This week, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion bill to help fight the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. President Biden signed the law, which will provide significant assistance to the American people during this unprecedented crisis. Here are 20 ways the American Rescue Plan will help working people:
1. Funds public health: Provides $48.3 billion for testing, contact tracing and personal protective equipment (PPE); $7.5 billion for vaccine distribution; $5.2 billion for procurement of vaccines and supplies; and provides $10 billion to expand domestic production of PPE, vaccines and medical supplies under the Defense Production Act.
2. Increases workplace safety: Provides $200 million for pandemic-related worker protection activities at the Labor Department, half of which would go to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to support OSHA enforcement and worker training in high-risk sectors such as meat processing, health care, correctional facilities and agriculture.
3. Provides relief for state, local and tribal governments: Provides $350 billion in aid to state, local, tribal and territorial governments to help deal with the budgetary impact of the pandemic.
4. Reopens schools safely: Provides $125 billion in state grants to help local educational authorities reopen K-12 public schools safely, address instruction loss and support students as they recover from the effects of the pandemic. Provides $39.6 billion to colleges and universities and their students, at least half of which must be spent on emergency financial aid grants.
5. Makes direct payments: Provides $1,400 in direct payments to individuals making less than $75,000 and married couples making under $150,000, and for dependents claimed on federal tax returns.