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Congressional Action

Congressional Action During the Coronavirus Pandemic: The American Rescue Plan

The American Rescue Plan provides a lifeline to our nation’s children, families, and our communities. It helps distribute vaccinations to everyone and puts money in people’s pockets. It will ensure that Connecticut schools have the resources they need to safely return to in-person learning and gives people opportunities to return to work. This landmark legislation is focused on crushing the virus, so that we can build back from the pandemic and it forever changes the way that our nation supports both middle class families and children in poverty by expanding the child tax credit.

The provisions that I have outlined below are critical to Connecticut’s working families:

  • District Relief
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Childcare
  • Small Businesses
  • Housing Assistance
  • Food Security

District Relief:

More than 2 million adults and 739,000 children in Connecticut have or will shortly receive economic impact payments of up to $1,400 per person (on top of the $600 per person provided in December). Additionally, the plan extends and expands federal unemployment benefits through September 6, 2021, helps Americans afford health coverage, provides relief for K-12 schools, and expands the Child Tax Credit.

Child Tax Credit:

Eighteen years — almost to the day — after I first introduced the expanded Child Tax Credit, both the Senate and the House have passed it as part of President Biden’s COVID relief package. My work on the Child Tax Credit is rooted in my desire to harness the power of the federal government to provide for the least among us. Through nutrition, child care, health care, the social safety net, or our tax code—this is about families and how we make their lives better and expand opportunity for their kids. The Child Tax Credit is a historic opportunity to offer a lifeline to the middle class and cuts child poverty.

Nationally, I have worked to create a child allowance since 2003 by making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable. In each of the last 10 Congresses, I have introduced legislation to expand the Child Tax Credit because if we provide children and their families with additional payments throughout the year, this would help with costs throughout the year – food, childcare, diapers, healthcare, clothing, and more. What was once considered an “out there” proposal started to gain steam following a 2019 study from the National Academy of Sciences (“A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty”) found that making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable could help reduce child poverty by 50 percent in the next decade.

We are increasing the value of the existing tax credit which helps all these families become more secure and face expenses and taxes that build up raising a family. Poor, working, and middle class families would receive $300 per-month, per-child ($3,600/year) for children under six years of age and $250 per-month, per-child ($3,000/year) for children between the ages of six and 17. For these families, the child benefit is increased to $3,600 or $3,000 (depending on the age of the child) from what is now a $2,000 credit for all children, except those in the wealthiest families. Under current law, once a child turns 17, they are no longer eligible for the Child Tax Credit

An extra $1,800 combined with a permanent Child Tax Credit of $3,000 or $3,600 would ensure families in Connecticut have an extra $4,800 to $5,400 a year, which would go further to help the children in our state. We have real solutions to improving the lives of children in Connecticut, and this critical legislation would have a transformative impact.

With a partner in the White House in President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris making history as Vice President, we have achieved this for one year through the American Rescue Plan Act, which is why I am pushing to make the expansion and improvement permanent. Right now, we have more than 97,000 children in Connecticut living in poverty, nearly all of whom are left behind from the current Child Tax Credit.

Childcare:

Without the significant public investment in childcare included in the American Rescue Plan, Connecticut would have lost more than 45,000 licensed childcare slots, approximately half of the childcare supply. These funds will help our childcare providers cover the costs of reopening, and in turn, help working parents return to work knowing their children are in a safe environment.

Specifically, the American Rescue Plan provides:

  • $24 billion to stabilize child care centers at risk of closing.
  • Parents with the opportunity to get more aid for child care.
  • $1 billion for Head Start to equip facilities with the resources to safely stay open, buy PPE, technology and hire more staff and ensure families can continue to access quality early learning opportunities.

Small Businesses:

As we look forward to returning to daily routines, it is critical that we provide our small businesses and restaurants with the relief they need to successfully reopen and thrive once the pandemic is over.

The legislation includes:

  • The $28.66 billion Restaurants Revitalization Fund, which would provide relief directly to small and mid-sized restaurants through grants up to $10 million per entity.
  • $15 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advance payments to provide aid for small businesses who have lost revenue.
  • An additional $1.25 billion for shuttered business operators—part of a provision included in the Save our Stages Act.
  • The creation of a Community Navigator pilot program to help businesses owned by socially and economically-disadvantaged individuals, women, and veterans.
  • Increases to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) eligibility to ensure that it reaches nonprofits of all sizes and types.

Housing Assistance:

The American Rescue Plan provides much needed relief for families struggling to pay for rent or for housing due to pressures created by the pandemic. This relief will ensure that families will continue to have a safe place to live during the COVID-19 Pandemic and beyond. The American Rescue Plan provides:

  • $22.5 billion for emergency rental and utility assistance.
  • $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers to protect and provide shelter to homeless individuals, survivors of domestic violence, and those at risk of homelessness.
  • $10 billion to help homeowners afford their mortgage payments and avoid foreclosure or eviction.

Families are struggling to keep up with the rising costs of healthcare, childcare, education, and housing due to the pandemic. As rents continue to skyrocket and incomes flatline, the affordable housing crisis has become an eviction crisis. Working people and their families deserve a safety net that can help keep them in their home.

Food Security:

As families struggle to feed their families and purchase necessities, the American Rescue Plan provides for hard-working Americans by making key investments in food security. The American Rescue Plan:

  • Increases food stamp benefits by 15% a month, something that I have fought over a year for.
  • Provides $1.1 billion in additional SNAP administrative funds that will help states to respond to increased caseloads and $25 million to improve the state SNAP online pilots.
  • Temporarily boosts the value of WIC Cash Value Vouchers for vulnerable mothers and their children.

As our nation continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, we also face an economic crisis that has left too many families struggling to obtain the food and nutrition that they need. As one of the wealthiest nations in the world, no family should ever go hungry.

As the Biden-Harris Administration said from day one: this is not the only relief Americans will see. We continue to look to future relief packages as we turn to the next recovery plan, where I will fight to ensure we build the infrastructure for the future, including passing permanent paid family and medical leave, through the FAMILY Act, and permanently expanding and improving the child tax credit, through the American Family Act.

 

Additional Resources:

2-1-1 Resource Guide of Community-Based Programs

Additional Connecticut Relief

American Rescue Plan Act Bill Text and Break Down

Sec 1101 - SNAP

Sec 2001 – Education funding

Sec 2201 – Childcare

Sec 2911 – LIHEAP

Sec 3201 – Rental Assistance

Sec 5001 – PPP

  • Sec 5003 - Restaurant Assistance
  • Sec 5005 – Shuttered Venue operators

Sec 7101 – Rail

Sec 9011 – Unemployment

Sec 9601 – EIP3

Sec 9611 – Child Tax Credit

Sec 9901 – State and Local aid

Child Care Program Stabilization Funding

Federal relief – PPP, EIDL, Shuttered Venues Operators Grant (SVOG) and other

FEMA Funeral Assistance

Information Regarding your Economic Impact Payment, EIP3

Recovery Rebate Credit

Rental and Landlord Assistance

State of CT Business relief and guidance

Unemployment Assistance