American Rescue Plan - COVID-19 Relief
State and Local Aid
The bill contains a total of $350 billion for the Coronavirus Relief fund - direct aid to states, counties, and cities. There is a total of $130.2 billion for counties and cities, divided evenly. Counties will receive a total of $65.1 billion in aid. Allocations will be determined based on population. Local governments will have the ability to sub-allocate funds. Each county will receive their portion of the funds in two equally sized tranches. The first tranche will be delivered not later than 60 days after the
enactment of the bill. The second tranche will be delivered not earlier than 12 months after the delivery of the first tranche. Funds may be expended through December 31, 2024, and may be used:
1. To respond to the public health emergency with respect to the COVID-19 emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality.
2. To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers of the county that are performing such essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work.*
3. For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year of the county prior to the emergency.
4. To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
*Premium pay is defined as an amount of up to $13 per hour that is paid to an eligible worker, in addition to wages that the eligible worker otherwise received. The amount of premium pay for an eligible worker may not exceed $25,000 in total.
Funds may not be used to make deposits into pensions or to offset any new tax cuts.
State and local governments are allowed to transfer to a private nonprofit organization, a public benefit corporation involved in the transportation of passengers or cargo or a special-purpose unit of State or local government.
In addition to the above, the Senate bill includes $1.5 billion for eligible revenue share counties (notably public land counties that receive Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural School (SRS) payments), with $750 million allotted each year for federal Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023.
Critical Capital Projects
Additionally, the Senate bill includes $10 billion for states to carry out critical capital projects until expended, specifically related to enabling work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Each state would receive a minimum of $100 million. States would receive an additional allocation based on population (50 percent), number of individuals living in rural areas as a percentage of the U.S. rural population (25 percent), and proportion of the state’s population of households living in poverty.
The bill provides:
● $7.5 billion for the CDC to support state, local, tribal, and public health departments and community health centers in the distribution of vaccines. An additional $1 billion is provided to the CDC to strength vaccine confidence by investing in information distribution and education.
● $7.5 billion to FEMA to establish vaccination sites across the country.
● $500 million for USDA rural initiatives to help hospitals expand vaccine distribution, purchase needed medical supplies, expand telehealth capacity, and assist hospitals facing lost revenue and high costs.
Testing and Contact Tracing
The bill provides:
● $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.
● $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.
Nearly $130 billion is provided to ensure K-12 schools reopen safely. Funding can be used to:
● Repair ventilation systems, reduce class sizes and implement social distancing guidelines, purchase personal protective equipment, and hire 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;
● Requires states to award K-12 funds to local school districts no later than 60 days after receipt and school districts to develop plans that ensure schools return to in person learning;
● Dedicates $800 million to help meet the needs of homeless young people;
● Funds evidence-based summer enrichment at $1.3 billion and afterschool support initiatives also at $1.3 billion;
● Allocates $3 billion for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and
● Provides $2.75 billion for states to award grants to private K-12 schools.
The bill includes almost $40 billion for institutions of higher education to help make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic. Institutions must dedicate at least half of all funding toward emergency financial aid grants to help prevent hunger, homelessness, and other hardships facing students as a result of the pandemic. Any future student loan forgiveness passed between December 2020 and January 2026 has been or will be designated as non-taxable income.
School and Library Broadband
The bill provides $7.1 billion to reimburse schools and libraries to purchase equipment such as hotspots, internet service, and computers on behalf of students and patrons. Funds will be administered by the Federal Communications Commission through its E-rate program to ensure funds are administered quickly and equitably.
Housing, Rental Assistance, and Homelessness
The bill provides $27.5 billion for Emergency Rental Assistance, including $22.5 billion for allocations to states, territories, counties, and cities. This would flow similar to H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act passed in December. The expenditure deadline for emergency rental assistance funds allocated in H.R. 133 will be extended from the original deadline of December 31, 2021, until September 30, 2022. Emergency rental assistance funds from the American Rescue Plan will be available until September 30, 2025.
● $4.75 billion will go to HUD for homelessness funding to be distributed through the HOME Investment Partnerships program. These flow as formula grants to state and local governments.
