On Thursday, January 14, President Biden released a COVID-19 plan to respond to the health care and economic crises. Democrats in Congress have said that another COVID-19 stimulus package is among their top priorities during President Biden’s first 100 days in office.
While President Biden and Congress are hopeful that a stimulus package will be bipartisan, it would take 10 Republican senators to support the package. As such, Democrats on Capitol Hill are also considering passing a COVID-19 package through reconciliation, a procedure that would allow them to pass the package with just 51 votes in the Senate.
Below is a high-level summary of some of the provisions relevant to our clients in Biden’s COVID-19 plan, which he calls the “American Rescue Plan.”
Support for Individuals
Calls for $1,400 stimulus checks to be sent to American people across the country. The last COVID-19 package signed by President Trump provided $600 economic impact payments, so the total stimulus payment for the last 2 months would be $2,000. Some individuals have already received payment based on their adjusted gross incomes from previous pandemic legislation.
Calls for an increase in tax credits to help cover the cost of childcare
Asks for a raise in the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit for childless adults from roughly $530 to close to $1,500 and raise the income limit for the credit from about $16,000 to about $21,000
Health Care Resources
$20 billion for a national United States vaccination program in partnership with states, localities, Tribes and territories.
$50 billion to expand testing, providing funds for the purchase of rapid tests and other efforts
Fund 100,000 public health workers
Provide health services for underserved populations, including expanding Community Health Centers
Funding to increase our country’s surveillance and outbreak analytics capacity
$30 billion into the Disaster Relief Fund to ensure sufficient supplies and protective gear
$10 billion investment in expanding domestic manufacturing for pandemic supplies, including through the Defense Production Act
$11 billion to support to the international health and humanitarian response and mitigate the pandemic’s devastating impact on global health
$20 billion to Indian Country to support Tribal governments’ response to the pandemic
Higher Education Funding
$35 billion in funding to be directed to public institutions, including community colleges, as well as, public and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions. This funding will provide millions of students up to an additional $1,700 in financial assistance from their college.
$5 billion in funds for governors to use to support educational programs and the learning needs of students significantly impacted by COVID-19, whether K-12, higher education, or early childhood education programs.
Support for State and Local Government
$350 billion in additional state and local aid. Funds could be used to pay front-line public workers, distribute vaccines, expand testing, reopen schools, and “maintain other services.” Territorial governments would be included.
Help for Small Businesses and Economic Development
$15 billion in flexible grants to help small businesses get back on their feet
$35 billion in government funds to successful state, local, tribal, and non-profit small business financing programs
Reimburse employers with less than 500 employees for the cost of paid leave
$3 billion for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to provide resources directly to state and local government entities, tribal institutions, institutions of higher education, and non-profits to fund initiatives that support bottom’s up economic development
Support for Individuals with Disabilities
Calls for the phasing out of sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities.
Provides funding for states to deploy strike teams to long-term care facilities experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks
$9 billion investment to help the U.S. launch major new IT and cybersecurity shared services at the Cyber Security and Information Security Agency (CISA) and the General Services Administration (GSA)
$200 million will allow for the rapid hiring of hundreds of cybersecurity experts to support the federal Chief Information Security Officer and U.S. Digital Service
$300 million in no-year funding for Technology Transformation Services in the General Services Administration
$690 million for CISA to bolster cybersecurity across federal civilian networks
The best lobbying firms have been working throughout the pandemic to help secure the essential support their partners’ need. This includes measures that respond to both the economic and health consequences of the pandemic. Ridge Policy Group was able to secure provisions in past COVID-19 stimulus packages that support our clients, and we are working hard to ensure that their needs are met in the future as well.
This post was written for Ridge Policy Group, a top government affairs firm, by Zaida Ricker. Zaida works in the Washington, DC, RPG office and manages about half of the firm’s federal government and public affairs clients.