The President-elect unveiled the "American Rescue Plan" on Thursday
President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his $1.9 trillion emergency relief plan this week, aimed at helping American families and businesses survive the ongoing pandemic.
Billed as the "American Rescue Plan," the package is divided into three major areas: aid for families, provisions to fight the coronavirus, and relief for businesses and state, local, and tribal governments.
"Unity is not some pie-in-the-sky dream. It's a practical step to get any of the things we have to get done as a country, get done together," President-elect Biden said while unveiling the plan.
"I'm convinced we are ready to get this done," he said. "The very health of our nation is at stake."
The bottom line is we need to provide immediate relief for working families and businesses. Now. https://t.co/syaHTaX3O4— Joe Biden (@Joe Biden)1610238600.0
Here's what's in the American Rescue Plan:
Give working families a $1,400 per person check to help pay their bills
This money would be sent in addition to the $600 payments that were approved by Congress last month.
Extend and expand unemployment insurance benefits
Biden wants to extend the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, as well as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, through September. Currently, they're set to expire in March.
Biden also wants to increase the federal unemployment aid to $400 a week, up from $300 a week.
Provide rental assistance and extend the eviction moratoriums
The plan offers $25 billion in rental assistance for households who have lost jobs during the pandemic. It also offers another $5 billion to help renters who are struggling to pay their utility bills.
Biden also wants to extend the federal eviction moratorium through September.
Help families struggling with food insecurity and hunger
Biden's plan would invest $3 billion in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The money will help offset the increased enrollment caused by the pandemic and help provide nutritious food to American families.
He's also calling for an extension to the 15% increase to the SNAP food stamp program through September 2021, or as long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Help for child care centers and the families who rely on them
The American Rescue Plan will create a $25 billion emergency fund to help hard-hit child care providers, including family care homes. That money can be used to pay rent, utilities, and payroll, as well as purchase PPE.
Biden also wants to add an additional $14 billion in funding to the Child Care and Development Block Grant program, aimed at expanding child care assistance for families.
"This additional assistance with child care costs will help the disproportionate number of women who left the labor force to take on caregiving duties reenter the workforce," writes the President-Elect in the plan.
Increase tax credits to help cover the cost of childcare
Families will get back as a tax credit as much as half of their spending on child care for children under age 13 so that they can receive a total of up to $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children. The tax credit will be fully refundable.
The full 50 percent reimbursement will be available to families making less than $125,000 a year. Additionally, all families making between $125,000 and $400,000 will receive a partial credit.
Expanding the Child Tax Credit
Biden's plan makes the Child Tax Credit fully refundable, increasing the credit to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age 6) and make 17 year-olds qualifying children for the year.
Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit
The plan raises the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit for childless adults from roughly $530 to close to $1,500, raises the income limit for the credit from about $16,000 to about $21,000, and expands the age range that is eligible.
Combat increased risk of gender-based violence
Biden's plan calls for at least $800 million in supplemental funding for key federal programs that protect survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated domestic violence and sexual assault, creating a "shadow pandemic" for many women and girls who are largely confined to their home with their abuser and facing economic insecurity that makes escape more difficult."
Provide $130 billion to help schools reopen safely
The proposed $130 billion that would be directed to schools can be used to reduce class sizes, modify spaces for social distancing, improve ventilation, hire more custodial staff, purchase PPE, ensure every school has a nurse and more.
Provide expanded paid sick and family and medical leave
Biden's proposal would reinstate the paid sick and family leave benefits that expired last month. They would remain in effect through September.
Adults who are sick or quarantining, caring for a child whose school is closed, or caring for someone with COVID-19 symptoms, will receive 14 weeks of paid leave. The paid leave can also be used by healthy adults to go receive their COVID-19 vaccination. The federal government will reimburse employers with less than 500 employees for 100% of the cost of the leave.
Creation of a national vaccination program
Biden's plan would invest $20 billion in a national vaccination program, which would fund community vaccination centers and operate mobile units for hard-to-reach areas. This would not create a mandatory vaccination program; rather, it would simply allocate money and resources towards the millions of families who are eager to receive the vaccine.
The proposal would also invest $50 billion in testing, the purchase of rapid tests, and help schools implement regular testing.
Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour
Biden wants Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, end the tipped minimum wage system, and the sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities.