Congress is currently considering legislation that would enact the American Rescue Plan outlined by President Biden when he took office last month. Last Friday evening, a House committee released the first draft of a consolidated 600 page bill. The bill expands, extends, or creates several measures designed to address lingering issues with the pandemic and economy.
The bill is under consideration this week by the House, where the Budget Committee voted on Monday to send it to a full floor vote. If the bill passes the House, it will go to the Senate. The Senate would then have to consider the bill under its own processes. Lawmakers are fighting a mid-March deadline, when many pandemic assistance packages passed in 2020 expire.
Taylor English will update our readers on specifics of the proposals as they gain traction, but here are some of the key items in the initial draft bill:
- Expanded and extended unemployment assistance
- Housing aid
- Tax credits to employers for providing optional sick and family leave
- Additional small business loan and grant assistance, including $25B in grants for restaurants, $7B to the PPP loan program, and additional funding for Economic Disaster loans to small businesses
- Aid to schools to re-open safely
- Aid to states and tribal governments
- Money for research, personnel, and logistical support regarding vaccines and testing
- A rise in the minimum wage (which has generated substantial resistance, and could be dropped prior to the House vote)
- Individual stimulus payments, assistance with health insurance premiums, tax credits, nutrition assistance, and other direct benefits to eligible citizens