WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA) today opened debate on the rule for the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This urgently needed legislation will help crush the coronavirus, return children safely to the classroom, get vaccines to the people, put dollars into families’ pockets, and put people back to work. Consideration of this bill on the House Floor today comes after committees spent more than 100 hours debating more than 400 amendments.
“M. Speaker, since the emergence of the coronavirus, our nation has been in a perpetual state of mourning. The number of Americans killed by this pandemic is nearly equal to one death a minute, every minute, for a year.
Every corner of society has been impacted:
“More than 18 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits; nearly 24 million Americans are going hungry with roughly 12 million children living in households with food insecurity; up to 40 million Americans cannot afford to pay rent; eight of ten minority-owned businesses are on the brink of closure; and I could go on and on, M. Speaker.
“This is a time to act and act boldly. That’s why we began work on the American Rescue Plan nearly one month ago. Nine committees have now marked up portions of the bill, spending more than 100 hours debating more than 400 amendments. We have acted swiftly, M. Speaker, but we have also acted deliberately - guided by the reality that the American people need us to act urgently.
“More vaccines need to get to more people, so this plan will set up community vaccination sites nationwide. Our schools need to safely reopen, so this bill will deliver new resources to help them do so. Working families need more immediate relief, so the American Rescue Plan also provides an additional $1,400 per person in direct assistance. That will bring the total amount of direct assistance recently provided to $2,000 per person.
“This bill also extends unemployment benefits and boosts the federal minimum wage so that 27 million workers get a raise. Sadly, the Senate rules will cause this provision to be removed when it’s considered there. I want the American people to know this: we will not stop fighting to make a minimum wage increase a reality. No one who works full time in the richest nation on the planet should live in poverty.
“There’s also nutrition assistance included to combat the growing hunger crisis and support for local communities on the frontlines of this health emergency. There’s aid here for small businesses, expanded PPP eligibility, and resources for our first responders, teachers, transit workers, and more.
“This is what it looks like when Congress acts in a way that matches the scale of the problems we face.
“Nearly 7 in 10 Americans support this plan. More than 150 leaders of our nation's top businesses came out this week in support of it. Republican officeholders like the governor of West Virginia have encouraged Congress to go big here, and local Republican leaders like the Mayor of Miami support our president’s proposal.
“This is a bipartisan response to the COVID crisis.
“We all joined together on the Capitol steps on Tuesday to mark the 500,000 lives lost to coronavirus in this country. We didn’t stand as Democrats and Republicans, but as one Congress. We mourn the empty seats at dinner tables, and the missed graduations and weddings the same way - not from our partisan corners, but as one American family.
“Through our grief, we should respond here the same way - united in our purpose to defeat this pandemic and rebuild our nation. I urge all my colleagues to stand together and with the American people in support of this plan.
“Let’s act big, let’s act bold, and let’s crush this virus.”
Overview of Key Provisions in the American Rescue Plan
Direct Payments to Working Families & Expanding Child Tax Credit
INCREASING THE DIRECT PAYMENTS TO WORKING FAMILIES
Providing Working Families an Additional Direct Payment of $1,400 Per Person – Bringing the Total Relief Payment to $2,000 Per Person: In December, Congress enacted a Covid relief package that provided a direct payment of $600 per person. The American Rescue Plan Act builds on that down payment, providing another $1,400 per person.
Providing That Those Individuals Who Received the Full $600 Down Payment in December Will Receive the Full $1,400 Payment Now, Keeping President Biden’s Promise of a Total Relief Payment of $2,000: The bill uses the same income threshold as the December legislation to determine which individuals receive the full $1,400 payment, before the phase-out begins. Under the bill, single filers with incomes up to $75,000, head of household filers with incomes up to $112,500, and joint filers with incomes up to $150,000 will receive the full payment of $1,400.
