by Laura Walling, Senior Director of Government Relations, Goodwill Industries International
On the heels of Inauguration Day, in a city under lockdown that is still reeling from the violence at the Capitol and while a pandemic rages on, President-elect Biden unveiled the details of his “American Rescue Plan”. This is the first of a two-part proposal, the second of which will be released in the coming weeks and will focus on recovery.
The $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal is essentially a framework for legislation, which Biden proposes Congress pass. Elements have been taken from some bills previously passed by the House last year, but negotiations will continue on the specifics in the coming weeks before a bill is introduced and voted on.
Nonprofits like Goodwill® could potentially benefit from some of the funding elements within the plan, including grants within an economic development fund and loans within small business lending programs. The plan would continue emergency funding to states and localities from which nonprofits have benefitted already. Lastly, the plan offers a number of measures that would provide direct support of a number of individuals and families that nonprofits serve.
Among the many specific requests in the bill include:
- Direct payments of $1,400 on top of the $600 approved in December
- $400 per week in supplementary unemployment benefits through September
- $440 billion for state and local governments and small businesses
- Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour
- $130 billion to help schools reopen
- $30 billion for rental and small-landlord support
- $25 billion for childcare providers
- Expanded food assistance via extending a 15% increase of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits
- Expanded medical and family leave
- $400 billion for direct pandemic relief such as vaccine distribution, testing and providing schools the resources they need to return to in-person learning
- Expanding tax credits for children and childcare and reducing health insurance premiums
- Providing funding to help victims of domestic violence
Immediately following his remarks, many Democrat lawmakers, including leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, issued press releases supporting the measures, demonstrating a coordinated effort. However, Biden hopes the plan will move through regular order, which will require all Democrats and the support of 10 Republicans in order to reach the 60 vote threshold to be considered on the Senate floor. Stay tuned for additional updates and ways in which you can advocate on behalf of Goodwill and the people we serve as Congress considers these proposals in the days and weeks to come.