WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) cast her vote to pass the updated American Rescue Plan and send the long overdue relief package to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
“Today’s vote on President Biden’s American Rescue Plan sends a clear message to the American people: help is on the way. With the much-needed relief contained in this historic package, working families will be able to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table, tens of millions of Americans will gain access to vaccines in the coming weeks, small businesses and restaurants will get the help they need to keep their doors open, children will safely return to the classroom, and workers across the nation will benefit from a shorter road to economic recovery. I look forward to seeing federal investments from the American Rescue Plan pour into the Third District, and my team and I stand ready to assist folks entitled to relief under this legislation,” said Congresswoman Trahan.
Following her vote on the House’s version of the legislation just over a week ago, Trahan supported the Senate-passed American Rescue Plan that will deliver robust relief to keep working families and small businesses afloat, get shots into arms, reopen schools, and jumpstart the economy. Specifically, the final package sent to President Biden for his signature includes:
Survival Checks: Fulfills President Biden’s promise to provide $2,000 in direct assistance to households in need by providing $1,400 checks per person, following the $600 down payment passed in December;
Extending Unemployment: Extends access to unemployment benefits, including the critical $300 monthly supplemental benefit, through September 6th for workers laid off as a result of the pandemic and exempts up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits received in 2020 from federal income taxes for households making less than $150,000;
Food Assistance: Makes key investments in SNAP, WIC, Pandemic EBT, and other nutrition assistance programs, including an extension of the maximum SNAP benefit increase to 15 percent through the end of September;
Housing Assistance: Provides $27.5 billion for Emergency Rental Assistance, $10 billion for the Homeowner Assistance Fund, and another $5 billion for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program to help families struggling to keep a roof over their heads and afford their utility bills, while also allocating nearly $5 billion for the HOME Investment Partnership program to support solutions for Americans experiencing homelessness;
Strengthened Access to Affordable Health Care:Significantly expands the subsidies in the ACA Marketplaces to cover more middle-class families and to be more generous for those already receiving them, provides individuals receiving unemployment with access to the ACA marketplace, and provides a 100 percent subsidy for individuals who lose their job and employee sponsored health insurance to choose to use COBRA to continue their existing employer-sponsored health coverage;
Expanded Child Tax Credit: Makes the child tax credit fully refundable for 2021 and increases the annual amount to $3,000 per child and $3,600 for a child under the age of 6. Making the tax credit fully refundable will ensure that 27 million American children receive the full value of the tax credit and this policy is estimated to cut the child poverty rate in half;
Direct Assistance to Vulnerable Families:Provides an additional $1 billion for states to cover the additional cash assistance that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients need and establishes a $1 billion Pandemic Emergency Fund to be distributed to states for providing emergency assistance to low-income families with children;
National Plan to Increase Vaccinations: Provides more than $20 billion to establish a National COVID-19 Vaccination Program and improve the administration and distribution of vaccines, including allocating funds for FEMA vaccination sites across the country and strengthening the CDC’s ability to promote, distribute, monitor, and track COVID-19 vaccines;
Scaling up Testing, Tracing, and Mitigation:Allocates $51 billion for testing, contact tracing, and mitigation activities that include implementing a national strategy for testing, contact tracing, surveillance, and mitigation; and the manufacturing, procurement, distribution, and administration of tests, including personal protective equipment and supplies necessary for administration of the tests;
Reopening Schools: To support efforts to safely reopen elementary and secondary schools, the American Rescue Plan provides nearly $130 billion for K-12 schools, which will be made available to states and school districts, so they can work with public health experts to ensure the safe return of students and educators. This provision of the bill will deliver an estimated more than $1.8 billion to Massachusetts K-12 schools and another $825 million for higher education institutions;
Ensuring Accessible and Affordable Child Care:To rescue America’s child care system from the brink of collapse, the bill provides $39 billion through the Child Care and Development Block Grant for child care providers as the country reopens and provides financial relief for families struggling to cover tuition. The American Rescue Plan will deliver an estimated $512 million in federal child care investments and another $13.6 million Head Start funding to the Commonwealth;
Strengthening America’s Pandemic Supply Chain: A major priority of Trahan’s, the package provides $10 billion in funding for the Defense Production Act to boost domestic production of critical PPE, secure supply chains and increase capacity for vital vaccine production, and help onshore production of rapid COVID-19 tests;
Support for Small Businesses and Nonprofits:Increases Paycheck Protection Program funding and expands eligibility to ensure it reaches nonprofits of all sizes and types while also creating a $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund to offer assistance to restaurants and bars with 20 or fewer locations that have been hit hard by the pandemic;
State and Local Funding: Provides $350 billion in new relief funding to help state and local governments keep first responders, frontline health care workers, and other essential workers on the job. Since the pandemic began, 1.4 million of these workers have lost their jobs due to budget constraints. The Commonwealth is estimated to receive more than $4.5 billion and local and governments in Massachusetts are estimated to receive over $3.4 billion;
Improved Worker Safety: Strengthens workplace protections for essential workers by providing $250 million for the Department of Labor to implement COVID-19 worker protection programs and continued Unemployment Insurance oversight;
Delivers for Veterans: Ensures veterans won’t have any copays or cost-sharing retroactive to April 2020 for preventative treatment related to COVID-19, includes more than $14.5 billion for the VA to provide health care services other support, and includes $272 million for the VA to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the benefits claims and appeals backlog;
Assistance for Transit Agencies: Includes $30 billion for transit agencies working to recover from a 79 percent ridership drop in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Also provides emergency assistance to airports and payroll support to prevent airline worker furloughs and layoffs.