At the Same Time, Better Targeting the Direct Payments Overall to Those Who Need Aid, With, For Example, The Direct Payment Completely Phased Out For Joint Filers with Incomes Of $200,000 And Above: House Democrats acted to ensure that the direct payments are better targeted to those who need assistance than the December legislation, significantly changing the phase-out schedule that was in that legislation. Under this bill, House Democrats ensured that the direct payment is completely phased out for single filers making $100,000, head of household filers making $150,000, and joint filers making $200,000.
EXPANDING CHILD TAX CREDIT, THEREBY CUTTING CHILD POVERTY IN HALF
Making the Child Tax Credit Fully Refundable and Increasing Its Size for 2021: The bill makes the child tax credit fully refundable for 2021 and increases the annual amount from the current $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age 6). Currently, because the child tax credit is not fully refundable, there are 27 million American children who do not receive the full value of the current $2,000 tax credit because their parents do not earn enough money.
Directing the Secretary of the Treasury to Issue Advance Payments of the Child Tax Credit: The bill directs the Secretary of the Treasury to issue advance payments of the child tax credit, based on the parents’ 2019 or 2020 tax returns. Under the bill, parents could receive regular periodic monthly advance payment of the tax credit to ensure families have access to assistance throughout the year, rather than just at tax time. The advance payments would begin on July 1, 2021.
Phasing Out the Advance Payments for Upper-Income Households: Those receiving the full advance payment of the child tax credit would be single filers earning up to $75,000, head of household filers earning up to $112,500, and joint filers earning up to $150,000. Above these thresholds, the advance payments are phased down.
Experts Estimate This Policy Would Cut the Child Poverty Rate in Half: A study by Columbia University found that such a proposal would cut the child poverty rate in the United States in half.
Aggressive Action to Speed Up COVID-19 Vaccinations and Contain the Virus
ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL COVID-19 VACCINATION PROGRAM AND INCREASING VACCINATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Providing Over $20 Billion to Establish A National COVID-19 Vaccination Program and Improve the Administration and Distribution of Vaccinations, Including:
Providing $7.5 billion for the CDC to prepare, promote, distribute, monitor, and track COVID-19 vaccines.
Providing $7.5 billion for FEMA to establish vaccination sites across the country.
Providing $600 million to be directed to the Indian Health Service for vaccine-related activities.
Providing $5.2 billion to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support advanced research, development, manufacturing, production, and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, and ancillary medical products for COVID-19.
Providing $1 billion for the CDC to undertake a vaccine awareness and engagement campaign.
SCALING UP COVID-19 TESTING, CONTACT TRACING, AND MITIGATION, IN ORDER TO STOP THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS
Providing $51 Billion to Expand Testing, Contact Tracing, and Mitigation and Related Activities, Including:
Providing $47.8 billion for testing, contact tracing, and mitigation. These activities 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 (PPE) and supplies necessary for administration of the tests. Additionally, these funds can be used to help mitigate COVID-19 in congregate settings by improving infection control and providing needed supplies.
Funding the Defense Production Act to close the gap in domestic manufacturing to fulfill U.S. public health needs. Specifically, the bill provides $10 billion to boost domestic production of critical PPE, secure supply chains and increased capacity for vital vaccine production and to help onshore production of rapid COVID-19 tests.
Providing $1.5 billion to be directed to the Indian Health Service (HIS) for meeting IHS’s testing, tracing, and mitigation needs.
Providing $1.75 billion for genomic surveillance so that the U.S. can begin to adequately detect and respond to emerging and potentially more dangerous strains of SARS-COV-2 throughout the world. This infrastructure will also be critical to responding to future viral outbreaks.
Providing $500 million to allow CDC to establish, expand, and maintain data surveillance and analytics, including to modernize the United States’ disease warning system to forecast and track hotspots for COVID-19.
