On February 27, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives Passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan”). This bill provides additional relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses.
Specifically, the bill provides funding for:
· agriculture and nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program);
· schools and institutions of higher education;
· child care and programs for older Americans and their families;
· COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, treatment, and prevention;
· mental health and substance-use disorder services;
· emergency rental assistance, homeowner assistance, and other housing programs;
· payments to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments for economic relief;
· multiemployer pension plans;
· small business assistance, including specific programs for restaurants and live venues; and
· programs for health care workers, transportation workers, federal employees, veterans, and other targeted populations.
The bill also includes provisions that
· raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025;
· extend unemployment benefits and related services;
· provide a maximum recovery rebate of $1,400 per eligible individual;
· expand and otherwise modify certain tax credits, including the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit;
· provide premium assistance for certain health insurance coverage; and
· require coverage, without cost-sharing, of COVID-19 vaccines and treatment under Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The bill has now been referred to the Senate. Check back for updates to see if the bill becomes law.