On Thursday, after he signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law, President Joe Biden said, “America is coming back.”
Speaking to the American people in a primetime address, Biden said, “I signed into law the American Rescue Plan, an historic piece of legislation that delivers immediate relief to millions of people. It includes $1,400 in direct rescue checks – payments. That means a typical family of four earning about $110,000 will get checks for $5,600 deposited if they have direct deposit or in a check – a Treasury check.
“It extends unemployment benefits. It helps small businesses. It lowers health care premiums for many. It provides food and nutrition, keeps families in their homes. And it will cut child poverty in this country in half, according to the experts. And it funds all the steps (I) described to beat the virus and create millions of jobs.
“In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be traveling, along with the first lady, the vice president, the second gentleman and members of my cabinet, to speak directly to you, to tell you the truth about how the American Rescue Plan meets the moment.”
Response and Analysis
Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Today, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, approved by the House of Representatives earlier this week, and spoke of a detailed strategy to release the painful grip COVID-19 placed on the country a year ago. The last 12 months have been long and hard. Americans have suffered and died. The hopeful words of the president are backed by deliberate action to get us out of this difficult time faster and stronger. This is the honest, focused federal leadership Americans need to get beyond the pandemic.”
Higgins pointed out Biden’s plan to make every adult in the U.S. eligible for a coronavirus vaccination by May 1. He noted the administration’s plan to double the number of pharmacies participating in the federal vaccination program; doubling the number of federal-run vaccination centers – like the one established at the Delavan Grider Community Center in Buffalo; and adding 700 federally qualified health centers to the vaccine distribution program.
Higgins previously asked the White House to include Western New York’s health centers. Jericho Road Community Health Center and Neighborhood Health Center were included in the first round of vaccination sites. Community Health Center of Buffalo and Niagara Falls was added Thursday.
Earlier this week, Higgins broke down more of the American Rescue Plan.
New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Robert Schneider said, “School districts can look ahead with renewed confidence that they will be able to deliver for their students in the coming year and beyond, thanks to (the) passage of the American Rescue Plan. NYSSBA and its members have consistently advocated for additional stimulus funding.
“This unprecedented, $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package includes an estimated $9 billion for New York’s K-12 schools. What’s more, it also provides crucial funding to support our state and local governments, beyond the austere projections the governor anticipated in his executive budget proposal. That should help to ensure that streams of regular aid will continue to flow from those sources to support schools in the aftermath of the pandemic, and it should help us avoid the "fiscal cliff" that could loom if the federal funding were used merely to replace regular state aid. It is imperative that the new funding supplement, rather than supplant, current funding.
“We have no shortage of priorities facing us as we begin to emerge from a year of disruptions caused by the pandemic and by other stresses affecting our students and our schools.
“The pandemic has heightened our understanding of many critical factors affecting our students’ education and growth, including access to digital technology and safe learning environments that also promote emotional health.
“The American Recovery Plan will provide resources to help local students and their families move forward.”
The New York State School Boards Association represents more than 670 school boards and more than 5,200 school board members in New York. NYSSBA provides advocacy, training and information to school boards in support of their mission to govern the state's public schools.
U.S. Small Business Administration Senior Adviser Michael Roth stated, “The American Rescue Plan Act enables the SBA to continue to lift up the cornerstones of our communities; the mom-and-pop businesses and nonprofits that provide essential services for our everyday lives, hire from within neighborhoods, and more. Our nation’s more than 30 million small businesses are the economic engine of this country and, in alignment with the Biden-Harris administration’s focus on equitable treatment, the SBA will work tirelessly to ensure eligible borrowers will get access to this critical economic relief.”
The American Rescue Plan Act provides additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries for programs the SBA is currently administering and adds new efforts, including:
√ $7.25 billion additional for the Paycheck Protection Program, including to expand eligibility to additional nonprofits and digital news services.
√ Additional funds are allocated for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, and now allows businesses to apply for both a PPP loan after Dec. 27, 2020, and the SVOG.
√ $15 billion additional for Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDL) payments, including a new $5 billion for supplemental targeted EIDL advance payments for those hardest hit.
√ A new $28.6 billion for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for industry-focused grants.
√ A new $100 million to establish a Community Navigator pilot program; grants will go to eligible organizations supporting efforts to improve access to COVID–19 pandemic assistance programs and resources.
SBA’s current relief efforts can be found at www.sba.gov/coronavirusrelief, and more details about these program updates and new efforts the SBA will administer in the coming weeks.