Providing the Resources Needed to Allow Schools to Safely Re-Open
PROVIDING RESOURCES FOR OUR SCHOOLS
Providing Nearly $130 billion to Help K-12 Schools Re-Open Safely: This bill makes nearly $130 billion available to states and school districts for immediate and long-term relief so they can work with public health experts to safely re-open schools and make up for lost time in the classroom. This includes:
Repairing ventilation systems, reducing class sizes and implementing social distancing guidelines, purchasing personal protective equipment, and hiring support staff to care for students’ health and well-being.
Ensures 20 percent of the funding that schools receive must be reserved to address and remediate learning loss among students.
Includes Funding to Support Colleges and Universities: This bill includes nearly $40 billion for institutions of higher education to help make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic. Requires institutions to dedicate at least half of their funding for emergency financial aid grants to students to help prevent hunger, homelessness and other hardships facing students as a result of the pandemic.
Broadband: Helping to Bridge the Digital Divide By Providing $7.6 Billion to Expand Internet Connectivity to Students and Communities, Including by:
Reimbursing schools and libraries – central points for connectivity in many communities – to purchase equipment such as hotspots, internet service, and computers on behalf of students and patrons. This equipment is essential for homework when in-person classes resume, as well as for hybrid and remote learning.
Ensuring schools and libraries can quickly access this critical funding by relying on the Federal Communications Commission and its E-rate program to administer the funds equitably.
Immediate Economic Relief for Americans Hit Hardest
EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
Currently, Federal Unemployment Benefits Expire on March 14: Specifically, the federal supplemental unemployment benefit (FPUC), the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program (PUA) program (which provides unemployment benefits to some self-employed and pandemic-affected individuals who do not qualify for regular state unemployment benefits), and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensations (PEUC) program (which provides additional weeks for beneficiaries who have exhausted their normal benefits) expire on March 14.
Extending and Increasing the Federal Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (FPUC): The bill extends the federal supplemental unemployment benefit through August 29 and increases the weekly supplemental benefit from the current $300 per week to $400 per week.
Extending the Critical Pandemic UI Programs: The bill also extends both the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program through August 29.
EXPANDING HEALTH COVERAGE AND LOWERING AMERICANS’ HEALTH CARE COSTS
Expanding Subsidies in ACA Marketplaces: The bill significantly expands the subsidies in the ACA Marketplaces to cover more middle class families and to be more generous for those already receiving them, for 2021 and 2022. Specifically, it removes the current cap that makes any family with income above 400% of the poverty level ineligible for any subsidies. Under the bill, no one will have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for a silver plan in the ACA marketplaces. It also provides that individuals below 150% of the poverty level pay no premiums at all compared to 4% of their income currently. The Urban Institute estimates that these provisions could lead to 4.5 million more Americans gaining coverage.
ACA Subsidies for Those on Unemployment: The bill provides that any individual who receives unemployment at any point in 2021 is treated as if their income were 133% of the poverty level for the purposes of the ACA marketplace subsidy. As a result, they can purchase an ACA silver plan for zero premium.
New Incentives for Medicaid Expansion: The bill provides a new incentive for the 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid to do so by temporarily increasing the base Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) by five percentage points for two years for any state that newly expands. If all 12 remaining states expanded Medicaid, more than 2 million uninsured people would gain access to Medicaid.
COBRA Subsidies: Provides an 85% subsidy for individuals who lose their job and choose to use COBRA to continue their existing employer-sponsored health coverage through September 30, 2021. Currently, those who would like to choose COBRA are required to pay the full cost of their coverage, including the employer contribution, making the cost prohibitive and preventing many from doing so.
Provides $26 Billion for Emergency Rental Assistance, to Help Ensure Struggling Families Continue to Have a Safe Place to Live During This Pandemic: The bill provides $26 billion in rental assistance: $21.2 billion for emergency rental and utility assistance to states, territories, counties, and cities to help stabilize renters during the pandemic, and help rental property owners of all sizes continue to cover their costs; $5 billion for emergency vouchers to transition those experiencing or at risk of homelessness, survivors of domestic violence, and victims of human trafficking to stable housing; $100 million for rural housing; $750 million for Native American housing; $100 million for housing counseling; and $20 million for fair housing.
