January 15, 2021
Biden’s American Rescue Plan
Last night in Wilmington, Delaware, President-elect Joe Biden announced his plan for additional coronavirus relief: the American Rescue Plan. It is an ambitious $1.9 trillion plan that Biden said was needed to help both the economy and people recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The $1.9 trillion plan includes additional state and local aid; an expansion of unemployment benefits; additional stimulus checks; a minimum wage increase; an expansion of vaccination and virus testing; and expansion of childcare tax credits. Biden also noted that he plans to release his Build Back Better long-term economic rebuilding plan at a joint session of Congress next month.
President-elect Biden has indicated that he wants to pass the package through Congress and not through budget reconciliation, but it is unclear if Democrats will be able to garner the support of 10 Republicans in the Senate for passage. Therefore, this is likely the opening bid in the anticipated negotiations. Republicans in the Senate will likely argue against the high price of the package given deficit concerns and the passage of two large relief packages last year. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has already called for more targeted coronavirus relief that will be able to pass the Senate quickly.
Below is a short summary of what’s included in the American Rescue plan and a full summary of the plan can be found here:
- $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, and territorial governments plus an additional $20 billion for public transit systems.
- $160 billion to contain COVID-19 including $20 billion for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, an additional $50 billion for expanded COVID-19 testing, investments into COVID-19 treatments, a public health jobs program, and an emergency relief fund.
- An extension of emergency unemployment insurance programs through the end of September while providing a $400 per week unemployment insurance supplement to help hard-hit workers.
- Direct stimulus payments of $1,400 to individuals under certain income thresholds.
- Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and end the tipped minimum wage.
- Require employers, regardless of size, to offer paid sick leave during the pandemic to workers.
- Provide paid leave reimbursements to employers with less than 500 employees and state and local governments
- $130 billion in funding for K-12 schools to reopen.
- $35 billion for colleges and universities to reopen.
- Creation of a $5 billion fund for governors to direct help to schools most hard-hit by the virus.
- Expand childcare tax credits for one year to help working families cover the cost of childcare with families with children up to age 13 could receive a total of up to $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children depending on income.
- $25 Billion for a stabilization fund to open child-care centers.
- $15 billion in grants for essential workers to meet childcare costs.
- Leverage $35 billion in government funds into $175 billion in additional small business lending and investment.
- Provide Grants to more than 1 million of the hardest hit small businesses with $15 billion in flexible, equitably distributed grants