Warren Highlights Key Wins for Massachusetts Families in the $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan
Washington, D.C. - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren
(D-Mass.) highlights key legislative victories for Massachusetts in the
American Rescue Plan. The $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that will
provide approximately $8.1 billion in direct aid for the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, help deliver vaccines, safely reopen schools, and provide
critical relief to Massachusetts families and small businesses.
"Democrats passed a historic relief package that will make a real difference to expand vaccines, safely reopen schools, and help Massachusetts families make ends meet. It's a powerful bill that will make a real difference. This is just the start of what Congress can do for working families and I will continue to fight with every tool in the toolbox to help our families and economy recover," said Senator Warren.
The impact of the American Rescue Plan on Massachusetts below. These figures are based on the Senate Budget Committee data:
- Provides about $15 billion for child care subsidies for families, including essential workers; including $197 million in supplemental CCDBG funding for Massachusetts;
- $24 billion for a child care stabilization fund for grants to providers, including $315 million for Massachusetts;
- $1 billion for Head Start, including $13.6 million for Massachusetts;
- $3 billion in new mandatory funding for child care programs, including an additional $9 million for Massachusetts this year.
- Together with the $10 billion from the December-passed relief bill, and the $3.5 billion provided in the CARES Act, Senators Warren and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) have made good on their push to secure $50 billion for child care. This is the largest federal investment in child care and early learning since World War II.
- Includes $169.5 billion for education. Massachusetts is estimated to receive:
- $1.8 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) relief funding, including $18 million each for summer programs and after-school programs;
- $825 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF) funding for institutions of higher education.
- $27 million in emergency assistance to non-public schools.
- Makes forgiven student loan debt tax-free: excludes from taxable income any student loan debt, including private and institutional loans, that is modified or discharged beginning December 31, 2020 until January 1, 2026 -- saving the average student borrower earning $50,000 in income approximately $2,200 in surprise taxes for every $10,000 of forgiven student loans. This provision paves the way for President Biden to cancel at least $50,000 in federal student loan debt, one of Senator Warren's leading priorities.
- Includes more than $7 billion for E-Rate. This program funds internet access for elementary and secondary schools and libraries. The package incorporates the Emergency Educational Connections Act-legislation to increase K-12 students' home internet connectivity-which Senator Markey introduced and Senator Warren cosponsored.
- Closes the 90/10 loophole: The American Rescue Plan includes language to consider GI Bill benefits and all other federal education support as federal funding for the purposes of the rule that for-profit colleges may receive no more than 90% of their revenue from federal sources.
Aid for State and Local Governments:
- Includes over $300 billion for state and local governments, with $8.1 billion for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' and local governments, to pay for essential services, retain frontline workers, and offset lost revenues and increased costs from the COVID-19 pandemic. This round of funding has much more flexibility than the CARES Act, which provided $150 billion and limited the use of funds to cover emergency-related costs incurred from March 1 through Dec. 30, 2020. State and local recipients can use this new funding to:
- Cover costs incurred due to the emergency - similar to the CARES Act
- Respond to the Covid-19 emergency and address its economic effects - this is a new flexibility
- Replace revenue that was lost, delayed, or reduced relative to revenue projections as of Jan. 27, 2020 - this is a new flexibility.
- Restaurant grants: Provides $25 billion for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund to be administered by the SBA. Eligible recipients would include restaurants, bars, food trucks, and caterers, including businesses in airport terminals and tribally owned entities.
- Increases funding and expands eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program, and would allow forgiveness for additional expenses. The measure increases the program's lending authority by $7.25 billion, to $813.7 billion, and appropriate the same amount for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to guarantee additional loans. In addition to the already covered tax-exempt groups (501(c)(3) charitable organizations, 501(c)(6) business associations, and 501(c)(19) veterans organizations) the measure expands the eligibility rules to cover most other types of tax-exempt groups, including 501(c)(5) labor organizations, 501(c)(7) social and recreation clubs, and 501(c)(8) fraternal benefit societies as well as religious educational groups that might otherwise be barred under SBA rules would be permitted.
- SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program: The measure provides $15 billion for additional advance payments on a staggered schedule.