Provides $10 Billion to Help Homeowners Struggling to Afford Their Housing as a Result of the Coronavirus Pandemic: The bill provides $10 billion for the Homeowner Assistance Fund that allocates funds to states, territories, and tribes to address the ongoing needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing due directly or indirectly to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing related costs.
Supports Solutions for Americans Experiencing Homelessness: The bill provides $4.75 billion for state and local governments – through the HOME Investment Partnership program – to finance supportive services, affordable housing and the acquisition of non-congregate shelter spaces for the hundreds of thousands of Americans experiencing homelessness during this pandemic.
Provides $5 Billion to Those Most in Need to Help Pay Their Utility Bills, Including by:
Providing $4.5 billion to HHS for home energy assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Providing $500 million in additional funds for HHS for the Low-Income Household Drinking Water and Wastewater Emergency Assistance Program established by Congress at the end of 2020. This brings the total amount of money available to assist families with their water and sewer bills to over $1.1 billion.
Makes Key Investments in Food Security: In response to persistent hunger in communities across the country, this bill helps combat increasing food insecurity with key investments in SNAP, WIC, Pandemic EBT and other critical nutrition assistance, including:
Extends SNAP maximum benefits by 15 percent (through September 30, 2021);
Provides $1.1 billion in additional SNAP administrative funds to states to help meet the demand of increased caseloads and $25 million to improve the state SNAP online pilots; and
Allocates $800 million for WIC – supporting low-income women and infants – and temporarily boosts the value of WIC Cash Value Vouchers for vulnerable mothers and their children; and
Secures $37 million to cover food shortfalls in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program which seeks to improve the health and nutrition of low-income Americans over 60 years old through access to nutritious food.
Maintains and Expands the Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) Program: The bill invests more than $5 billion in P-EBT so that low-income families have access to school meals and food assistance during both the school year and summer months.
Expands Access to the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP): The bill temporarily expands the age of eligibility for CACFP at emergency homeless shelters to ensure more young adults can access needed nutrition support.
RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE TO $15 PER HOUR BY 2025
Gradually Raises the Federal Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour By 2025 – the First Increase in More Than a Decade: The coronavirus pandemic and economic crises have pulled back the veil on the unconscionable economic disparities that working women, low-income families and other vulnerable communities have faced for decades. This bill gradually increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 and guarantees that tipped workers, youth workers and workers with disabilities are paid the full federal minimum wage – increasing wages for at least 27 million American workers.
Nearly one-third of African Americans and one-quarter of Latinos would get a raise if the federal minimum wage were increased to $15.
Almost one in four of those who would benefit is a Black or Latina woman.
Workers of color would significantly benefit from raising the federal minimum wage:
Nearly one-third of African Americans and one-quarter of Latinos would get a raise if the federal minimum wage were increased to $15.
Almost one in four of those who would benefit is a Black or Latina woman.
ENSURING ACCESSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE AND EARLY LEARNING FOR FAMILIES
Rescues the 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.
Makes a Number of Improvements in the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, for 2021: The bill makes several improvements to the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for 2021, including increasing the amount of child and dependent care expenses that are eligible for the credit to $8,000 for one qualifying individual and $16,000 for two or more qualifying individuals (such that the maximum credits would now be $4,000 and $8,000).
Increases the Annual Funding Level for the Child Care Entitlement to States. The bill increases the annual funding level for the Child Care Entitlement to States, from $3.525 billion per year to $3.550 billion per year.
Includes Critical Funding for Head Start: The bill provides $1 billion for Head Start to equip facilities with the resources to safely stay open, buy PPE, technology and hire more staff and ensure families can continue to access quality early learning opportunities.
PROVIDING ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES (TANF)
Providing An Additional $1 Billion for TANF: The bill provides an additional $1 billion for states to cover the additional cash assistance that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients needed as a result of the economic crisis.
