Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

President Biden's $1.9 Trillion COVID Plan vs. the GOP $618 Billion Plan: A Comparison

Feb 10, 2021 | Other Spending

President Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” for Congress to enact this spring as a COVID relief package. Last Monday, 10 Republican senators visited the White House with a $618 billion counteroffer.

The summary table below reflects our best understanding of the two proposals. Our summary of the American Rescue Plan is based on available documents, official scores, other estimates, and our own rough estimates. It represents Biden's original proposal, which differs from the one currently being developed in the House of Representatives. Our estimates are rough and rounded. Estimates of the Republican plan is from a legislative summary.

Policy Biden Plan GOP Plan
Issue Third Round of Economic Impact Payments ~$450 billion ~$220 billion
Provide Direct State and Local Aid $350 billion -
Extend and Expand Unemployment Benefits ~$300 billion $132 billion
Provide Funding for Vaccinations, Testing, and Other COVID Containment Measures $180 billion $160 billion
Provide Aid to Schools and Transit $155 billion $20 billion
Expand Tax Credits for Low- and Middle-Income Households $130 billion -
Expand Health Insurance Coverage and Subsidies $92 billion $4 billion
Provide Additional Small Business Support $50 billion $50 billion
Extend Paid Family and Sick Leave ~$50 billion -
Increase the Minimum Wage ~$50 billion -
Increase Child Care Funding $40 billion $20 billion
Provide Funding for Higher Education $35 billion -
Increase Funding for Housing Assistance and Homelessness $35 billion -
Support the Safety Net $17 billion $12 billion
Fund Technology Improvements $10 billion -
Grand Total $1.944 trillion $618 billion

In the following tables, we break down each of the major spending categories included in the summary table above, detailing provisions in each proposal and how much those provisions would cost over a decade.

