Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today voted for final passage of the American Rescue Plan, historic legislation that makes investments to crush the virus, create millions of jobs, provide direct relief to working families, and help schools safely open. Pingree previously voted for the legislation when it passed the U.S. House on February 27; today’s vote incorporated the U.S. Senate’s amendments to the relief package.
“The American Rescue Plan is one of the most important pieces of legislation Congress will ever pass. With this vote, 90% of American households will get a stimulus check; schools and local and state governments will receive the funding they so desperately need to fill in the gaps; renters will be able to stay in their homes; families will be able to put food on the table; more vaccine shots will go into arms; and reliable broadband will become more accessible for rural states like Maine. This bill will also cut child poverty in half and create life-changing opportunity for the next generation and their parents,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “Without significant action, the economic damage caused by COVID-19 will last well beyond the pandemic. As someone who has long believed that government can and should be a force for good in our lives, I’m proud to have supported this legislation from the beginning. Maine families will feel lasting relief when this bill is signed into law by President Biden.”
The final version of the American Rescue Plan includes highlights such as:
State and municipal funding: Allocates up to $1.652 billion to Maine’s state and local governments to support strained budgets and prevent cuts to services. These funds include Maine’s allocation from a $10 billion Capital Projects Fund, which supports infrastructure like broadband.
Public health and testing: Includes $46 billion for testing, $7.5 billion for vaccine distribution, $3.4 billion for mental health and substance use care, funding to support providers serving rural and underserved areas
$1,400 stimulus checks: 90% of American households will receive a stimulus check, including adult dependents and college students.
Education funding: $120 billion for elementary and secondary school reopening; $40 billion for higher education; $39 billion for childcare supplemental funding; and $1 billion for Head Start. Maine is estimated to receive $3.5 million for Head Start, $411 million for K-12 education, and $123 million for higher education.
Child care support: $40 billion in Child Care Childcare Stabilization Grants to help providers nationwide keep their doors open and support families struggling to afford care. Maine is estimated to receive $119,000,000 in child care funding.
Support for remote learning: $7.1 billion to reimburse schools and libraries to purchase equipment such as hotspots, internet service, and computers for students and school staff through the FCC’s E-rate program.
Unemployment insurance: Provides an additional $300 in weekly unemployment benefits from the federal government through September 6, 2021, supporting an estimated 50,000 Mainers. Exempts the first $10,200 of supplemental benefits from federal income taxes for those earning up to $150,000.
Family assistance: Expands the Child Tax Credit to $3,000 per child up to age 17 and $3,600 for children under age 6 for 2021. The bill also allows families to claim up to half of their related child care expenses and enhances the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-income people without children.
Increased SNAP benefits: Without the passages of the American Rescue Plan, this increase would disappear at the end of June. Mainers who receive SNAP will see an average increase of $28/person/month; 55% of households that benefit are families with children.
Relief for renters and homeowners: More than $27 billion in rental assistance and $10 billion for homeowner assistance so people can stay in their homes.
Utilities support: $4.5 billion for LIHEAP and $500 million to assist families with water and sewer bills.
COBRA premium coverage: 100% coverage for COBRA premiums through September 30, 2021 so jobless workers can keep their families covered.
Lower cost health care: Increases premium tax credits to lower the cost of health plans available on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.
Student loan tax relief: Provides that, through 2025, any student loan that is forgiven by the lender does not carry an income tax liability (unless the forgiveness was on account of services the borrower provided for the lender).
Economic assistance: $3 billion to help the economy recover from COVID-19 and build resilience for future crises, with a 25% set-aside for industries hard-hit by the pandemic like tourism, travel, hospitality.
Food supply chain and agriculture: More than $4 billion to support food supply chain resilience, including support for seafood processors.
Targeted support for restaurants: Creates the first $25 billion pandemic relief fund specifically for struggling restaurants and bars.
Small Business aid: adds funds for PPP and Targeted EIDL grants; allows businesses to get PPP and venue grants; restarts the State Small Business Credit Initiative
The bill is expected to be quickly signed into law by President Biden.
Enter your email address to get the latest updates