CREATING PANDEMIC EMERGENCY FUND TO HELP LOW-INCOME FAMLIES WITH CHILDREN
Creating A $1 Billion Pandemic Emergency Fund: The bill establishes a $1 billion Pandemic Emergency Fund, with the fund to be distributed to the states for providing emergency assistance to low-income families with children.
IMPROVING PENSION SECURITY
Stabilizing Multiemployer Pension Plans: The economic crisis caused by the pandemic has undermined many pension plans. The bill stabilizes Multiemployer Pension Plans by creating a special financial assistance program under which cash payments would be made by the PBGC to financially troubled Multiemployer Pension Plans to ensure the plans can continue paying retirees’ benefits, thereby protecting retirees who worked for decades to earn their benefits.
Stabilizing Single Employer Pension Plans: The bill also provides single employer pension plans with certain pension funding relief.
EXTENDING AND IMPROVING VARIOUS OTHER TAX CREDITS
Making A Number of Improvements to the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, for 2021: The bill makes several improvements to the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for 2021, including increasing the amount of child and dependent care expenses that are eligible for the credit to $8,000 for one qualifying individual and $16,000 for two or more qualifying individuals (such that the maximum credits would now be $4,000 and $8,000).
Strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit for Childless Adults, for 2021: The bill 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 eliminates the age cap for older workers, for 2021. This step will benefit 15 million low-income workers like cashiers and delivery drivers.
Extending Employee Retention Credit: The bill extends through December 31, 2021, the Employee Retention Credit, created by the CARES Act, which expired on December 31, 2020.
Extending Payroll Tax Credits for Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family and Medical Leave: The bill extends, from March 31, 2021 to September 30, 2021, the payroll tax credit for employers created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for use to help employers defray the costs of the paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave required for employees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic under that Act.
Support for Struggling Communities
SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS
Increases Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Funding and Expands Eligibility to Ensure It Reaches Nonprofits of All Sizes and Types: The bill includes $7.25 billion in additional funding for PPP and expands eligibility of 501(c) nonprofits of all sizes and types, except for 501(c)4 lobbying organizations.
Creates a Restaurant Revitalization Fund: The bill provides $25 billion for a new program at SBA to offer assistance to restaurants and bars with 20 or fewer locations that have been hit hard by the pandemic. $5 billion is set aside specifically for smaller establishments with less than $500,000 in 2019 annual revenue. During the first 21 days, applications from restaurants owned and operated by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals will receive priority.
Supports Small Businesses By Providing $15 Billion for COVID-19 Emergency Grants Through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program: The bill includes an additional $15 billion for targeted EIDL Advances to help those who applied for relief in 2020 but did not receive the full $10,000 grant.
Establishes the Community Navigator pilot program: this program increases the awareness of and participation in COVID-19 relief programs for business owners currently lacking access, with priority for businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, women, and veterans
State Small Business Credit Initiative: provides $10 billion to support up to $100 billion in small business financing through state, territorial, and tribal government programs. Of this amount, $2.5 billion is dedicated for support to business enterprises owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including minority-owned businesses.
PROVIDING SUPPORT FOR FIRST RESPONDERS AND OTHER ESSENTIAL WORKERS
Providing $350 billion For New Coronavirus Relief Funds To Help Keep First Responders, Frontline Health Care Workers, and Other Essential Workers on the Job: The bill provides $350 billion for new Coronavirus Relief Funds for states, localities, the U.S. Territories, and the Tribal Governments, to help keep critical workers on the job. These critical workers include frontline health care workers, police, firefighters, transit workers, teachers, EMS, and other vital workers who help keep us safe. Since the pandemic began, 1.4 million of these types of workers have lost their jobs, due to the tight budgets caused by the high expenses and reduced revenues created by the pandemic.
