Here’s a quick summary of what’s in Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan — and what shouldn’t be added.
What’s in the American Rescue Plan
- Get $1,400 direct relief checks to Americans, on top of $600 checks previously approved for a total of $2,000 in direct aid
- Enhance unemployment benefits and extend pandemic unemployment programs
- Increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour
- Provide additional support for small businesses
- Extend the federal eviction moratorium and provide additional aid to low- and moderate-income households out of work
- Provide funding for vaccines, testing, and schools
Amendments That Shouldn’t Happen
The key to the success of this bill is speed. The faster funds for vaccine manufacture and distribution happen, the better. Likewise, the faster the better for direct relief in the form of $1400 checks, unemployment benefits, higher wages, support for small businesses, and housing protection.
So, let’s not means-test the $1400 checks. Just send them! If Senators believe deep in their hearts that people making over $150,000 per year shouldn’t get the money, recapture it at the time of their 2021 tax filing. That has the added benefit of basing the payment on 2021 income instead of 2019, before the economic crisis caused by COVID. And, this new tax doesn’t have to be part of the bill. Do it later.
And, please don’t let Republicans distract with hot button amendments exploiting undocumented workers. The fact is that excluding people just creates another bureaucratic barrier to getting the checks into the hands of people who need them NOW. Furthermore, these people live among us; many of them are essential workers. Making them miserable is not how to solve an immigration problem; it’s simply vindictive and may be dangerous to the health of others as well as them.
Any amendment which SLOWS DOWN the rescue bill, which is counterproductive to solving the enormous economic and healthcare crisis we are in. Write our Senators and Congressman O’Halleran and ask them to JUST DO IT!