by CoronavirusRecoveryPlan.com January 22, 2021
President Joe Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” proposes a national strategy to not only rescue America from the ravages of the Coronavirus pandemic, but to assist with recovery along the way and into the future. The proposed 1.9 trillion dollar “American Rescue Plan” Stimulus Package is the very definition of ‘Go Big or Go Home’.
Amidst surging Coronavirus infection rates and deaths; economic crisis; unemployment and underemployment; food and housing insecurity; and overall despair, President Joseph Biden and his Administration face a daunting task to provide immediate critical relief to the American people. This article will help you understand some of the proposed aspects of the “American Rescue Plan”, as well as two Executive Orders that President Biden signed today—on only his second full day in office.
In today’s press briefing, President Biden gave an inspiring discourse about the reasons he is imploring Congress to ‘Go Big’ in passing his proposed 1.9 trillion dollar Coronavirus Relief Stimulus Package—called the “American Rescue Plan”. What became clear is that President Biden wants the House and Senate, his own Administration, State and Local Governments, and all of us to act NOW and do our respective parts. The President added credence to his argument of going big with the latest Coronavirus Relief Stimulus Package by referring to top economists’ theories. “There’s a growing chorus of top economists who agree that in this moment of crisis—with the interest rates as low as they are, at historic lows—it is smart fiscal investment (including deficit spending); and they’re more urgent than ever,” President Biden said.
Some have pointed to the fact that a smaller ($900 billion) stimulus package was finally passed at the end of December 2020, and question the need for a new 1.9 trillion dollar stimulus package now. However, those supporting President Joe Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” have countered by explaining that the second stimulus package (December 2020) was simply “filling a hole” that was left by the nine months of inaction by the previous Trump Administration—since the first stimulus package in March 2020. In today’s press brief, the President Biden again referred to the meager December 2020 stimulus package as a “Down Payment”. President Biden went on to say, “We need more action; and we need to move fast.”
COVID-19 has already killed over 400,000 Americans since it arrived on our shores; and those number keep increasing exponentially on a daily basis. Let’s face it, we cannot afford to pinch pennies at a time when the Coronavirus has already killed more Americans than were lost in battle during World War II. Saving the proverbial ‘big guns’ until later could result in catastrophic results if the Government does not infuse this critically needed Stimulus Plan into the economy post haste. President Joe Biden went on to say, “Benefits are going to far surpass the costs. If we don’t act, the rest of the world is not standing still, in terms of their competitive advantage and possibilities relative to us. But our debt situation will be more stable instead of less stable according to these economists”.
American Rescue Plan: RESCUE and RECOVERY
President Biden wants to tackle both Rescue and Recovery in this fight against the raging Coronavirus and its ravages on the economy. Phase one involves surviving the COVID-19 crisis (Rescue), while phase two addresses factors that will hopefully lead to constructing a “better and stronger and more secure America” (Recovery). It is important to note that the two phases are not necessarily mutually exclusive of one another. In other words, there will inevitably be some overlapping of the Rescue and Recovery phases of the “American Rescue Plan” as they coexist to bring the much needed relief and progress to our country.
RESCUE part of the American Recovery Plan (Phase 1)
The Rescue phase of President Joe Biden’s Coronavirus “American Rescue Plan” includes, but is not limited to:
- Completing Stimulus Payments—to those Americans who qualify. This means that an additional $1,400.00 in direct stimulus payments will be sent to those qualified…for a total of $2,000.00—with the inclusion of the $600 payments approved in December 2020. This Coronavirus Relief $1400 stimulus payment will be the “third stimulus check” sent to Americans since March 2020. Millions of Americans are counting on this “3rd Stimulus Check” to pay for necessities, including food, rent/mortgage, utilities, and other mandatory bills.
