The Senate approved a sweeping pandemic relief package over Republican opposition on Saturday, moving President Joe Biden closer to a milestone political victory that would provide $1,400 checks for most Americans and direct billions of dollars to schools, state and local governments, and businesses.

The bill cleared by a party-line vote of 50-49 after a marathon overnight voting session and now heads back to the House for final passage, which could come early next week.

Democrats said their “American Rescue Plan” would help the country defeat the virus and nurse the economy back to health. Republicans criticized the $1.9 trillion package as more expensive than necessary. The measure follows five earlier virus bills totaling about $4 trillion that Congress has enacted since last spring.

A look at some highlights of the legislation:

AID TO THE UNEMPLOYED

Expanded unemployment benefits from the federal government would be extended through Sept. 6 at $300 a week. That’s on top of what beneficiaries are getting through their state unemployment insurance program. The first $10,200 of jobless benefits would be non-taxable for households with incomes under $150,000.

Additionally, the measures provide a 100% subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums to ensure that the laid-off workers can remain on their employer health plans at no cost through the end of September.

MORE CHECKS

The legislation provides a direct payment of $1,400 for a single taxpayer, or $2,800 for a married couple that files jointly, plus $1,400 per dependent. Individuals earning up to $75,000 would get the full amount, as would married couples with incomes up to $150,000.

The size of the check would shrink for those making slightly more, with a hard cut-off at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for married couples.

Most Americans will be getting the full amount. The median household income was $68,703 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

MONEY FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

The legislation would send $350 billion to state and local governments and tribal governments for costs incurred up until the end of 2024. The bill also requires that small states get at least the amount they received under virus legislation that Congress passed last March.

Many communities have taken hits to their tax base during the pandemic, but the impact varies from state to state and from town to town. Critics say the funding is not appropriately targeted and is far more than necessary with billions of dollars allocated last spring to states and communities still unspent.

AID TO SCHOOLS

The bill calls for about $130 billion in additional help to schools for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The money would be used to reduce class sizes and modify classrooms to enhance social distancing, install ventilation systems and purchase personal protective equipment. The money could also be used to increase the hiring of nurses and counselors and to provide summer school.

Spending for colleges and universities would be boosted by about $40 billion, with the money used to defray an institution’s pandemic-related expenses and to provide emergency aid to students to cover expenses such as food and housing and computer equipment.

AID TO BUSINESSES

A new program for restaurants and bars hurt by the pandemic would receive $25 billion. The grants provide up to $10 million per company with a limit of $5 million per physical location. The grants can be used to cover payroll, rent, utilities, and other operational expenses.

The bill also provides $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, a tiny fraction of what was allocated in previous legislation. The bill also allows more non-profits to apply for loans that are designed to help borrowers meet their payroll and operating costs and can potentially be forgiven.

TESTING AND VACCINES

The bill provides $46 billion to expand federal, state, and local testing for COVID-19 and to enhance contract tracing capabilities with new investments to expand laboratory capacity and set up mobile testing units. It also contains about $14 billion to speed up the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines across the country.

HEALTH CARE

Parts of the legislation advance longstanding Democratic priorities like increasing coverage under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. Financial assistance for ACA premiums would become considerably more generous and a greater number of solid middle-class households would qualify. Though the sweetened subsidies last only through the end of 2022, they will lower the cost of coverage and are expected to boost the number of people enrolled.

The measure also dangles more money in front of a dozen states, mainly in the South, that have not yet taken up the Medicaid expansion that is available under the ACA to cover more low-income adults. Whether such a sweetener would be enough to start wearing down longstanding Republican opposition to Medicaid expansion is uncertain.

BIGGER TAX BREAKS FOR HOUSEHOLDS WITH AND WITHOUT KIDS

Under current law, most taxpayers can reduce their federal income tax bill by up to $2,000 per child. In a significant change, the bill would increase the tax break to $3,000 for every child age 6 to 17 and $3,600 for every child under the age of 6.

The legislation also calls for the payments to be delivered monthly instead of in a lump sum. If the secretary of the Treasury determines that isn’t feasible, then the payments are to be made as frequently as possible.

Families would get the full credit regardless of how little they make in a year, leading to criticism that the changes would serve as a disincentive to work. Add in the $1,400 checks and other items in the proposal, and the legislation would reduce the number of children living in poverty by more than half, according to the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University.

The bill also significantly expands the Earned Income Tax Credit for 2021 by making it available to people without children. The credit for low and moderate-income adults would be worth $543 to $1,502, depending on income and filing status.

