Rep. Huffman Votes to Pass the American Rescue Plan, Life-Saving Legislation to Defeat the COVID-19 Pandemic
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Huffman (D-San Rafael) voted to pass the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which implements President Biden’s urgently-needed pandemic and economic response plan. This comes as the U.S. surpasses 500,000 deaths to COVID-19, meanwhile the economic crisis is accelerating: over 18 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits, nearly 24 million people in America are going hungry, up to 40 million people cannot afford to pay rent and fear eviction, school closures threaten the education of countless millions of children, and additional unemployment assistance is set to expire in March.
“This is a historic crisis, and half-loaf measures aren’t going to cut it. We need a multi-faceted approach to defeat this pandemic and rebuild our country,” said Rep. Huffman. “Bold initiatives to safely reopen schools, get shots in arms, comprehensively support the economy, and get people back to work all converge in this plan, giving us a real shot at crushing the pandemic. Republicans in the Senate must join with us in supporting the President’s plan – we cannot afford any more delays.”
The President’s American Rescue Plan will:
- Put Vaccines in Arms: The plan will mount a national vaccination program that includes setting up community vaccination sites nationwide. It will also take complementary measures to combat the virus, including scaling up testing and tracing, addressing shortages of personal protective equipment and other critical supplies, investing in high-quality treatments and addressing health care disparities.
- Put Children Safely Back in School: The plan will make a nearly $130 billion investment in school re-opening and making up for lost learning.
- Put Money in People’s Pockets: The plan finishes the job on the President’s promise to provide $2,000 in direct assistance to households across America with checks of $1,400 per person, following the $600 down payment enacted in December. The plan will also provide direct housing assistance, nutrition assistance for 40 million Americans, expand access to safe and reliable child care and affordable health care, extend and expand unemployment insurance so that 19 million American workers can pay their bills and supporting 27 million children with an expanded Child Tax Credit and 15 million low-wage workers through the Earned Income Tax Credit. It will give 27 million workers a raise and lift one million out of poverty by raising the federal minimum wage — which House Democrats believe is necessary and will remain in the bill on the Floor today.
- Put People Back In Jobs: The plan will provide crucial support for the hardest-hit small businesses, especially those owned by entrepreneurs from racial and ethnic backgrounds that have experienced systemic discrimination, with EIDL grants, expanded PPP eligibility and more. The plan also provides crucial resources to protect the jobs of first responders, frontline public health workers, teachers, transit workers and other essential workers that all Americans depend on.
Economists agree that this targeted, evidence-based action is needed – both for struggling families and for the American economy. These steps, together, will generate $1.25 for every $1 of spending, will cut child poverty in half, and lift nearly 12 million people out of poverty.
As Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said, “Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now – and long-term scarring of the economy later. […] Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big. In the long run, the benefits will far outweigh the costs.”
Similarly, Mark Zandi, Chief Economist of Moody’s Analytics has said, “It’s better to err on the side of too much rather than too little. Interest rates are at zero, inflation is low, unemployment is high. You don’t need a textbook to know this is when you push on the fiscal accelerator.”
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