Financial Help

Another Look at the American Rescue Plan


The plan the President will provide includes over 14 weeks of paid sick and family and medical leave to help parents with additional caregiving responsibilities when a child or loved one’s school or care center is closed. It is also for people who have or are caring for people with COVID-19 symptoms, or who are quarantining due to exposure and for people needing to take time to get the vaccine.

Mar 3rd 2021
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President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is ambitious, and will try to rescue the American economy and start beating the virus. Congress should act expeditiously to help working families, communities, and small businesses persevere through the pandemic.

The paid leave portion of this relief effort will provide a maximum paid leave benefit of $1,400 per-week for eligible workers. This will offer full wage replacement to workers earning up to $73,000 annually, more than three-quarters of all workers. It will also:

  • Reimburse employers with less than 500 employees for the cost of this leave. Extending the refundable tax credit will reimburse employers for 100 percent of the cost of this leave.
  • Reimburse state and local government for the cost of this leave.
  • Extend emergency paid leave measures until September 30, 2021. With so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, extending paid leave until the end of September will help to limit the spread of COVID-19 and provide economic security to millions of working families.

Congress did the right thing by continuing expanded eligibility and extending the number of weeks unemployed workers can receive benefits. One study estimates that extending pandemic unemployment insurance programs through 2021 could create or save over five million jobs.

But these benefits are set to expire in weeks — even as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens. Millions of Americans are receiving benefits through unemployment insurance programs that will no longer serve new beneficiaries starting in mid-March.

To help address the childcare affordability crisis, President Biden is calling on Congress to expand child care tax credits on an emergency basis for one year to help working families 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 refundable, meaning that families who don’t owe a lot in taxes will still benefit. The full 50 percent reimbursement will be available to families making less than $125,000 a year. And, all families making between $125,000 and $400,000 will receive a partial credit so they receive benefits at least as generous as those they can receive today.

Small businesses sustain half of the private sector jobs in America and they have struggled in the wake of COVID-19. Nationally, small business revenue is down 32 percent and at least 400,000 firms have permanently closed. To help hard-hit firms survive the pandemic and fully recover, President Biden is calling on Congress to:

• Provide grants to more than 1 million of the hardest hit small businesses. This $15 billion in flexible, equitably distributed grants will help small businesses get back on their feet, put the current disaster behind them and build back better.

• Leverage $35 billion in government funds into $175 billion in additional small business lending and investment. With a $35 billion investment in successful state, local, tribal, and non-profit small business financing programs, Congress can generate as much as $175 billion in low-interest loans and venture capital to help entrepreneurs — including those in the clean energy sector — innovate, create and maintain jobs, build wealth, and provide the essential goods and services that communities depend on.

This passed the House, however with the Senate split at 50/50 and Kamala Harris being the deciding vote every Democrat would have to vote yes on this plan. That wasn’t true in the House.  We will see what happens in the next few weeks.

Update: On March 3 it was reported that, President Joe Biden agreed to curtail which Americans will get stimulus checks in the latest COVID-19 aid package, with the president making a deal with moderate Democratic lawmakers who expressed concerns about money going to people who aren't in dire need. Individuals making $80,000 a year now won't get the direct payments from the federal government, while the cutoff for joint filers will be $160,000.

Here also is the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy's analysis of the Senate proposal for the American Rescue Plan's cash payments 

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