Rep. AOC took to Instagram live on March 11 to explain the American Rescue Plan. Photo: Twitter
Rep. AOC took to Instagram live on March 11 to explain the American Rescue Plan. Photo: Twitter

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez showed us the money in her latest IG live on the new COVID relief bill

Rep. AOC talked stimulus checks, the child tax credit, funeral reimbursements and more in her latest IG Live.


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President Joe Biden signed his own sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package into law on March 11. It’s a major piece of legislation that has been compared to FDR’s New Deal.

While not a single House or Senate Republican voted in the bill’s favor, it has been been touted by House Democrats and progressives as a means to expand the “social safety net” by providing food and housing assistance, as well as greater access to healthcare and direct aid to families while the nation continues to deal with the pandemic and shaky vaccine rollout. 

“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation, working people, middle class folks, people who built the country, a fighting chance,” Biden said before signing the legislation. 

The relief bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks for most households, along with aid for businesses and local governments. But the people are left with questions, ranging from if they qualify for aid at all, to more specific measures provided in the bill, like COVID-19 related funeral reimbursements through FEMA.

It’s why Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez took to Instagram Live once again to break down some of the most common questions, and also to highlight some important aspects of the bill that may be overlooked by the uninformed. 

“It’s time to show you the money!” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter, summarizing most everything that she tackled in her over one-hour long video.

“In our last relief bill, the CARES Act, last year, you know, in the legislation that had the first round of checks, there was a lot of corporate giveaways and just like massive corrupt stuff, because frankly, we had to deal with the Trump administration,” Ocasio Cortez said at the start of the live. 

“I can say that, with confidence, that this 1.9 trillion does not have anywhere near that same scope of giveaways and nasty stuff, and so that means that more of this money is going to help you,” she continued. 

Of high interest to viewers were the specifics of the COVID relief stimulus checks. Ocasio-Cortez clarified that contrary to the previous two stimulus rollouts, dependents are now eligible. This means students and disabled family members or more who were claimed by their supporters when they filed 2020 taxes.

For anyone who was eligible for a check last year and for whatever reason did not get it, you can get that money still, but you have to do it now when you file your 2020 taxes. 

“When you file your 2020 taxes, you’ll have the opportunity to correct for that and they’ll just add it to your refund this year,” she said.

There is an income limit this year too, Ocasio-Cortez explained. The phase-limit starts at 75K.  

“If you are an adult that makes $75,000 or less as an individual, as a married couple up to $150,000,” she said.

Ocasio-Cortez also explained that the lower threshold limit compared to the CARES act presented a critical moment in the House. 

“This was a huge point of contention for us. We put up a really big fight to prevent this but right now the Senate is 50 -50 and this was a critical provision,” she said

But she also said House Dems pushed for more. 

Ocasio-Cortez worked with fellow house members to include that the first 10,200 in unemployment income that people got in 2020 should be tax-free. 

“And so we won that,” she said. 

In other words, those that received unemployment in 2020 and received up to $10,200, it cannot be taxed by the federal government. For those who have already filed, there is the option to readjust. 

The COVID relief bill also contains an additional $300 weekly in unemployment, and a much anticipated child tax credit of $3,000 to $3,600 additional aid per child. 

“You will get recurring checks starting 90 days from now,” Ocasio-Cortez explained, totaling to $3,000 per child – $3,600 if the child is under age six— at the end of the year. It won’t be distributed in a lump sum payment. 

Ocasio-Cortez then moved on to student loans. 

While there’s no student loan cancellation, she explained that there is a provision that she called an “Easter egg.” 

College students are going to receive stimulus payments they did not receive in 2020, but there is also an additional tax provision that dictates that “if” student loans get cancelled in the future, you don’t have to pay taxes on the cancellation. 

It's tucked away within the bill and doesn’t affect anyone’s loans now, but Ocasio-Cortez indicated that it has the capacity to do what it’s intended to do if mobilizers make their voices heard. 

“Now is the time to organize to create the political pressure because in there tucked away, is almost like [...] someone’s paving the path, and I can’t claim credit for that provision,” she said. 

In the rest of her IG live, AOC went on to provide additional background and insight into the following she outlined in her instagram post: 

- FEMA will pay you back up to ~$7k for COVID funeral reimbursements

- First $10,200 in 2020 unemployment income will NOT be federally taxed! 

- Cheaper ACA healthcare exchange premiums (free for some)


- Assistance for independent restaurants and bars

- Housing assistance (rent + mortgage)

- Easter egg on student loans... a positive sign of things to come? 

- All adults will be eligible for vaccines starting MAY 1ST! (Not part of the package but announced tonight!)”

Many of the legislation’s changes that Ocasio Cortez outlined are temporary, but advocates and Democratic legislators are currently in talks about making some of them permanent.


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