WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his American Rescue Plan on Thursday. The $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan is expected to provide much-needed relief to the economy by speeding up the vaccine rollout, provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses and include a third stimulus check.
NewsNation’s Aaron Nolan broke down the details of the plan in a live interview with “The Cow Guy”, Scott Shellady, an expert in global finance. You can view the full interview in the player above.
The details of the package are below:
President-elect Biden says his American Rescue Plan aims to:
- Mount a national vaccination program, contain COVID-19, and safely reopen schools, including by setting up community vaccination sites nationwide, scaling up testing and tracing, eliminating supply shortage problems, investing in high-quality treatments, providing paid sick leave to contain the spread of the virus, addressing health disparities, and making the necessary investments to meet the president-elect’s goal of safely reopening a majority of K-8 schools in the first 100 days.
- Deliver immediate relief to working families bearing the brunt of the crisis by sending $1,400 per-person checks to households across America, providing direct housing and nutrition assistance, expanding access to safe and reliable childcare and affordable healthcare, increasing the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance, and giving families with kids and childless workers an emergency boost this year.
- Support communities that are struggling in the wake of COVID-19 by providing support for the hardest-hit small businesses, especially small businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color, and protecting the jobs of the first responders, transit workers, and other essential workers we depend on.
Containing the Virus
- A $20 billion national program would establish community vaccination centers across the U.S. and send mobile units to remote communities. Medicaid patients would have their costs covered by the federal government, and the administration says it will take steps to ensure all people in the U.S. can receive the vaccine for free, regardless of their immigration status.
- An additional $50 billion would expand testing efforts and help schools and governments implement routine testing. Other efforts would focus on developing better treatments for COVID-19 and improving efforts to identify and track new strains of the virus.
Aid to Workers, Individuals
- Stimulus checks of $1,400 per person in addition to the $600 checks Congress approved in December, bringing payments to $2,000.
- A temporary boost in unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures would be extended through September.
- The federal minimum wage would be raised to $15 per hour from the current rate of $7.25 per hour.
- An emergency measure requiring employers to provide paid sick leave would be reinstated. The administration is urging Congress to keep the requirement through Sept. 30 and expand it to federal employees.
- The child care tax credit would be expanded for a year, to cover half the cost of child care up to $4,000 for one child and $8,000 for two or more for families making less than $125,000 a year. Families making between $125,000 and $400,000 would get partial credit.
- $15 billion in federal grants to help states subsidize child care for low-income families, along with a $25 billion fund to help child care centers in danger of closing.
- Put the requirement back in place and eliminate exemptions for employers with more than 500 and less than 50 employees. He will also make it clear that healthcare workers and first responders get these benefits, too. Closing these loopholes in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will extend emergency paid leave to up to 106 million additional workers.
- Provide expanded paid sick and family and medical leave. The president-elect will provide 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; 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.
- Expand emergency paid leave to include federal workers. This measure will provide paid leave protections to approximately 2 million Americans who work for the federal government.
- Provide a maximum paid leave benefit of $1,400 per week for eligible workers. This will provide full wage replacement to workers earning up to $73,000 annually, more than three-quarters of all workers.
- 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.
- $130 billion for K-12 schools to help them reopen safely. The money is meant to help reach Biden’s goal of having a majority of the nation’s K-8 schools open within his first 100 days in the White House. Schools could use the funding to cover a variety of costs, including the purchase of masks and other protective equipment, upgrades to ventilation systems and staffing for school nurses. Schools would be expected to use the funding to help students who fell behind on academics during the pandemic, and on efforts to meet students’ mental health needs. A portion of the funding would go to education equity grants to help with challenges caused by the pandemic.
- Public colleges and universities would get $35 billion to cover pandemic-related expenses and to steer funding to students as emergency grants. An additional $5 billion would go to governors to support programs helping students who were hit hardest by the pandemic.
- $15 billion in grants to more than 1 million small businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic, as well as other assistance.
State and Local Governments
- $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local and territorial governments to help front-line workers.
- $20 billion in aid to public transit agencies.
- $9 billion to modernize information technology systems at federal agencies, motivated by recent cybersecurity attacks that penetrated multiple agencies.
- $690 million to boost federal cybersecurity monitoring efforts and $200 million to hire hundreds of new cybersecurity experts.