tax season, which is a little bit unnerving for some people. But if the IRS has your record from 2019, they'll base it on that. If you've already filed for 2020, they'll base it on that. If there's any change, you will be able to get it back. The IRS is going to try to automate that. But keep an eye on where's my refund, where's my check. Go to IRS.gov to figure that one out.
- Jill, what are some of the other provisions for families that they're going to see?
JILL SCHLESINGER: Well, I think in addition to those $1,400 checks, which are really important but also are going to older dependents-- a lot of people complain, my college kids don't get a check? I claim them. You'll get them for any dependent on your tax return. But we are seeing a significant increase to the child tax credit. That used to be $2,000 for low- to middle-income earners. The income range is expanded now, and the child tax credit goes from $2,000 to $3,000, $3,600 if your kids are under the age of six, so very big.
Earned income tax credit, expanded. The Affordable Care Act, premiums are coming down. We are seeing an expansion of the Cobra benefits. So if people have insurance from their employer and they want to keep that insurance, the government's going to help subsidize that this year. So a lot in this package, and a lot of this is going to take some figuring out for people as they go through the next coming months.
- And Jill, quickly, something a lot of us have been thinking about, these small independent restaurants in particular that have been hit so hard during the pandemic. There's help in here for them as well, right?
JILL SCHLESINGER: Yes, $28 billion. And this has been a real hard lobbying effort for the last year. This industry has been slammed. We are seeing leisure and hospitality has lost 2 million jobs. We have seen 110,000 restaurants closed in the United States. $240 billion just vanished. So this is very much a needed component to keeping some of the restaurants alive that really can survive.
- Money for those who need it most, and they're getting it fast. Jill, thank you for the perspective on this.