- Extending current Unemployment Benefit deadlines. Sixteen million (16,000,000) American workers are currently depending on these Unemployment Checks, as they look for new jobs or in some cases are forced to stay home to care for ill loved-ones. Still others cannot afford childcare—or it has become unavailable—which means they have had to exit the workforce by no fault of their own. President Biden proposes to tackle these issues within the COVID-19 American Rescue Plan. Through the “American Rescue Plan”, President Biden wants to direct financial relief to Americans who desperately need the support. According to statistics from Moody’s, approximately 7.5 million jobs could be created during the proposed American Rescue Plan. This is almost halfway to the goal of 18.6 million jobs created by the “Build Back Better” four-year plan. Thus, ‘Full Employment’ for every American who wants a job and is able, will be closer in the future.
- President Biden also addressed the dire need to put in measures to protect some 14 million Americans who are currently behind in their rent or mortgage and facing eviction or foreclosure. This severe housing crisis will have irreparable consequences—in the short and long terms—if not addressed immediately. Shelters would be overrun, thus increasing the spread of the Coronavirus as people would be forced into crowded, unsanitary conditions. In response, President Biden hit the ground running as early as Inauguration Day to direct his administration to “extend nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures”. The CDC Director, Rochelle P. Walensky, issued a statement on January 20, 2021 stating, “As a protective public health measure, I will extend the current order temporarily halting residential evictions until at least March 31, 2021. We must act to get cases down and keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings — like shelters — where COVID-19 can take an even stronger foothold”.
- Aiding local municipalities’ budgets to protect against the loss of critical Essential Workers, such as medical staff, firefighters, police officers and other emergency personnel, as well as teachers—who have been especially hard hit with the mass closing of schools.
- President Biden lauded small businesses as “the engines of our economic growth” and “the glue that holds our communities together”. As a solution, he proposes grants and low interest rate loans to help these crucial small businesses remain afloat.
- The American Rescue Plan also calls for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
- College students are going to get a welcome break from the interest accrual on their student loans until at least September 2021—as well they will be able to defer payments until that time as well, without incurring penalties.
President Biden made it abundantly clear that he is looking beyond the here and now of the immediate Coronavirus pandemic. The components of the “American Rescue Plan” that he seeks to put into action will have a positive longterm effect on millions of Americans who now find themselves living below the poverty line—President Biden estimates that the American Rescue Plan will essentially “lift 12 million people out of poverty”…5 million children is the approximate number of those who could be elevated from living in poverty. President Biden was emphatic when he said, “It is not just to meet the moral obligation to treat our fellow Americans with the dignity and respect they deserve. This is an economic imperative, a growing economic consensus that we must act decisively and boldly to grow the economy for all Americans…not just for tomorrow, but in the future.
RECOVERY part of the American Recovery Plan (Phase 2)
The “Recovery” aspect of the American Rescue Plan includes investment in manufacturing, infrastructure, clean energy, research and development, innovation, and other areas that will inevitably create the millions of new jobs, aforementioned. President Biden made it clear that acting now will allow America to be in a better position in both the short term and the long term. The key word here being “NOW”! The President expounded by saying, “We will excel in our moral obligations to one another; our leadership on the global stage; our competitive position on that same stage; and in many other areas that are important to our humanity, well-being, and economy”.
Two Executive Orders being signed today, Friday, January 22, 2021
President Joe Biden said that he “expects Federal Agencies to act…to provide relief to families, small businesses, and communities”. Some examples of the economic relief related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found in the two Executive Orders President Biden signed today. Specifically, the aforementioned agencies have been directed to provide relief in two key areas: Food Insecurity and Unemployment.
Since the onset of the Coronavirus global pandemic the number of people struggling with “Food Insecurity” has skyrocketed. Data collected by Household Pulse Survey from December 9-21, 2020 revealed that “14 percent of all adults in the country reported that their household sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat in the last seven days”. President Biden’s Administration will be working with the Department of Agriculture in the arena of Food Nutrition by lowering the barriers for approval, and increasing the benefits for supplemental food assistance. On multiple occasions throughout his speech, the President alluded to the inhumanity of people going hungry. Indeed, it is a dismal picture to see droves of people waiting in seemingly interminable food-bank lines for hours, for small amounts of food to take home to their families. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has presented a shocking, but enlightening, series of articles about the devastating hardships the COVID-19 global pandemic and recession have created in the areas of food, employment, and housing. President Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” includes courses of action to expand eligibility for Food Stamps—also known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)—at a time when millions of Americans don’t have enough food to eat.
