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Here’s How Much Virginia Gets from the Stimulus Bill

Tin Kaine
FILE PHOTO: In this pre-pandemic file photo, Tim Kaine speaks at a public meeting. (Photo: Craig Carper/VPM News)

Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner spoke with reporters Thursday about the ways Virginians will be impacted by the new federal stimulus bill. President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act last week, which cost a total of about $1.9 trillion.

Of that nearly $2 trillion, Virginia’s state government will receive about $4 billion, and local city and town governments will get a total of about $3 billion. That includes $113.7 million for Richmond City, just over $64 million for Henrico and about $28.5 million for Chesterfield.

On top of that, Virginia’s K-12 schools will get $2.1 billion to reopen their classrooms. Universities throughout the Commonwealth will get $846 million to give students financial aid awards to address hardships caused by COVID-19. Childcare providers will also get about $1 billion in total.

“If schools aren’t open, and if childcare isn’t open, it’s hard to get businesses open,” Kaine said. The stimulus bill includes $7.25 billion for loans for Virginia businesses, and also forms a new Restaurant Revitalization Fund of $28.6 billion that will provide grants to local restaurants, bars and craft breweries.

Kaine also celebrated the bill’s increase of the child tax credit, which raises credit refunds to $3,000 for children under 17 and $3,600 for children under 6 for 2021. That’s expected to impact an estimated 1.5 million Virginia children, 249,000 of which currently live in poverty.

More than 7 million Virginians will also get direct payments of $1,400, which already started going out last weekend. Those payments will total $9.3 billion, and will be distributed among more than 3 million Virginia households.

Warner said one of his top priorities has been broadband access. He says about 700,000 Virginians lack broadband access. The stimulus bill will dedicate $17 billion to internet infrastructure nationwide, and $222 million in Virginia.

He says this is the largest federal investment the United States has ever made into internet infrastructure.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last year of COVID is that high-speed internet connectivity, broadband, is an economic necessity, not a nice-to-have,” Warner said. 

The federal stimulus bill, which was sponsored by Democrats, passed without any Republican votes last week. Republican lawmakers slammed the bill as too expensive and said it did not focus enough on direct coronavirus recovery. In a statement, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the bill served more so as a “progressive wish list.”

“With less than 10 percent of the nearly $2 trillion package dedicated to directly combatting the virus and only one percent for vaccines, this enormous package makes a mockery of the crisis our country is facing,” her statement reads.

In an email, the Republican Party of Virginia echoed these sentiments. Virginia GOP spokesman John March accused Democrats of “weaponizing” the bill: “The American people are getting stuck with the bill for all of these radical, left-wing policies that the Democrats are shoving through,” he said.

Warner argues the bill takes a holistic approach to the pandemic, tackling not only healthcare needs, but also its economic impacts.

“I absolutely believe that responding to COVID is getting our schools reopened. I absolutely believe that responding to COVID is helping out restaurants and small businesses get the economic help they need. I absolutely believe that extending unemployment for those who lost their jobs due to COVID is related to the virus,” he said.

Warner added that he does not believe the stimulus bill goes far enough in addressing long-term retraining programs for people who lost their jobs to automation, telehealth and other new technologies that gained more use during the pandemic.