RENTAL AND HOMEOWNER ASSISTANCE

The bill provides about $30 billion to help low-income households and the unemployed afford rent and utilities and to assist the homeless with vouchers and other support. States and tribes would receive an additional $10 billion for homeowners who are struggling with mortgage payments because of the pandemic.

The stimulus payments would be $1,400 for most recipients. Those who are eligible would also receive an identical payment for each of their children.

To qualify for the full $1,400, a single person would need an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or below. For heads of household, adjusted gross income would need to be $112,500 or below, and for married couples filing jointly that number would need to be $150,000 or below.

To be eligible for a payment, a person must have a Social Security number.

Yes. But payments would phase out quickly as adjusted gross income rises.

For single filers, the checks decrease to zero at $80,000. For heads of household, the cutoff is $120,000. And for joint filers, the checks stop at $160,000.

Payments for children decrease in the same way.

College students whom qualifying taxpayers claim as dependents are eligible. (They weren’t for past payments.) The payment would go to the parent taxpayer, not the child.

The good news here, too. If claimed as dependents, these relatives are also eligible this time. The payment would go to the qualifying taxpayer, not the dependent adult.

The most recent year on record at the Internal Revenue Service. If you’ve already filed your taxes this year, it would be 2020. If not, it would be 2019.

When could I expect my payment to arrive?

During the last round of payments, the I.R.S. got the first payments out within a few days. As before, you would track the status of your payments via the I.R.S.’s Get My Payment tool. Be aware that the volume of users sometimes overwhelms the site.

If you were in fact eligible to receive it, you can try to recover it through the so-called Recovery Rebate Credit when filing your 2020 return. Make your claim on Line 30 of Form 1040 or 1040-SR.

If you’re already receiving unemployment benefits, payments would generally be extended for another 25 weeks, until Sept. 6. The weekly supplemental benefit, which is provided on top of your regular benefit, will remain $300 but run through Sept. 6.

Although unemployment benefits are taxable, the new law would make the first $10,200 of benefits tax-free for people with income less than $150,000. This applies to 2020 only.

The extended payments would continue to be delivered through different federal programs, largely based on the type of work you did and for whom.

Benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which covers the self-employed, gig workers, part-timers, and others who are typically ineligible for regular unemployment benefits, would be available for a total of 79 weeks, up from 50, and run through Sept. 6.

And benefits through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which essentially extends benefits for people who exhaust their regular state benefits, would be available for a total of 53 weeks, up from 24, also lasting through Sept. 6.

If you qualify for any benefits, you would also receive the full $300 supplemental payment for weeks ending after March 14 and through Sept. 6. Known as F.P.U.C., it’s called the federal pandemic unemployment compensation.

The bill would also extend an extra $100 weekly payment, called the mixed-earner supplement, through Sept. 6. This payment helps people who have a mix of income from both self-employment and wages paid by other employers because they are often stuck with a lower state-issued benefit based on their (lower) wages.

The bill would also clarify that the $300 federal supplement would not be counted when calculating eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But the mixed earner supplement would be counted.

If the bill becomes law, experts said, there may be a gap for beneficiaries in many states because it usually takes a couple of weeks for agencies to program any benefit extensions.

HEALTH INSURANCE

What would the relief bill do about health insurance?

Buying insurance through the government program known as COBRA would temporarily become a lot cheaper.

COBRA, for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, generally lets someone who loses a job buy coverage via the former employer. But it’s expensive: Under normal circumstances, a person may have to pay at least 102 percent of the cost of the premium.

Under the relief bill, the government would pay the entire COBRA premium from April 1 through Sept. 30.

A person who qualified for new, employer-based health insurance someplace else before Sept. 30 would lose eligibility for the no-cost coverage. And someone who left a job voluntarily would not be eligible, either.

The bill would lower the cost of health insurance in many instances for people who bought their own health insurance via a government exchange. And the premiums for those plans would cost no more than 8.5 percent of your modified adjusted gross income.

These changes would be effective immediately and last through the end of 2022; they would not require people to re-enroll to access the lower prices.

If you don’t already have health insurance but would want it if the price was right, an open enrollment period is already in effect through May 15. You can also switch plans to try to lower the price you’re paying already or get more generous coverage. The Kaiser Family Foundation maintains a calculator that estimates your premiums based on your income and any available government subsidies, and it will be updated once the bill passes.

None this time, though there were some in the last stimulus bill.

TAXES

What would the bill change about the child and dependent care tax credit?

