Peters Applauds House Passage of American Rescue Plan, Pushes for Quick Senate Passage
Next week Senate to begin considering relief package to provide $1,400 stimulus checks, critical funding to safely reopen schools and speed up vaccine distribution
DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today applauded House passage of robust and comprehensive Coronavirus relief that would provide critical aid to Michiganders and Americans across the nation. He urged the Senate, which is scheduled to begin considering the package next week, to pass it swiftly. The American Rescue Plan includes funding to distribute direct stimulus checks, accelerate vaccine distribution and help schools reopen safely.
Peters supports the American Rescue Plan and has spoken directly with President Biden and Vice President Harris in the Oval Office about the need to swiftly pass this legislation. Last week, he joined President Biden during a visit to Pfizer’s facility in Portage, where they thanked Michigan workers and discussed the importance of ramping up vaccine production and equitable distribution.
“As we close in on the one-year anniversary of this pandemic gripping our nation, it’s very clear that more action is needed to deliver urgent relief to struggling Michiganders and emerge from this public health and economic crisis,” said Senator Peters, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “Whether it’s direct stimulus checks – ramping up vaccinations – or ensuring schools have the resources to safely re-open – the American Rescue Plan has the robust relief needed to help our state and country get through this pandemic. The vast majority of Americans – as well as mayors, governors, business leaders and economic experts from across the political spectrum – support this bill, and I will work with my Senate colleagues to swiftly pass this package and send it to the President’s desk.”
Critical provisions in the American Rescue Plan include:
- Direct Stimulus Checks: The bill includes a new round of direct payments of $1400 per adult and child to most Americans. This would ensure that a family of four would receive an additional $5600. It fulfills Peters’ push to provide individuals with $2000 stimulus checks, after enacting $600 stimulus checks in December.
- Resources to Expand and Accelerate Vaccine Distribution Programs: The plan includes $50 billion to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency support a national vaccination program that administers the vaccine and provides frontline medical professionals the personal protective equipment, testing supplies and workforce needed to slow and eventually eliminate the spread of COVID-19. As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters will monitor FEMA’s efforts to ensure that the vaccine is widely available to every community as quickly and efficiently as possible, particularly in historically underserved communities.
- Support for Schools: The package includes $130 billion, which will be supplemented by additional state and local relief, to help schools reopen safely under the guidance of public health officials. This will include grants to help schools acquire personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, facilitate smaller class sizes, and improve ventilation systems.
- Unemployment Assistance: The package provides an additional $400 per week for all workers receiving unemployment benefits, through August 29th, 2021. This will cover over 10 million Americans that are currently without a job and includes provisions to extend the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which expands eligibility to self-employed workers. Peters helped lead efforts to originally pass these provisions in the CARES Act.
- Rental and Housing Assistance: The bill includes $25 billion for rental assistance, which is in addition to the $25 billion Peters helped secure in the latest round of relief enacted this past December. The American Rescue Plan provides $10 billion to support struggling homeowners, who face a looming foreclosure crisis, and $5 billion to support people experiencing homelessness. These programs are similar to policies Peters has supported. Peters was a cosponsor of the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act, which would create an Emergency Rental Assistance program to help families and individuals pay their rent and utility bills, and a cosponsor of legislation to create a Housing Assistance Fund to help protect renters, homeowners, and communities by preventing avoidable foreclosures, evictions, and utility shut offs.
- Support for Small Businesses and Strengthening the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The measure includes $7 billion in support for the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses to retain staff and adapt operations. This funding is in addition to the $284 billion that Peters helped secure this past December in the latest round of relief. The bill also reauthorizes and provides $10 billion in federal funding to the State Small Business Credit Initiative, including $1.5 billion set-aside for minority-owned businesses, which helps small businesses grow and create jobs. Peters previously led the effort to reauthorize the program in the Senate and championed the original language creating the program in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 as a member of the House of Representatives.
- Support for State and Local Governments: The legislation would provide $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local and territorial governments to help them continue essential services and retain critical public servants such as police officers, firefighters, EMTs and teachers. The bill would also grant $20 billion to help public transit agencies in Michigan and across the nation avoid layoffs and service reductions.
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