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Legislative Updates

Congress Passes the American Recue Plan

COVID-19 Legislative Updates Legislative Updates
On March 10, the US House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. The Senate passed the bill on Saturday and it now goes to President Biden for his signature, and he has indicated he will sign it. The bill includes, among other things, direct payments, small business assistance, and State and Local Government aid. Below is an overview of what is included in the legislation.
Direct Cash Payments:
  • $1400 in direct payments to individuals making less than $75,000 and couples making less than $150,000. Adult dependents, citizen spouses, and children living in mixed-status families are also eligible. 

Unemployment Insurance: 
  • Extension of current unemployment insurance benefits to September 6, 2021 with the first $10,200 worth of benefits being tax-free for individuals earning up to $150,000. 

State and Local Government Funding:
  • $360 billion in state and local aid to help keep essential workers on the job, assist struggling families and small businesses, and make critical investments in infrastructure.  
  • $6.4 billion for the State of New Jersey, plus another $192 million to expand broadband internet across the state.  
  • An additional $1.8 billion will be split among the 21 county governments and $1.7 billion divided among all 565 cities and municipalities.

  • $14 billion for vaccines and an additional $7.6 billion to hire 100,000 public health workers to administer vaccines and support the pandemic response. 
  • $49 billion for contact tracing, testing, genomic sequencing to track new variants, and monitoring of COVID-19.

Tax Credits: 
  • Includes an expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC)
  • Expands the CTC to $3,600 for each child under six and $3,000 for children under 18, which will benefit an additional 560,000 children in New Jersey
  • CTC is fully refundable for low-income parents.
  • Families can receive credit as monthly payments instead of annual lump sum at the end of the tax year.
  • Largest expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for workers without children in over a decade
  • Nearly triples the maximum credit and extends eligibility to 17 million more low-income workers under 25 without children.
  • Minimum age to claim childless credit dropped to 19 from 25; upper age limit eliminated.
  • Would put more money in the pockets of 354,000 New Jersey workers struggling to get by.
  • Includes Student Loan Tax Relief Act that makes all forgiven student loan debt tax-free.

Small Business Assistance: 
  • $25 billion in targeted assistance to hard-hit restaurants and eateries.
  • $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program; $15 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance grants, $10 billion for the state Small Business Credit Initiative, and $1.25 billion for closed concert and state venues. 
  • Extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit through the end of 2021 to provide up to a $14,000 payroll tax credit per employee.

Schools and Child Care: 
  • $128.55 billion to reopen K-12 schools, upgrade ventilation systems, reduce class size, implement social distancing, purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), hire more staff and avoid teacher layoffs, including $2.75 billion for non-public schools. 
  • $39.58 billion for higher education, requiring colleges to use at least half the money they receive to provide emergency financial aid for students
  • $7.172 billion to help provide internet connectivity and devices to students so they can participate in online learning
  • $24 billion for an emergency stabilization fund to help child care providers to pay staff, rent, purchase PPE and supplies; $15 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program to help child care providers provide financial relief for families help struggling to pay the cost
  • Expands the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit so that working families can receive up to $4,000 for the child care expenses of one child and $8,000 for two or more kids.

  • $21.5 billion for rental assistance, and over $400 million for New Jersey. 
  • $10 billion in mortgage assistance.
  • $5 billion for emergency Housing Choice Vouchers and $5 billion for homelessness funding.
  • $4.5 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, with $500 million to help low-income families pay water bills. 
  • $20 million to support HUD fair housing initiatives and $100 million for Neighborworks to support housing counseling services.

Health Care:
  • Medicaid coverage for women for 12 month postpartum for five years.
  • $500 million for strike teams in skilled nursing facilities.
  • Includes a key provision that creates parity in Medicare payments for hospitals in so-called “all-urban” states, unlocking millions in federal funding for New Jersey hospitals on the frontlines of the pandemic.
  • $150 million for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program to provide staffing, services and supplies for in-home or virtual visits.
  • $7.6 billion for Community Health Centers (CHCs); $200 million for infection control in skilled nursing facilities; over $3.5 billion for behavioral and mental health services; nearly $10 billion in additional support for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services.
  • $10 billion in Defense Production Act (DPA) spending to meet the need for medical supplies and PPE.
  • $35 billion to make the Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan premiums more affordable; $50 million for the Title X program; $100 million in environmental justice grants to address health outcome disparities from pollution and COVID-19.
  • 100% COBRA premium assistance for laid-off workers on employer plans through September; 100% Medicaid coverage for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments with zero cost to patients and fully covers vaccines for one year after the COVID-19 public health emergency ends.

Transportation & Veterans: 
  • $30.5 billion for transit agencies, including $1.5 billion for the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program that is funding replacement of the Portal Bridge.
  • $1.7 billion for Amtrak, including $970 million for the Northeast Corridor (NEC); $8 billion to support airport operations; $15 billion to support airline industry workers.
  • $14.8 billion for Veterans Affairs (VA) health care; $750 million for state veterans homes; $386 million for rapid retraining of unemployed veterans.
  • $272 million for VA claims and appeals processing; $100 million for VA supply chain modernization efforts; $10 million for the VA Office of Inspector General to provide oversight; $1 billion to cover waiver of VA co-pays for treatment provided to eligible veterans

  • $30.4 million to help the Federal Trade Commission crack down on COVID-related scams.
  • Includes the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act, that provides more than $5 billion in debt relief and assistance for farmers of color who have faced widespread and longstanding discrimination and have seen disproportionate impacts from the pandemic.

Should you have any questions, please contact Hilary Chebra, Manager of Government Affairs at  
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