By a vote of 219-212, the House passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan proposed by President Biden. The bill provides $170 billion in dedicated education funding to advance the process of safely returning to in-person instruction at K-12 school buildings and provide institutional and student support at the higher education level to address the health, safety, and financial challenges created by COVID-19; $350 billion in state and local aid to avoid further layoffs of educators and other essential public servants; and $7 billion in emergency funding for the Federal Communications Commission’s E-Rate program to address the “homework gap” and lost opportunities to learn by equipping students and educators with internet access and devices for remote teaching and learning.
Other provisions of the bill include funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to test, track, and vaccinate people; increased Affordable Care Act premium subsidies so people don’t have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for coverage; and increased support for Medicaid, community health centers, and tribal health programs. The bill also provides $1,400 payments to eligible individuals earning under $75,000 a year; and increases supplemental unemployment benefits from $300 to $400 per week, and extends them through August. While the bill also includes a provision that raises the federal minimum wage from $7.75 to $15 per hour by 2025, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the provision violates budget rules and cannot be included in the package. Senate democrats are exploring their options, but will likely need to find another vehicle.
As the action moves to the Senate, Democrats are pushing to enact the law before March 14, when unemployment benefits for more than 11 million workers begin to expire.
Urge the Senate to pass the American Rescue Plan, with $170 billion to ensure safe and just schools for all students—from kindergarten to college.