Rep. Peters Helps House Pass the American Rescue Plan Act
WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to pass the House version of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, advancing the COVID-19 relief package another step in the budget reconciliation process.
“Our community has been hit hard by this pandemic. The virus has claimed the lives of over 3,230 San Diegans, and nine out of ten small businesses in the region report suffering in the face of COVID-related closures,” said Rep. Peters. “The American Rescue Plan Act will boost vaccine supply and distribution, help reopen schools safely, and get people back to work and the economy back on track. The faster Congress approves a COVID-19 package, the sooner our constituents receive crucial economic aid, businesses can access greater support, and the quicker we can help bring an end to the pandemic.”
“Still, I remain concerned about the imprecise targeting and lack of accountability around some of the funding in this bill,” Rep. Peters continued. “I’m urging the Senate to make commonsense improvements: extend the duration of unemployment payments – ideally with automatic stabilizers, adjust state aid based on real revenue shortfall, and expand funding for the industries bearing the brunt of this crisis, like small restaurants. I want to be confident that we have armed the fight against COVID and provided funding where and when it’s truly needed. This is a good start, but there’s more work to do.”
The American Rescue Plan Act incorporates multiple provisions championed by the lawmaker. The inclusion of Rep. Peters’, Rep. Ami Bera’s (CA-07), and Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s (D-WI) bicameral Tracking COVID-19 Variants Act provides the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with $1.75 billion to rapidly ramp up national genomic sequencing efforts at labs around the country, which is critical to track the virus as new variants emerge.
The bill also includes critical funding for state and local governments. It is estimated that California will receive $26.3 billion, San Diego County will receive $647 million, the City of San Diego will receive $306 million, Poway will receive $9.28 million, and Coronado will receive $4.46 million under the new package. This money can also be used to financially support entities like the Port of San Diego, which expects a loss of $98 million this fiscal year.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 also:
- Increases direct payments to working families by an additional $1,400 per person, bringing the total relief payment to $2,000 when combined with the $600 allocated in December’s relief bill.
- Makes the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for 2021 and increases the annual amount to $3,000 per child.
- Provides $20 billion to establish a national COVID-19 vaccination program that will boost the administration and distribution of vaccines, including $5.2 billion to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for advanced research, development, manufacturing, production, and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, and ancillary medical products.
- Provides $51 billion to scale up COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and mitigation.
- Extends special unemployment benefits through August 29 and boosts the federal supplemental unemployment benefit (FPUC) payments from $300 per week to $400 per week.
- Provides $26 billion for emergency rental assistance, $10 billion to help struggling homeowners, and $5 billion to help pay utility bills for those most in need.
- Invests in food security, including SNAP and WIC benefits.
- Supports small businesses and nonprofits through enhanced investment and eligibility expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), in addition to an added $15 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and the creation of a $25 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
- Provides nearly $130 billion to help K-12 schools reopen safely, plus additional funding to support colleges and universities.
- Improves accessibility and affordability of child care, with $39 billion through the Child Care and Development Block Grant for child care providers and critical funding for Head Start.
- Raises the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.
Click HERE to view Rep. Peters' full remarks on the House floor.