Issue Third Round of Economic Impact Payments
Biden Plan (~$450 billion) GOP Plan (~$220 billion)
  • Provide tax rebates of $1,400 per eligible adult, child, and dependent – ~$450 billion
  • Provide tax rebates of $1,000 per adult and $500 per child or dependent – ~$220 billion
Provide Direct State and Local Aid
Biden Plan ($350 billion) GOP Plan ($0)
  • Provide aid to state and local governments – $350 billion
  • No provisions
Extend and Expand Unemployment Benefits
Biden Plan (~$300 billion) GOP Plan ($132 billion)
  • Increase Unemployment Insurance (UI) supplement to $400/week and extend expanded UI provisions through September – ~$300 billion
    • Extend financial assistance for unemployed workers who do not typically qualify for UI#
    • Extend financial assistance for workers who have exhausted their regular UI benefits#
    • Fully fund states’ short-term compensation programs and additional weeks of benefits#
  • Maintain existing Unemployment Insurance supplement at $300/week through June 30 for all states – $130 billion
  • Provide funding to improve state UI hardware and software – $2 billion
Provide Funding for Vaccinations, Testing, and Other COVID Containment Measures
Biden Plan ($180 billion) GOP Plan ($160 billion)
  • Provide funding for national vaccination program – $20 billion
  • Increase funding for COVID testing – $50 billion
  • Increase funding for Disaster Relief Fund to purchase supplies and protective gear – $30 billion
  • Provide general aid to tribal governments – $20 billion*
  • Fund 100,000 new health care workers and expanded domestic manufacturing of critical supplies – ~$20 billion
  • Provide health services for underserved populations, increase outbreak analytic and surveillance capability, support development and manufacture of treatments and therapeutics, assist long-term care facilities, and provide international COVID-related assistance – $40 billion*
  • Provide funding for National Vaccine Program in partnership with states, Tribes, and territories – $20 billion
  • Increase funding for COVID testing – $50 billion
  • Increase size of Disaster Relief Fund – $30 billion
  • Increase funding for Defense Production Act Title III$5 billion
  • Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for first responders, independent physician offices, and dentists – $5 billion
  • Rebuilding and restocking the National Strategic Stockpile – $15 billion
  • Increase Provider Relief Fund, with 20% set aside for rural hospitals – $35 billion
Provide Aid to Schools and Transit
Biden Plan ($155 billion) GOP Plan ($20 billion)
  • Provide funding for school reopening – $130 billion
  • Provide additional funding for mass transit – $20 billion
  • Create Hardest Hit Education Fund for significantly affected education systems – $5 billion
  • Establish Getting Children Back to School Initiative – $20 billion
Expand Tax Credits for Low- and Middle-Income Households
Biden Plan ($130 billion) GOP Plan ($0)
  • Expand Child Tax Credit (CTC) from $2,000 to $3,000 ($3,600 for children under age 6) and make it fully refundable for one year – ~$110 billion
  • Roughly triple Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless workers and allow older workers to receive credit – $10 billion
  • Expand Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) to $4,000 ($8,000 for 2 or more children) for one year – ~$10 billion
  • No provisions
Expand Health Insurance Coverage and Subsidies
Biden Plan ($92 billion) GOP Plan ($4 billion)
  • Subsidize COBRA coverage through September – ~$50 billion
  • Increase funding for veterans' health care – $17 billion
  • Increase funding for behavioral health services and protection of gender-based violence victims – $5 billion
  • Expand Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credits – ~$20 billion
  • Provide funding for behavioral health services – $4 billion
    • Increase funding for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – $3.5 billion
    • Increase funding for Health Resources and Services Administration – $0.5 billion
Provide Additional Small Business Support
Biden Plan ($50 billion) GOP Plan ($50 billion)
  • Provide funding for state and local small business financing programs – $35 billion
  • Provide grants to hardest hit small businesses – $15 billion
  • Increase Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding, including $5 million for audits and investigations – $40 billion
  • Increase Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program funding – $10 billion
Extend Paid Family and Sick Leave
Biden Plan (~$50 billion) GOP Plan ($0)
  • Extend and expand paid family and sick leave provisions – ~$50 billion
  • No provisions
Increase the Minimum Wage
Biden Plan (~$50 billion) GOP Plan ($0)
  • Permanently increase federal minimum wage to $15/hour – ~$50 billion
  • No provisions
Increase Child Care Funding
Biden Plan ($40 billion) GOP Plan ($20 billion)
  • Establish emergency stabilization fund for child care providers – $25 billion
  • Increase funding for Child Care and Development Block Grants – $15 billion
  • Provide additional funding for Child Care and Development Block Grants – $20 billion
Provide Funding for Higher Education
Biden Plan ($35 billion) GOP Plan ($0)
  • Provide additional funding for colleges – $35 billion
  • No provisions
Increase Funding for Housing Assistance and Homelessness
Biden Plan ($35 billion) GOP Plan ($0)
  • Provide additional funding for rental assistance – $25 billion
  • Provide funding for water and energy costs for struggling renters – $5 billion
  • Fund programs to address homelessness – $5 billion
  • No provisions
Support the Safety Net
Biden Plan ($17 billion) GOP Plan ($12 billion)
  • Extend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  (SNAP) benefit increase through September – $11 billion
  • Increase funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and nutrition assistance for territories – $5 billion
  • Increase Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding to offset higher caseloads – $1 billion
  • Extend SNAP benefit increase through September 30 – $3 billion
  • Increase funding for WIC – $3 billion
  • Provide additional funding for Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) block grants  – $1 billion
  • State administrative match – $5 billion
Fund Technology Improvements
Biden Plan ($10 billion) GOP Plan ($0)
  • Provide funding to strengthen federal government cybersecurity and modernize IT infrastructure – $10 billion
  • No provisions

# We are unable to provide specific scores for the line-items in this category

* This estimate is a remainder based on the Biden Administration's statement that it intends to spend $160 billion on vaccinations, testing, and other COVID containment efforts. We include in this category $20 billion in direct aid for tribal governments to respond to the pandemic, which could also be classified as similar to state & local funding.