The second Executive Order, which President Biden signed on his second full-day in office, addresses Unemployment Benefits and the rules surrounding them. Specifically, President Biden is concerned with the health and safety of American workers, and wants to protect people with preexisting medical conditions. This Executive Order will allow people to refuse to take jobs that would endanger their health, and yet still allow them to qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. This falls under the purview of the Department of Labor. President Joe Biden made his stance clear by remarking, “No one should have to choose between their livelihood and their own health, or the health of their loved ones in the middle of a deadly pandemic.”
Some Other Groups Included in the Protections of the “American Rescue Plan”
President Biden is seemingly attempting to leave no stone unturned as he also addressed provisions to assist some 2,000,000 Veterans by requesting that the Department of Veterans Affairs consider pausing federal collections of debts and overpayments and debts.
President Biden also wants to use the American Rescue Plan to Expand minimum wage for Federal contractors and workers. Under the President’s proposed American Recovery Plan, the new minimum wage would be set to $15 per hour for these Federal employees and contractors.
If you are one of the 900,000 Americans who has filed for unemployment in the recent week, you are —excuse the obvious— not alone. You have added your numbers to the 10.7 million Americans who have already lost their jobs—the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 6.7 unemployment rate in their January 8, 2021 press release. Sectors that have shown a particularly high increase in unemployment rates include travel, hospitality, and education—as people abstain from traveling and taking vacations, and avast amount of schools have been closed for public safety. A deluge of people are suffering from reduced paychecks, or no paychecks at all… and are hanging on by a financial thread. They need immediate assistance with their finances before things get any worse.
December 2020 $600 Stimulus Checks
By the way, you may be one of the eight million (8,000,000) people who qualified for the December 2020 Cares Act second stimulus payment, but have not yet received it because you also happen to fall into the category of people who may not be required to file a tax return (due to lower income limits), and/or you do not have a checking account on file with the IRS…or have one at all, for that matter. Do not fear. President Biden made a salient point to promise that measures are being put in place to ensure that everyone in this category will, indeed, get their checks…sooner than later.
Now that we have explored some of the proposed aspects of President Joe Biden’s “American Rescue Plan”, and the two Executive Orders the President signed today, the big question is… When will this new Coronavirus Relief Stimulus Package be approved? The short answer is… we must wait. We must wait for Congress to do its job—put partisanship aside and work amicably and collectively for the greater good of the United States of America. In a perfect world—we can take a moment to dream—let’s hope that President Biden’s ‘Go Big’ ideas with regard to winning the war against COVID-19 will be embraced and brought to fruition with as much speed as legislatively possible. The expeditious passing of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan could literally be the difference between life and death for countless Americans.
With all of these problems and uncertainty provoked by the Coronavirus global pandemic comes anxiety, stress, insomnia, as well as physical and mental health issues. It is critical that we ALL —government and citizens, alike— do as much as we are capable to collectively help to fight to win the battle against COVID-19 and its grave health, economic, and social effects.
At the end of the day, we are in a crisis—a deadly global pandemic and deep economic recession—or as our newly sworn in President aptly put it, “We’re in a national emergency. We need to act like we’re in a national emergency. So we’ve got to move with everything we’ve got; and we’ve got to do it together”…not Democrats or Republicans, but rather AMERICANS. President Biden inspired hope as he confidently proclaimed that “we have the tools to get through this—to get the virus under control and our economy back on track”…and most of all to help people…NOW! President Biden wants to use ALL the tools NOW, and quite frankly who can blame him…for in the time of an emergency, extensive measures must be taken to stem the harm caused by said emergency and stop the proverbial bleeding.
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