US Senate News:
Source: United States Senator for Massachusetts Ed Markey
Washington (March 6, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement after voting for the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that passed the U.S. Senate today.
“Despite unanimous Republican opposition, today Democrats delivered on our promise to the American people with a much-needed and long-overdue $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The American Rescue Plan is a life raft for millions of families, small business owners, and essential workers and will help prevent a disastrous wave of foreclosures, hunger, unemployment, and death because of this pandemic.
“We are extending unemployment insurance, rental assistance, and low-income home energy funding so that our families get through the remainder of the winter. And a $1,400 check acts as a vital down payment to help families cover rent, put food on the table, and pay for diapers and medication. But our direct cash assistance shouldn’t be limited to just this latest payment. We need recurring payments and to expand the number of Americans who are able to obtain this tangible relief. And we will not stop until we pass at least a $15 federal minimum wage, and that includes abolishing the filibuster to ensure we give our workers a raise.
“This package will help get more Americans vaccinated, including providing our states and cities the funding to distribute the vaccine, balance their budgets, and keep teachers, firefighters, and bus drivers on the job. We provide additional support for small businesses, including for restaurants and bars that feed and nourish us but have themselves been starving for support.
“I am proud that the rescue package includes my legislation – the Emergency Educational Connections Act – that will send more than $7 billion in funding to connect students to the internet through my E-rate program as students continue to learn from home during this pandemic. I also secured millions in funding for researchers impacted by the pandemic so that we don’t lose the mantle of global scientific research leadership.
“The American people are desperate for help right now, and today we are telling them that your government is here for you. This package will help millions survive this pandemic, but our job is to help them thrive, so we cannot stop here. The multiple crises our country is confronting – economic, climate, racial justice, and health care – demand we turn to a recovery and jobs creation package that is bold, intersectional, and invests aggressively in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.
“President Biden and Vice President Harris inherited a disaster from Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. They built a broad bipartisan consensus around commonsense relief everywhere in America other than the U.S. Congress. The exercise the Senate endured over the last 24 hours is just another reason we must abolish the filibuster. But the last days and hours also prove that Democrats will do whatever it takes to deliver the relief we promised people when they elected us. And we are just beginning.”
The American Rescue Plan provides:
- $300 a week in unemployment insurance benefits, extended through September 6. This agreement also provides tax relief to workers who received unemployment insurance compensation by making the first $10,200 of unemployment insurance benefits non-taxable.
- $1,400 direct cash payment per adult and an additional $1,400 per dependent for low- and moderate-income households, phasing out for individual incomes between $75,000 and $80,000 and couples between $150,000 and $160,000
- $50 billion for testing, genomic sequencing of variants, and contact tracing efforts, as well as manufacturing and procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- $20 billion for improving vaccine administration and distribution
- $10 billion for the Defense Production Act to procure essential PPE and other medical equipment
- $25.2 billion investment in underserved communities and communities of color to address racial and ethnic disparities and promote health equity
- $350 billion for states, localities, Tribal nations, and U.S. territories
- $20 billion in emergency rental assistance and $4.5 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- $25 billion in a new Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which will provide grants to help local restaurants keep their doors open and workers employed
- $170 billion to help K-12 schools and institutions of higher education reopen safely for in-person learning and address students’ needs
- $1 billion for emergency assistance for children, families, and workers through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program
- Extension of the 15% benefit increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through the end of September
- An increase in the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 to $3,000 for children between 6 and 16. The agreement also creates a $3,600 tax credit for eligible children below the age of 6, and allows children who are 17 years old, and typically ineligible for the tax credit, to benefit for 2021.