American Rescue Plan Highlights

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You’ve surely heard that the latest COVID relief package, The American Rescue Plan, became law this week. Unlike previous relief packages, this one passed along a straight party line vote with Democrats using the reconciliation process to get it through the Senate. With a $1.9 trillion price tag, there’s a lot in this bill – direct payments, child tax credits, money for states and local municipalities to address COVID challenges, and more.

A few things to highlight:

  • Employee Tax Credit: The bill extends through December 31, 2021, the Employee Retention Tax Credit, which had expired last December.
  • Expansion of Tax Credits for Paid Sick Leave & Paid Family Medical Leave: This tax credit is extended from 31 March to 30 September 2021, to help cover the cost of leave for employees impacted by COVID.
  • PPP Loans: Funding for the Paycheck Protection Program was increased by $7.25 billion. It did not extend the deadline to apply beyond March 31 but there are bipartisan efforts in Congress to extend the deadline.
  • EIDL: $15 billion was allocated for targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Advances to help those who applied for relief in 2020 and did not receive the full advance.

One of the provisions we will continue to track is the $22 billion allocated to USDA for agricultural supply chain “resiliency,” which is lumped in with nutrition assistance. Specifically, the bill includes $4 billion to address major pandemic-related disruptions throughout the supply chain, investment in new infrastructure for farmers, and protect farm workers on the job.

As we’ve reported, the $15 minimum wage was removed from the original package, as the Senate parliamentarian ruled that it could not be included through reconciliation. Any increase in the minimum wage will have to be passed with the 60-vote threshold.

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