WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) released the following statement regarding the advancement of H.R.1319, the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion proposal to facilitate the United States recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This historic package invests in our schools and our workers, proves direct relief payments to individuals, and resources for families to survive through the pandemic.
Congresswoman Hayes played a pivotal role in drafting this historic legislation, by advocating for the inclusion of provisions in the bill and participating in over 20 hours of budget reconciliation markups on the Education and Labor and Agriculture Committees. During her first markup as Chairwoman of the Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations Subcommittee, the Congresswoman defended the reconciliation package from attacks aimed at diminishing access to nutrition assistance.
“Americans have been waiting for bold and meaningful assistance to get them through this unprecedented crisis. Today, Congress helped deliver their promise for individuals and families. This package sends desperately needed assistance, from investing in reopening schools, to expanding health and nutrition safety nets to help families get through extraordinary economic challenges. We have an obligation to act with a sense of urgency and implement this critical legislation,” said Congresswoman Hayes.
This bill mobilizes the public healthcare workforce and invests robust funding to reduce health care disparities, provides funding for key programs and initiatives to help students, families, and workers, provides much needed relief to ensure the continued operation of small businesses, and scales up critical nutrition assisting programs and supports for our nation’s farmers. The package specifically includes the following:
- $130 billion to help schools take the steps recommended by the CDC to ensure students and educators can return to the classroom safely, from repairing ventilation systems, reducing class sizes and implementing social distancing guidelines, purchasing personal protective equipment, to hiring support staff to care for students’ health and well-being;
- $40 billion for institutions of higher education that are struggling to make up for lost revenue following campus closures, and to help students facing hunger, homelessness, and other hardships faced by so many during this pandemic;
- $39 billion in child care providers through the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program to rescue the child care system from the brink of collapse and make child care more affordable for families;
- COBRA subsidies to ensure workers who have been laid-off or subject to reduced hours can access affordable health coverage. This provision would allow workers and their families to keep their doctors, maintain continuity of care, and avoid restarting their annual deductibles and out-of-pocket limits mid-year;
- Increased wages for at least 27 million American workers by gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 and guaranteeing that tipped workers, youth workers, workers with disabilities are paid the full federal minimum wage.
- Critical supports to protect the health and well-being of children, families, and older Americans, and also includes support for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence;
- Invests $39 billion in Child Care and Development Block Grant Programs & expands the Child Tax Credit to lift more than 1/3 of American Families out of poverty;
- Maintains and expands the Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) program by investing more than $5 billion in P-EBT so that low-income families have access to food assistance during both the school year and summer months;
- Includes more than $800 million for the WIC program, which supports low-income women and infants, and boosts the value of WIC Cash Value Vouchers (CVV) for vulnerable mothers and children;
- Extends the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 15% benefit increase through September 30, 2021 as well as allocated $25 million to the SNAP Online Purchasing Program and additional administrative funds;
- $37 million to the Commodity Supplemental Assistance Program for food assistance to low-income seniors;
- Invests $50 billion in emergency aid for small businesses, including a $25 billion grant program for struggling small restaurants;
- Invests $15 billion for the Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance program;
- Increases funding for the expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA);
- Invests $46 billion for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and mitigation; and
- Invests $7.6 billion in funding to public health departments to hire 100,000 full time employees into the public health workforce.
The legislation must now be reconciled with the Senate before being sent to the President for his signature.
To read the bill text, click here.
Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.
Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.