The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Within the next couple days, the House will likely approve the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan for COVID relief approved in the Senate along party line votes this past Saturday, March 6.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Unemployment benefits are a primary consideration of the bill.  (See our handbook article on Unemployment here.) In the bill, the PUA covered period was extended a week to Labor Day, but federal PUA amount was reduced from $400 to $300 per week. In exchange for the lower benefit, the first $10,200 of unemployment insurance benefits will be non-taxable in 2021 for households with an adjusted gross income under $150,000.

Stimulus Checks

Federal direct economic stimulus checks will be $1,400 per taxpayer and $1,400 per child or adult dependent (student, disabled). However, the payments will completely phase out for taxpayers with more than $80,000 of your last filed adjusted gross income for singles, $120,000 for heads of household, and $160,000 for married couples.

Child Tax Credit

Increase in the Child Tax Credit to $3,600/child (an increase of $1,600) for children younger than 6 and $3,000/child for children under 17.

COBRA health insurance

The bill increased federal COBRA health insurance for laid off workers from 85% to 100% through September.

State & Local Government Relief

$350 billion for state and local government relief with excellent language clarifying eligible use of funds for assistance to small businesses, nonprofits, and hard-hit industries like tourism, travel, and hospitality. Funding can also be used for the expansion of broadband coverage to rural and inner-city areas. $10 billion is designated for local capital infrastructure projects.

Vaccinations & Testing

$20 billion for additional vaccinations and $50 billion for testing.

SBA Loan Programs

$7.25 billion additional funds for Paycheck Protection Program.  $15 billion for additional EIDL funds, with loans prioritized for hardest hit businesses with fewer than 10 employees. $1.25 billion additional funds for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program with the new allowance that entities can apply for both PPP and SVOG for a net award. $25 billion for a new grant program for restaurants and bars to meet payroll and other expenses.

Youth & Schools

$1.25 billion for evidence-based summer enrichment, $1.25 billion for after school programs, and $3 billion for education technology.  $130 billion for most K-12 schools to safely reopen within 100 days.

Arts, Humanities, Public Media, Libraries & Museums

$135 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), $135 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), $200 million for the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS), and $175 million added for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Rent & Utilities

$20 billion for additional rent and utility assistance.
Otherwise, the proposed incremental increase of the minimum wage was dropped.  Target date for enactment is before March 14, 2021.

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