As the latest round of stimulus checks begins to arrive, we want to provide additional information on what President Biden’s American Rescue Plan means for our members. The $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill will have a major impact on our nation’s recovery from the public health and economic crises brought on by the pandemic, help Oregon balance our state budget (which funds the services we provide and our contracts), and support SEIU 503 members and our families in a variety of ways from child care to vaccinations to rental assistance, and more.
Oregon will receive more than $5.8 billion in American Rescue Plan funding. This funding combined with an improved revenue forecast means that the Oregon Legislature can go from considering budget cuts to identifying areas for additional investment. There’s also much, much more.
The American Rescue Plan will:
- Provide $350 billion for state and local governments, including $4.2 billion total for Oregon.
- Increase direct assistance to households in need across America by $1,400 per person.
- Provide nearly $130 billion to help K-12 schools safely reopen and address lost time in the classroom, including more than $1.1 billion for Oregon.
- Dedicate nearly $40 billion for institutions of higher education, including just over $400 million for Oregon.
- Help families access high-quality childcare by expanding the Child and Dependent Tax Credit (CDCTC) to allow many families to claim up to half of their childcare expenses, including over $400 million for child care funding in Oregon.
- Makes the child tax credit fully refundable, and advanceable, for 2021 and increases the amount to $3,000 per child ($3,600 per child under age 6).
- Provide $2.5 billion in emergency rental assistance, including $223 million for Oregon.
- Provide $7 billion to invest in broadband infrastructure to help schools and libraries ensure that all students can fully participate in remote learning while schools work to safely reopen.
- Expand and extend the emergency paid sick and paid family leave.
- Extend Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation of $300 per week through September 6.
- Extend enhanced SNAP benefits, providing funds to alleviate backlogs and respond to pandemic impacts in our food supply chains.
- Provide resources to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and testing across the country as well as address shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical supplies.
When leaders like Senator Jeff Merkley say the American Rescue Plan is “one of the most progressive and transformative pieces of legislation since the New Deal,” it’s not hyperbole. This legislation is more than a $1,400 check. In addition to extra money in our pockets when we need it most and helping to endure the end of and recover from the pandemic, the American Rescue Plan will cut childhood poverty in half. It helps small businesses survive. It helps working families maintain their housing and food security. It centers equity.
The elements of this historic legislation could have been included in previous federal coronavirus stimulus legislation. But, despite our union and others pleading the case to provide this much-needed relief, the last President and Congress refused to do the right thing for working families. The November election made the American Rescue Plan possible. Our work as a union fighting for pro-worker federal leaders helped to make this happen. While we aren’t out of the woods yet, the American Rescue Plan is a historic step in ensuring the prosperity of every SEIU 503 member and every American – Black, white, and brown.