In a huge deal for OAPSE members and all families, Congress has passed and President Biden will sign the American Rescue Plan, which will put money in the pockets of families; continue enhanced unemployment benefits; provide financial assistance to schools; boost state and local government budgets; increase child care benefits; help with student loan debt; and provide a host of other benefits for low-income and middle-class workers.
OAPSE and AFSCME International pushed the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to pass the legislation, which President Biden championed throughout his campaign. It is overwhelmingly popular with Americans because it is so inclusive and provides much needed relief to millions of families impacted by the global health pandemic. The sweeping legislation addresses not only the health crisis but the economic crisis it has caused.
Every one of the public service institutions we represent – our schools, county boards of developmental disabilities, libraries, head start agencies and community colleges – will benefit in critical ways from the American Rescue Plan. This legislation gives us the chance to make up lost ground for the children and the public our members work so hard to help.
It also recognizes that our members’ jobs and pay security are an essential part of these critical services.
We are grateful to President Biden for having the vision and the guts to push this life-saving and job-saving legislation through the Congress.
So, what’s in the American Rescue Plan and how will it impact you and your family? Here are a few highlights.
$1,400 checks for single adults with adjusted gross incomes of $75,000 or less and for married couples with adjusted gross incomes of $150,000. You will also receive $1,400 per dependent. You can figure out the amount you will receive by using this calculator from the Washington Post.
Enhanced unemployment benefits will continue through September. So, if you or a family member has experienced unemployment, you will continue to receive an additional $300 per week on top of your base unemployment amount.
A child tax credit which would provide $3,000 per year for children ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 for children under 6. The amount is gradually reduced for individuals earning over $75,000 and couples making over $150,000. Beginning in July, families will get checks or direct deposits. When you file your taxes for 2021, you will get the remainder of the credit. The benefit is for one year only, but leaders in Congress are pushing to make it permanent because together with other programs in the ARP, it will cut child poverty in half.
Nearly $130 billion in money for schools to help with things like improved air filtration, PPP and other items that will allow school buildings to open at full capacity.
$350 billion in state and local government aid. This money will help balance budgets devastated by the decrease in taxes collected because workers were laid off.
Billions to help more people get tested for COVID and get vaccinated. GET YOUR VACCINE when you are eligible!
Rental and home energy assistance for low-income families and older Americans impacted by eviction threats and utility shut-offs.
Much-needed assistance for joint labor and employer private-sector pension plans. Many OAPSE members, who previously worked in the private sector, and family members participate in these pension plans, which were in danger of going broke in the next four years. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown has pushed for this legislation for years and was instrumental in its passage.
“The American Rescue Plan is a really big deal. It will make a huge difference in the lives of OAPSE members in so many ways. Our union strongly supported this because we need this to get back to school, get our local government services back to their full capacity, and get back to a ‘normal’ life. We will continue to update you on the important developments about this legislation and how we will keep fighting to keep you safe and your jobs secure,” said OAPSE State President Lois Carson.