LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — This isn't a story about numbers. It's a story about people.
“March 15th -- one year,” local Keith Sherrill told us Tuesday, remembering the date in 2020 when he learned COVID 19 had just killed his job. He's been unemployed in our entertainment industry ever since.
So when he hears more COVID relief is coming, with its direct payments to most Americans, he's grateful.
"Yeah, that check's gonna help a lot," says Sherill.
He'll get the full $1,400 relief payment, plus the extra unemployment money, which now runs into September.
What the White House calls the American Rescue Plan is poised for passage in the U.S. House on Wednesday.
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Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, offered to us by the White House, said the bill can't get to President Joe Biden fast enough.
“And we're hoping it will be on the president's desk very soon because, remember, unemployment - these unemployment benefits run out on the 14th, so there's really no time to lose to get this signed into law,” said Buttigieg.
Direct payments should go out this month to individuals making under $75,000, or couples making $150,000 or less. The bill also helps state and local governments, whose budgets were crippled by COVID.
We learned today more than $4 billion is headed to Nevada's state and local governments, says Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada.
“State and local government were having a difficult time funding those essential services. Again, our main revenue source is our hospitality industry in this state, and it was devastated by this pandemic,” says Cortez Masto.
The $4 billion includes $2.9 billion for state government, $439 million for Clark County and $130 million for Las Vegas. The Clark County School District would receive approximately $835 million. Other pots of money in the bill would send McCarran International Airport $170 million and the Regional Transportation Commission $130 million.
While Republicans say nearly $2 trillion in this latest COVID relief bill is too much, Democrats say the bigger danger is spending too little, letting the economy and Americans languish.
Those would be folks like Keith, happy for the help and eager to get back to work.
“I think we're moving in the right direction. The fact that we have 60 million people, last I heard today, that have been vaccinated, that's fantastic,” Sherrill says.