Federal Policy Update: American Rescue Plan, American Jobs Plan & American Families PlanLeave a Comment
President Biden’s first 100 days in office have been busy! The federal response packages keep coming and it is a challenge to keep track (for us too!). Below are some resources explaining what is included in each plan, what you can expect as a next step, and how you can keep up with proposed legislation. Because of many sweeping federal changes included here, Voices’ team will do more topic-specific presentations and blogs to break down these changes.
CARES and Consolidated Appropriations Act/CRSSA: Approved
As a review, two significant funding packages were approved in 2020. The $2.2 trillion CARES Act approved in March 2020 and the $2.3 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act approved in December 2020 with both COVID-19 relief and on-going federal funding. These funds are approved and allocated to the respective agencies for use. In most cases, the state or local agency receiving the funds has already determined how they will use the funds but the actual resources could be spent over a longer period of time; through 2022 or 2023.
Read more about appropriations for families in the CARES Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act health and human services provisions.
American Rescue Plan (ARPA): Approved
Congress approved $1.9 trillion in March 2021 through the American Rescue Plan to build on the existing COVID relief funds with a particular emphasis on an equitable recovery for economically disadvantaged families. The American Rescue Plan includes three types of funding: 1) flexible funding to states and local governments, 2) tax credits/direct payments to individuals and 3) resources to state agencies to increase specific federal programs.
- Virginia Impact: Since the American Rescue Plan was approved after the General Assembly Session ended most of the plans and allocations have not yet been determined by state agencies. In some cases, federal guidance is not yet available on the use of the funds. The General Assembly has indicated they will return for a Special Session in June to weigh in on the uses of the American Rescue Plan funds.
- Family Impact: Because this plan includes changes to tax policy and government programs, families should be aware that resources will be made available by filing taxes AND seeking assistance through support networks such as CommonHelp, CoverVA or local human services agencies.
- Tax help: Find out where you can get help filing taxes or start your return online with free tax prep software.
- Other assistance: Apply for health insurance, food assistance, cash assistance and child care assistance through CommonHelp.
- Are you missing a tax credit payment you think you might be eligible for? Check here!
Read more from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities about the comprehensive provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act and the APHSA on the provisions targeted to families and children.
American Jobs Plan: PROPOSED
On March 31, 2021 President Biden released the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan focused on the physical infrastructure and human infrastructure for economic growth. The plan includes funding for physical improvements of housing, schools and child care and workforce development programs. This plan will need to be introduced as legislation for Congress to act.
Read a summary of the American Jobs Plan from the Coalition for Human Needs.
American Families Plan: PROPOSED
On April 28, 2021 President Biden released the American Families Plan, a comprehensive proposal targeted to economically disadvantaged families and youth offering direct assistance, free higher education, universal preschool, expanded child care access and expanded paid family medical leave. This plan will need to be introduced as legislation for Congress to act. The legislation includes proposals to raise individual and corporate taxes to pay for these investments.
Read a summary of the American Families Plan from WhiteHouse.gov.
How Advocates Can Engage
- At the state level, advocates will be asked to contact state delegates and senators to support proposed uses of the funds provided in the American Rescue Plan at a Special General Assembly Session in June 2021.
- At the federal level, advocates will be asked to contact Congressional representatives and their senators to support legislation that will be introduced with the proposals included in the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. Congress has expressed an urgency to act on this legislation, likely over the summer of 2021.
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