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Pingree to Vote for American Rescue Plan Supported by Supermajority of Americans, Economists Predict Will Create 10 Million Jobs

House Budget Reconciliation Package Includes First Livable Wage Increase in 12 Years, $1400 Survival Checks

With the U.S. House scheduled to vote on the American Rescue Plan this evening, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) affirmed her intention to vote for the relief package, which 76 percent of Americans support and economists estimate will create 10 million American jobs. Pingree noted that the plan will deliver direct relief to Mainers struggling with pandemic hardships; expand vaccine distribution; help schools operate safely; and deliver an estimated $1.037 billion to Maine and $648 million to Maine’s municipal governments. 

“With high unemployment and interest rates at zero, economists have made it clear that we cannot afford to go small with this stimulus package. The pandemic has claimed over 500,000 American lives and destroyed the livelihoods of millions. In Maine, more than 700 people have died from this deadly virus, a quarter of residents are behind on their rent, an estimated 215,000 are grappling with food insecurity, and more than 100,000 lost their jobs at some point in 2020. The cost of inaction is unacceptable,” said Pingree. “So tonight, I will vote for the American Rescue Plan to put money in the pockets of Mainers who are in crisis, make investments to stabilize our economy, and crush the virus with funding to improve testing and vaccine distribution. We are just days away from pandemic unemployment benefits running out. Last year Republicans stalled a stimulus package so long it caused a painful lapse in jobless benefits. It would be irresponsible for us to allow that to happen again, especially when economists estimate that investing in job-seekers could create or save over five million jobs.”

As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, Pingree sits on one of the 12 House committees that was charged with drafting the budget reconciliation relief package. “The work the Agriculture Committee undertook last week is critical to address widespread food insecurity and protect the essential workers who grow, harvest, and process our food,” said Pingree said.

Highlights from the House Agriculture Committee’s Budget Reconciliation Package which Congresswoman Pingree helped to craft include:

  • Increases in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by 15% for 3 more months
  • $500 million in grants to rural hospitals and health providers to assist with vaccine distribution and other critical public health needs
  • $3.6 billion for food supply chain resilience, including loans and grants for measures to protect workers 
  • Inspection overtime fee relief to small meat and poultry processors

Other highlights in the full Budget Reconciliation Package:

  • State and Local Aid. Allocates $195.3 billion for states, with Maine estimated to receive $1.037 billion; $130.2 billion divided evenly between cities and counties, with Maine localities estimated to receive $648 million; $20 billion for federally recognized Tribal governments. 
  • Direct stimulus checks. Includes additional direct payments of $1,400 for Americans, raising the total recent relief to $2,000 for many.
  • Education funding. Provides $170 billion for K-12 schools and higher education institutions to ensure that students can learn safely.
  • Public health infrastructure. Invests $50 billion to bolster testing and an additional $20 billion to improve vaccine administration and distribution.
  • Support for unemployed Americans. Extends federal unemployment benefits through August, 29 2021, increases the supplemental weekly benefit from $300 to $400, and further subsidizes COBRA benefits.
  • Expanded tax credits. Expands the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for workers without children, approximately tripling the maximum credit.
  • Child care affordability. Expands the Child Tax to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for children under 6); also expands the Child and Dependent Tax Credit (CDCTC). Provides more than $40 billion in stabilization funds to help providers keep their doors open and support families struggling to afford child care. 
  • Strengthens the ACA. Increases Affordable Care Act premium tax credits for the next two years, reducing health care premiums for middle class Americans.
  • Rental assistance. Provides $25 billion in emergency rental assistance and other supports to keep families from losing their homes during the pandemic.
  • Drinking and wastewater assistance. Provides $500 million to help low income and other consumers with payments for wastewater and drinking water expenses.
  • Increased broadband access. Includes an additional $7.6 billion of support to eligible schools and libraries to provide internet service and hot spots to students and teachers.
  • Small business aid. Provides $50 billion in relief for small business, including $25 billion for a new SBA program for restaurants and other food and drinking establishments. 
  • Support for cultural institutions. Includes $135 million each for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, along with $200 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, to support heavily impacted organizations.




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