● $5 billion will go to HUD for emergency housing choice vouchers.
● $10 billion will go to the Homeowner Assistance Fund and allocated to states to provide homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments with direct assistance for mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing-related costs.
● $4.5 billion in emergency funding will be allocated to LIHEAP.
The bill provides $1 billion for TANF for states to provide short-term targeted aid, including cash assistance, to families in crisis.
Assistance to Low Income Families with Children
The bill creates a $1 billion Pandemic Emergency Fund to be distributed to states for providing emergency assistance to low income families with children.
The bill extends the 15% SNAP benefit increase through September 30, 2021 (currently set to expire June 30). An additional $1.1 billion will be allocated for the administration of state SNAP programs over the next three fiscal years. The bill extends the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program through the summer and provides an additional $800 million for WIC to fund a temporary 4-month increase in the value of WIC food vouchers. It expands the age of eligibility for the USDA’s Child and Adult Care
Food Programs to ensure young adults can access nutrition support.
The bill provides a 100% FMAP for states that opt to provide coverage to the uninsured for COVID-19 vaccines and treatment without cost sharing and an enhanced FMAP for states that expand Medicaid programs to cover mobile crisis intervention services for individuals experiencing mental health or substance use disorders. The bill also increases FMAP by 7.35% for states to improve Medicaid home-and community-based services for one year.
Child Care and Early Learning
The bill provides $39 billion through the Child Care and Development Block Grant for child care providers and provides financial relief for families struggling to cover tuition. The legislation increases the annual funding level for the Child Care Entitlement to States, from $2.917 billion per year to $3.550 billion per year. It also waives the state match requirement for funds for fiscal years 2021 and 2022. The bill provides $1 billion for the Head Start program.
Child Tax Credit
The bill expands the 2021 child tax credit to $3000 annually per child aged 6-17 and $3600 for children under 6 and makes the credit fully refundable in 2021. Treasury will be instructed to issue the credit in the form of periodic payments starting as early as July 2021. Payments are phased down for single filers earning more than $75,000, head of household filers earning more than $112,500, and joint filers earning more than $150,000.
Earned Income Tax Credit
The bill raises the maximum 2021 Earned Income Tax Credit for childless adults from roughly $530 to close to $1500, raises the income limit for the credit from about $16,000 to about $21,000, and eliminates the age cap for older workers.
Employee Retention Tax Credits
The bill extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit through December 31, 2021 (originally expired December 31, 2020). The bill also includes improvements to the credit including help for start-up businesses and expanding the credit to include employees who are working but whose businesses have suffered significant revenue losses due to COVID-19.
Paid Leave Credit
The bill extends through September 30 tax credits for employer-provided paid sick and family leave, which were established under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The value of the credits will be increased to match an employer’s share of contributions to defined benefit plans and registered apprenticeship programs. The bill makes state and local governments eligible for these credits.
The extension of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits was slightly slimmed down in the Senate version of the bill. Now, the bill provides $300 per week in supplemental unemployment aid through September 6, 2021. The House-passed version of the bill would have funded $400 a week and would have expired on August 29, 2021.
The bill also exempts up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits received in 2020 from federal income taxes for households making less than $150,000.
Direct Payments to Individuals
Individuals will receive $1,400 per person, bringing the total relief to $2,000 per person. (In December, Congress enacted a COVID relief package that provided a direct payment of $600 per person.) 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. The payment phases out with individuals earning $80,000 and the limit for couples is $160,000.
Paycheck Protection Program
The bill includes $7.25 billion in additional lending authority for PPP and expands eligibility to include 501(c) nonprofits of all sizes and types, except for 501(c)4 lobbying organizations.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund
The bill increases the funding allocation for a new program at the SBA to offer assistance to restaurants and bars impacted by the pandemic from $25 billion to $28.66 billion. Five billion of those funds are set aside for smaller establishments with less than $500,000 in 2019 annual revenue. During the first three weeks, applications from restaurants owned and operated by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals will receive priority consideration.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
The bill provides $15 billion for targeted EIDL advances to help those entities who applied for relief in 2020 but did not receive the full $10,000 grant.
