WASHINGTON — When it comes to the dollars that are already flowing into Virginia from the one-week-old American Rescue Plan, the numbers are staggering.
Seven million Virginians are already starting to receive $9.32 billion in direct relief checks. There is $1.5 million for child tax credits, plus $2.11 billion for K-12 education. And then there's also $846 million for colleges and universities.
Additionally, there's $451 million for emergency rental assistance. More than 250,000 Virginians faced losing their unemployment benefits within days. Now, they can keep them through September 6.
"Those monies will be spent in Virginia communities at restaurants and grocery stores that will help Main Street thrive again," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia).
The measure passed both chambers of Congress without a single Republican vote. Kaine, a Democrat, compared this bill with the 2017 Republican tax cut bill which primarily benefitted those in the upper-income bracket.
"If you spread the benefits equitably across the lower and middle-income Americans, you get a much larger and positive effect on the American economy than if you concentrate the benefits on the very top," he said.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) also weighed in.
He said: "I was disappointed we didn't get bipartisan support in the Congress' passing, but I can tell you from talking to local elected officials around Virginia, Democrats and Republicans alike, there is broad support for the effect of this legislation."
Warner said he's pleased help is already arriving where it is needed most: in the pockets of long-suffering Virginia citizens.
"That $1,400 check to adults and dependent children will be going out and hitting people's bank accounts either electronically or in the mail over the next couple of weeks, and that's extremely important," he said.