Economic Impact Payments:
- Includes a $1,400 direct cash payment for individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $2,800 for couples making up to $150,000 per year. Eligible families will also receive an additional $1,400 per dependent. More than 3 million Massachusetts households will receive payments totaling over $7 billion.
- Extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit, as well as the additional weeks of federal unemployment insurance for workers who have exhausted regular state benefits.
- Protects workers and families hardest-hit by the pandemic and economic crisis by exempting the first $10,200 of 2020 unemployment benefits from income for households making under $150,000, saving these households about $25 billion in unexpected tax bills.
- Provides $30 billion in federal transit funding to hardest-hit public transit agencies to help avert layoffs and service cuts.
- Massachusetts will receive over $1 billion in support of urban transit systems. The measure would provide critical funding to transit agencies, who could use the money for operating expenses including payroll costs and purchasing personal protective equipment.
- Provides $4.5 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), over $176 million for Massachusetts. LIHEAP is a vital lifeline to help families heat their homes during the cold winter months.
- Includes the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act, which should benefit some MA-based plans covering an estimated more than 72,000 participants.
- The bill also includes pension relief for community newspapers, which will benefit some Massachusetts community newspapers.
Child Tax Credit (CTC)/Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Expansion:
- Includes a significant one-year increase and expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC): for one year, makes the CTC fully refundable, increases the credit amount from $2,000 to $3,000 for children between 6 and 16 and to $3,600 for children under the age of 6, and allows for advance payment of this credit. An estimated 1.1 million children under the age of 18 in Massachusetts will benefit from the CTC expansion, and it will lift 161,000 children in the state above or closer to the poverty line. Overall, this provision is estimated to cut childhood poverty in the country by half.
- Nearly triples the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for some workers, and -- for the first time -- extends benefits to more than 17 million low-income workers who are not raising children in their home. An estimated 292,000 workers in Massachusetts without children will benefit from the EITC expansion.
Housing & Homelessness:
- Includes more than $20 billion for emergency rental assistance including $362 million for Massachusetts,
- Includes $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers, $5 billion for housing and supportive services for persons experiencing homelessness, and nearly $10 billion for homeowner assistance.
- Last April, Senator Warren and Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) introduced the Public Health Emergency Shelter Act which called for $11.5 billion in additional funding to support the needs of families and individuals experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. The CARES Act included $4 billion in funding - this package brings the total to $9 billion.
- Major funding for Indian Country: This will be the federal government's largest single infusion of dedicated resources into Indian Country in U.S. history, totaling more than $31 billion, including major support for the Indian Health Service. This is consistent with the major investments Senator Warren has previously called for to address the pandemic's impact on Native communities.
- Includes support for medically underserved communities, including mobile vaccination and testing units, data and reporting enhancements, subgrants to nonprofit public health organizations, and $1 billion for a vaccine confidence campaign, in line with the COVID Community Care Act that Senator Warren introduced with Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).
- Funding for Contact Tracing, Testing, and Mitigation: The reconciliation package includes $47.8 billion for contact tracing, testing, and other COVID-19 mitigation efforts Senator Warren pushed for an investment of $10 billion in the nation's contact tracing workforce, including providing $500 million in dislocated worker grants to state, local, territorial, and tribal governments with her Coronavirus Containment Corps Act. She also introduced the Expanding COVID-19 Testing Capacity Act which invests billions of dollars in state, local, territorial, and tribal public health departments and governments to expand the testing workforce, increase the public's access to community-based testing sites, and boost production of tests and PPE. This funding can also be used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at congregate facilities, like correctional facilities and assisted living facilities, which Senator Warren has supported in her Federal Correctional Facilities COVID-19 Response Act and her Assisted Living Coronavirus Reporting Act.
- Funding for Community Health Centers. Senator Warren, joined by Representative Pressley and colleagues, has repeatedly called on House and Senate leadership to provide emergency funding for community health centers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rescue package provides $7.6 billion in COVID-19 funding for community health centers.
- $810 million for Pandemic EBT Benefits to ensure that families with children who normally eat meals at school can continue to receive additional support through the summer
- $227 million for SNAP to extend the 15% increase in SNAP benefits through September.
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