Community Navigator Pilot Program
The bill establishes the Community Navigator Pilot Program to increase the awareness of and participation in COVID-19 relief program for business owners currently lacking access, with priority for businesses owned by economically disadvantaged individuals, women, and veterans.
Expanded Health Coverage
The bill removes the ACA Marketplace 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 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. The bill also provides an amended version of the House provision providing COBRA subsidies. Whereas the House bill provided an 85% subsidy for individuals who lose their job and choose to use COBRA to continue their existing employer-sponsored health coverage, the Senate bill provides a 100% subsidy. 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.
The bill creates a special financial assistance program under which payments would be made by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to financially-troubled Multiemployer Pension Plans to ensure plans can continue paying retirees’ benefits. It provides pension relief funding to single employer pension plans.
Farm Communities, Growers, and Producers
The bill provides $3.6 billion to USDA to:
● Increase food donations with commodity purchases from farmers for distribution to food banks, nonprofits, or restaurants, to help feed families and support farmers;
● Improve worker safety with resources for food and agriculture businesses to purchase PPE, test kits, and other measures that keep essential workers safe; and
● Invest in infrastructure that supports food processors, farmers markets, and producers to build long term resiliency in the food supply.
The bill also includes $4 billion in USDA farm loan assistance to assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
The bill includes $1 billion in assistance and support for CBOs 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.
FEMA/Economic Development Administration
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.
● Limited funeral assistance for families who lost a loved one due to COVID, at 100% federal cost share.
● $510 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Funds will be used to support homeless service providers for overnight shelter, meals, assistance to food banks and pantries, and one month of rental, mortgage, or utility assistance to prevent evictions or service cuts.$110 million of that $510 million is provided to support communities and organizations assisting migrant families and individuals during the COVID-19 emergency.
● $3 billion for the Economic Development Administration to provide support for communities and industries that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Transit and Airlines
The bill includes:
● $30 billion for transit agencies across the country to prevent, prepare and respond to the continued threat of the pandemic.
● $1.52 billion to keep Amtrak fully operational through the end of FY 2021, ending worker furloughs and restoring full service.
● $8 billion to support airports across the country as well as airport concessions and their employees.
● $15 billion is included to extend the Payroll Support Program through September 30, 2021, stopping furloughs and layoffs for workers employed by passenger airlines 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.
The bill includes:
● $7.6 billion in funding to support COVID-19 response at Community Health Centers.
● $3.5 billion for the Indian Health Service.
● $1.4 billion for Older Americans Act funding to support community-based and in-house services for older adults struggling during the pandemic.
● $800 million to the National Health Service Corps to support primary care health and diversify our nation’s clinician workforce.
● $240 million to support the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program, which helps support nurses working in critical shortage and underserved areas.
● $330 million for Teaching Health Centers that train the medical professionals who serve our most vulnerable populations.
● $150 million for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program to improve the development, health and well-being of at-risk families with young children.
● A provision allowing states, for five years, to extend Medicaid eligibility to women for 12 months postpartum.
Behavioral and Mental Health Services
The bill includes:
● $1.5 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant program.
● $1.5 billion for the Community Mental Health block grant program.
● $420 million for certified community behavioral health clinics.
● $280 million for programs that support mental and behavioral health and prevent burnout among health care providers and public safety officers.
● $120 million for Indian Health Service mental and behavioral health prevention and treatment programs.
● $100 million for Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) mental health services.
● $80 million specifically for the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program at HRSA.
Public Health Jobs Program
The bill includes:
● $7.6 billion in funding to public health departments to hire 100,000 additional full-time employees into the public health workforce.
● $240 million for meeting the public health workforce needs of the Indian Health Service.
● $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.
Skilled Nursing Facilities
The bill provides:
● $500 million to deploy strike teams to help nursing home facilities manage outbreaks of COVID-19 when they occur.
● $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.
● $600 million for COVID-19 related research at the National Science Foundation.