This credit, which helps working families offset the cost of care for children under 13 and other dependents, would be significantly expanded for a single year. More people would be eligible, and many recipients would get a bigger break.

The bill would also make the credit fully refundable, which means you could collect the money as a refund even if your tax bill was zero. “That will be helpful to people at the lower end” of the income scale, said Mark Luscombe, a principal federal tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting.

The new bill would make the credit worth up to $4,000 for one qualifying individual or $8,000 for two or more. The credit would be calculated by taking up to 50 percent of the value of eligible expenses, up to certain limits, depending on your income. (The more you earn, the lower the percentage you can claim.)

Currently, the credit is generally worth between 20 and 35 percent of eligible expenses with a maximum value of $2,100 for two or more qualifying individuals.

The bill would also significantly increase the income level at which the credit begins to be reduced. Under current law, that starts at an adjusted gross income of $15,000, but the bill would make the full value of the credit available to households making up to $125,000.

Under current law, the credit is not further reduced below 20 percent, regardless of income, Mr. Luscombe said. But the proposed law would begin to reduce the credit below 20 percent for households with income of more than $400,000.

These changes would be effective for 2021 only.

The bill would make one big change. For 2021 — and only for 2021 — you could set aside $10,500 in a dependent care account instead of the normal $5,000. But employers would have to allow the change: You can’t adjust the withholdings from your paycheck yourself if your employer declines to provide the option.

How would the bill change the child tax credit?

The bill would make the credit more generous for 2021, particularly for low- and middle-income people.

Currently, the credit is worth up to $2,000 per eligible child. The bill would increase it to as much as $3,000 per child ($3,600 for ages 5 and under). It would also raise the age limit for qualifying children to 17, from 16.

Here’s where it gets interesting: You could receive some of the credit as an advance on your 2021 taxes.

The bill would make the credit fully refundable, which means you can receive money from it as a tax refund even if your tax bill is reduced to zero. And half of that money could be advanced to households over the next six months (based on their 2020 tax information, or 2019 if that was unavailable). It’s not clear how frequently payments would be made — perhaps monthly — but under the bill, they would begin in July.

The changes are effective for 2021 only, though at least some Democrats would like to make it permanent.

Married couples who have modified adjusted gross income up to $150,000 (or heads of the household up to $112,500 and single filers up to $75,000) would receive the full value of the new benefit.

But after that, the extra amount above the original $2,000 credit — either $1,000 or $1,600 per child — is reduced by $50 for every $1,000 in modified adjusted gross income that exceeds those levels. (For joint filers with one child age 6 to 17, the extra amount would be phased out at about $170,000.)

At that point, the tax credit levels out at $2,000 and is then subject to the current income limits. The $2,000 benefit begins to phase out when married filers have adjusted gross income of $400,000 ($200,000 for singles).

Should the bill become law, the advance payments would total up to half the value of the credit the household is eligible to receive. (The other half would be claimed on the 2021 return.) But exactly how often the payments would be sent out depends on what the Treasury Department decides is feasible.

Here’s how it might work for a couple earning $150,000 or less. With two children, ages 7 and 9, they would be eligible for a $6,000 credit ($3,000 times two). If the payments were made monthly, the family would receive $500 per month starting in July and lasting through the end of the year. The remaining $3,000 would be claimed in 2021 on their tax return.

Would the bill increase the earned-income tax credit?

For 2021 only, the bill would increase for childless households the size of the earned-income tax credit, which helps those at the lower end of the income scale and makes more taxpayers eligible.

The maximum credit amount for childless people would increase to $1,502, from $543.

The bill would also broaden the age range: People without children would be able to claim the credit beginning at age 19 instead of 25, with the exception of certain full-time students. The upper age limit, 65, would be eliminated.

Married but separated people could be treated as not married for the purpose of the credit if they don’t file a joint tax return.

This would apply only if the taxpayer lived with a qualifying child for more than half of the taxable year and didn’t have the same principal home as the spouse at least six months of the year. A separation decree or agreement would also suffice, as long as the individual didn’t live with the spouse by the end of the taxable year.

This change would be permanent.

  • For the purposes of calculating the credit in the 2021 tax year, taxpayers could choose to use their 2019 income if it was higher than 2021, according to a Senate aide.

  • People who otherwise would be eligible but whose children do not have Social Security numbers would be permitted to claim the version of the credit available to childless households. This change would be permanent.

  • Taxpayers wouldn’t be disqualified for the credit in 2021 until they had an investment income of $10,000, up from $3,650. This change would be permanent, with the $10,000 threshold indexed to inflation.