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Politics and Government

Durbin, Duckworth Tout Billions For Illinois In COVID Relief Package

Dick Durbin
Mandel Ngan
/
AP
Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth supported the relief package as it passed the Senate on Saturday. It now heads back to the House for a final vote, possibly on Tuesday.

Illinois' Democratic senators are touting billions in federal dollars that would come back to the state if the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package wins final passage.

Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth supported the relief package as it passed the Senate on Saturday. It now heads back to the House for a final vote, possibly on Tuesday.

“Relief is coming to hardworking families all across Illinois because of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan,” Duckworth said in a statement. “Working together, Sen. Durbin and I helped secure billions in investments that will boost our state’s vaccination efforts and testing availability while also delivering the support our working families, childcare programs, transportation systems, schools and small businesses need to get through this pandemic. These investments meet the moment and will help end this deadly pandemic.”

Durbin and Duckworth put out a statement Saturday outlining what Illinois will get from the package. That includes:

  • Approximately $275 million in vaccine distribution money for Illinois
  • Approximately $1.5 billion in testing and public health money for Illinois health departments
  • Hundreds of millions for Illinois community health centers and health workforce.
  • Tens of millions for Illinois hospitals
  • More than $100 million for mental health and substance abuse treatment efforts in Illinois
  • Lowers health premiums on the Affordable Care Act for the average Illinois couple by $1,300
  • Nearly 800,000 Illinoisans are claiming unemployment benefits—resulting in many also without health insurance during the pandemic. Many of these individuals and their families will now be able to stay on their employer-sponsored health plans through September, for free via COBRA.

Those who are unemployed:

  • Nearly 7.6 million Illinois adults and more than 3 million Illinois children will benefit from another round of relief checks.  This is targeted relief that will reach 85 percent of all Illinois adults and 83 percent of all Illinois children.
  • Extends federal unemployment programs through September 6, which affects 205,000 Illinoisans claiming Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and 251,000 Illinoisans claiming Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.  
  • Up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits will be exempt from federal income taxes for hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans that have claimed unemployment insurance benefits in 2020.

Schools and education:

  • Around $5 billion for Illinois K-12 schools
  • Estimated $1.3 billion for Illinois institutions of higher education
  • Estimated $39 million for Illinois Head Start programs
  • Estimated $1.3 billion to support child care providers in Illinois

Transportation:

  • Estimated $1.5 billion in transit funding for the Chicago region as part of the $30 billion for transit in the bill, which will help fund operating expenses and payroll for frontline workers of the CTA, Metra, and Pace through 2023. 
  • Estimated $388 million for Illinois airports as part of the $8 billion for airports and airport concessions in the bill.
  • Protects thousands of airline industry jobs in Illinois by providing $15 billion to extend the airline worker payroll support program for six months along with an additional $3 billion for payroll support for aviation manufacturers.
  • Protects hundreds of Amtrak jobs in Illinois by restoring furloughs and reversing service cuts as part of the $1.7 billion included in the bill for Amtrak.

Housing:

  • Illinois will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for homeowner assistance to provide homeowners with direct help with mortgage payments.
  • Illinois, the City of Chicago, and several eligible counties will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for emergency rental assistance to help renters with unpaid rent, utilities, and other housing related costs.

Agriculture:

  • Extends 15 percent SNAP benefit increase through September 30, 2021, which would help 2 million people in Illinois, and increases the WIC benefit.
  • Extends the Pandemic-EBT feeding program through next school year, to support one million children in Illinois who are not able to access consistent meals at school.
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