Requiring the Funds to Be Used to Address the Pandemic or Its Negative Economic Impacts. The bill provides that the funds are available until expended and must be used to address the pandemic or its negative economic impacts, including to replace revenue lost, delayed, or decreased as a result of the pandemic.
The $350 billion In Funding in the Bill Is Broken Down as Follows:
States: Providing $195.3 billion for the states.
Localities: Providing $130.2 billion for local governments. Under the bill, local governments of every size would receive dedicated allotments.
Tribal Governments: Providing $20 billion to federally recognized tribal governments.
U.S. Territories: Providing $4.5 billion for the U.S. Territories.
PROVIDING CERTAINTY FOR FARM COMMUNITIES, GROWERS, AND PRODUCERS
Strengthens the Food Supply Chains: Provides $3.6 billion for USDA to:
Increases food donations with commodity purchases from farmers for distribution to food banks, nonprofits, or restaurants, to help feed families and support farmers’ bottom lines
Improves worker safety with resources for food and agriculture businesses to purchase personal protective equipment, test kits, and other measures that keep essential food workers safe
Invests in infrastructure that supports food processors, farmers markets, and producers to build resiliency in the food supply in the long term.
Provides Debt Relief for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers: This bill provides $4 billion in USDA farm loan assistance to help farmers and ranchers of color who have faced discrimination for decades and to help them respond to the economic impacts of the pandemic.
Includes Funding to Support Farmers of Color: This bill includes $1 billion in assistance and support for community-based organizations and 1890 Land Grant and other minority-serving institutions that work with farmers of color on land access, financial training, property issues, and training the next generation of farmers, ranchers and forest land owners and operators.
Relief for Rural America’s health needs : This bill provides $500 million in USDA rural initiatives to help hospitals expand vaccine distribution, purchase needed medical supplies, bolsters telehealth capacity and helps hospitals facing lost revenue and high costs.
SUPPORTING TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS’ RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Guarantees Funding to Assist Tribal Governments: This bill includes $20 billion in direct relief to federally recognized tribal governments to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, reduce health inequities, and improve economic opportunities.
Invests in Native American Education and Language Preservation: This bill includes $850 million for grants to Bureau of Indian Education-operated elementary and secondary schools as well as Tribal Colleges and Universities. In addition, $10 million is allocated for emergency grants to support Native American language preservation to ensure elders can continue preserving the vitality of their sacred and diminishing languages during and after the coronavirus pandemic.
Provides $900 Million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA): The bill provides $900 million for essential tribal government services, tribal housing, child welfare assistance, public safety, potable water, and more.
Funds Housing Assistance and Supportive Services for Native Americans: This bill includes $750 million to support the Indian Housing Block Grant and Indian Community Development Block Grant.
Provides Business Supports: This bill provides emergency grants, lending, and investments to eligible tribally-owned businesses, with an additional $500 million tribal set-aside within the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI).
Helps the Indian Health Service Meet Pandemic Health Needs and Address Disparities: This bill includes more than $6 billion for the Indian Health Service, with a focus on equitable and urgent access to vaccines, testing, tracing, and mental health resources.
Strengthens Workplace Protections for Essential Workers: The bill provides the Department of Labor $150 million to implement COVID-19 worker protection programs and continued UI oversight – including at least $75 million for OSHA enforcement.
Ensures Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Frontline Maritime and Federal Workers: Establishes a presumption that COVID-19 is work-related and authorizes eligibility for medical benefits, lost wages and survivor benefits for longshore and shipyard workers as well as federal and postal workers.
SUPPORTING VETERANS AND SERVICEMEMBERS
Makes Key Investments in Our Veterans Impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic:
Ensures veterans will not have any copays or cost-sharing for preventative treatment or services related to COVID-19 going back to April 2020 and authorizes the VA to reimburse those veterans who already submitted payments for their care during this period.
Includes more than $13 billion for VA to provide health care services and other related supports – including suicide prevention, Women’s health services, telehealth expansion, medical facility improvements – to eligible veterans and allows up to $4 billion in spending for the Veterans Community Care Program.
Provides nearly $400 million for up to 12 months of retraining assistance for veterans who are unemployed as a result of the pandemic and do not have access to other veteran education benefits. This funding covers the cost of the rapid retraining program as well as a housing allowance for enrolled veterans.
Includes $272 million for the VA to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the benefits claims and appeals backlog .
Provides emergency paid sick leave for VA’s frontline and essential health workers .
FEMA/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION
FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund: The bill includes $50 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund for reimbursements to state, local, Tribal and territorial governments dealing with ongoing response and recovery activities from the coronavirus pandemic. This funding could be used for vaccination efforts, National Guard deployments, providing PPE to frontline workers, and other FEMA resources and activities necessary to assist communities with the pandemic.
Economic Development Administration: This bill provides $3 billion for the Economic Development Administration to provide support for communities and industries that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
SUPPORTING TRANSIT/AIRLINE INDUSTRY & WORKERS
Invests in Our Nation’s Transit Systems Hard Hit by the Coronavirus Pandemic: Transit ridership plummeted 79 percent in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill includes $30 billion for transit agencies across the country to prevent, prepare and respond to the continued threat of the pandemic.
Keeps Amtrak Fully Operational: This bill includes $1.5 billion to keep Amtrak fully operational through the end of FY 2021, ending worker furloughs and restoring full service. This includes $820 million for the Northeast Corridor and $680 million for the National Network.
Provides Emergency Assistance to Airports and Helps Protect Aviation Industry Jobs: This bill includes:
$8 billion to support airports across the country as well as airport concessions and their employees.
$15 billion to extend the Payroll Support Program through September 30, 2021 stopping furloughs and layoffs for workers employed by airlines, cargo air carriers and contractors servicing air carriers at airports.
$3 billion in temporary payroll support for U.S. aerospace manufacturing companies to help cover the wages, salaries and benefits of manufacturing employees most at risk of being furloughed or laid off as a result of the pandemic.
OTHER CRITICAL HEALTH-RELATED PROVISIONS
Providing $7.6 billion in funding to support COVID-19 response at Community Health Centers.
Providing an additional $3.5 billion for the Indian Health Service.
Providing $800 million to the National Health Service Corps to support primary care health care clinicians in high-need areas.
Providing $240 million to support the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program, which helps support nurses working in critical shortage and underserved areas.
Providing $330 million for Teaching Health Centers that train the medical professionals who serve our most vulnerable populations.
Providing $3.5 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) to be split between the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Community Mental Health block grant programs.
Providing $120 million to be made available to the Indian Health Service for mental and behavioral health prevention and treatment programs.
Providing $280 million for programs that support mental and behavioral health and prevent burnout among health care providers and public safety officers.
Providing $7.6 billion in funding to public health departments to hire 100,000 additional full-time employees into the public health workforce.
Providing $240 million for meeting the public health workforce needs of the Indian Health Service.
Providing $100 million to support the Medical Reserve Corps, which consists of a network of volunteer medical and public health professionals that support emergency response efforts and community health activities.
Providing $500 million to deploy strike teams to help nursing home facilities manage outbreaks of COVID-19 when they occur.
Providing $200 million to the Secretary of HHS for the purpose of carrying out infection control support related to COVID-19 in skilled nursing facilities through quality improvement organizations.
Providing $8.7 billion for Global Health Funding for both bilateral and multilateral efforts to directly combat the virus and slow the threat of mutations by addressing immediate needs such as vaccine development, delivery, and distribution, and supporting health systems.
Providing $580 million for the United Nations Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19.
Providing $800 million for the Food for Peace program.
PROMOTING COVID-19 RELATED RESEARCH
Providing A Total of $750 Million for COVID-Related Research, Including:
Providing $150 million for COVID-19 related research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Providing $600 million for COVID-19 related research at the National Science Foundation.