Over recent weeks, the House of Representatives has been pulling together President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, drafting legislative language, and working on the details. As a reminder, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Council on Accreditation (COA) published a summary of the American Rescue Plan when it was first announced in January. Congress is using what’s called the reconciliation process, a budget maneuver that allows the Senate to bypass the 60-vote threshold and pass a bill with a simple, 51 vote majority.
As a first step, each committee in the House of Representatives marked up a bill in the last week or two, sharing their recommendations for the sections they have jurisdiction over. We expect these to all be packaged together and voted on by the full House of Representatives as early as later this week, where it is expected to pass. As a next step, this will move to the Senate for its consideration. Congress is hoping to have this bill completed by March 14, when several of the previous COVID-19 relief provisions are set to expire. That said, there will be numerous obstacles to overcome in the Senate, which has a tighter split between political parties.
So far, the bill is very favorable to many of the Alliance and COA’s priorities for COVID-19 relief:
- Notably, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) got $350 million, a historic amount and something the Alliance has advocated for over the past two years.
- Additionally, after 10 months of advocacy, midsize nonprofits will finally have access to the to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, so long as they don’t exceed 500 employees at any one location. This is a huge victory for our network, specifically for the many organizations that have been shut out of relief.
- The bill included the additional $40 billion in child care relief that advocates have been pushing for over the course of many months.
- The bill would take drastic steps to begin to cut the child poverty rate in half through a new Child Tax Credit. This is historic and significant.
Overview of Key Provisions
Paycheck Protection Program
- Expands eligibility of the PPP to nonprofits with more than 500 employees with some specific rules. Organizations cannot have more than 500 employees per physical location to be eligible for all 501(c)(3)s. For 501(c)(6)s, domestic marketing orgs, and additional covered nonprofit entities are eligible for PPP that employ not more than 300 employees per physical location.
- New rules applying to second draw PPP loans. Additional covered nonprofit entities are eligible for second draw loans, provided they have suffered at least 25% revenue loss and employ no more than 300 employees.
- The organization cannot receive more than 15% of receipts from lobbying activities. Lobbying activities cannot compromise more than 15 percent of activities. The cost of lobbying activities of the organization cannot exceed $1 million during most recent tax year that ended prior to Feb 2020.
- Provides $7.25 billion for PPP. Increases program level of PPP from $806.4 billion to $813.7 billion.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
- Provides an additional $15 billion to ensure remaining eligible businesses and nonprofits can access the $10,000 grant.
- Remaining funds can be used for supplemental grants to severely impacted businesses that have suffered at least 50 percent in losses, are located in a low-income census track, and have less than 10 employees.
- Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund - $128.554 billion.
Department of Labor
- Raises the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour by 2025 (includes a phase in each year up to the $15). Annual increases in certain wages would be indexed to the percentage increase, if any, in the median hourly wages of all employees.
Services for Older Adults
- $1.444 billion for Older Americans Act for nutrition programs, services in Native American communities, home- and community-based services, COVID-19 vaccination outreach and coordination and addressing social isolation, evidence-based health promotion, National Family Caregiver Support program, etc.
- $14.99 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. Funds should be provided for child care assistance to essential workers without regard to the worker’s income.
- $23.975 billion for child care stabilization under CCDBG.
- $35 million for administrative costs.
- $1 billion for Head Start.
Family Violence Prevention Services Act (FVPSA)
- $450 million for formula grants, domestic violence hotline, grants to support culturally specific populations, grants to support survivors of sexual assault, etc. Set asides for tribes, culturally specific populations, tribes. Builds on the $45 million in CARES Act.
Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)
- $350 million total:
- $250 million for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) grants to communities.
- $100 million for grants to states.
Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
- $425 million to ACF for direct program services to children to cover for increased costs associated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Corporation for National Service
- $1 billion to support AmeriCorps volunteers to respond to communities impacted by COVID-19.
- Temporarily boost the value of cash vouchers up to $35 per month for women and children for a four-month period during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- $390 million for outreach, innovation, and program modernization efforts to improve participation.
COBRA Benefits for Workers
- Allows workers who are eligible for COBRA to receive coverage under their employment-based health plan with a premium reduction of 85%.
Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV)
- $150 million for MIECHV available through end of fiscal year 2022.
- To receive funding, entities must be operating a MIECHV home visiting program, consent to amendment of their existing grants or contracts, agree not to reduce staffing levels during pandemic, and if they choose to provide diapering supplies during the emergency, coordinate with diaper banks in operating service area.
- Use of funds:
- Serving families with home visit, in person or virtual
- Staff costs associated with home visiting including hazard pay
- Training for home visitors on virtual home visits, emergency preparedness and domestic violence
- Helping enrolled families acquire technology needed to conduct virtual home visits including Wi-Fi access or cell phone minutes
- Providing emergency supplies to enrolled families including diapers, formula, food, water, sanitizer, etc.
- Coordinating with and providing reimbursement to diaper banks when using them to provide emergency supplies
- Providing prepaid grocery cards to an eligible family
Emergency Assistance to Children and Families through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- $1 billion for a fund that disburses using a formula.
- No more than 15% may be spent on administrative costs, the rest must be spent on non-recurrent short-term cash and other non-recurrent short-term benefits.
Child Care Assistance Programs
- Increases annual funding for the Child Care Entitlement to States to $3.55 billion per year.
- Waives state match on new funding for fiscal years 2021 and 2022.
- Extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs through Aug. 29, 2021. Increases total number of weeks benefits available to individuals who are not able to return to work safety from 50 to 74 weeks and provides guidance to states on coordinating with other unemployment benefits.
- Extends federal pandemic unemployment benefits by increasing from $300 to $400 for weeks ending after March 14 and before Aug. 29. Mixed earner supplement is treated same way as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) in determining eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- Extends authority to provide temporary full federal financing of extended benefits for high employment states through Aug. 20, 2021. States normally required to pay 50% of cost.
Unemployment Insurance Emergency Assistance for Nonprofits
- Extends CARES Act provisions, which provided a 50% subsidy for costs incurred by employers who provide unemployment benefits on a reimbursable basis, through Aug. 29, 2021.
- Provides $1,400 refundable tax credit (similar to economic impact payments). Credit phases out between $75,000 and $100,000 of adjusted gross income, proportional to taxpayer’s income in excess of the phaseout threshold over $25,000.
Child Tax Credit (CTC)
- Makes CTC fully refundable for 2021 and increases amount to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for child under six). Increases the age of qualifying children by one year for 2021, such that 17-year-old children qualify. For 2021, the excess of the child tax credit is reduced by $50 for every $1,000 in modified adjusted gross income in excess of $150,000 for joint filers. Credit plateaus at $2,000 and then phases out at present law levels.
- Directs the Department of the Treasury to issue advance payments of CTC based on 2019 or 2020 tax return info. Payments intended to be delivered on a monthly basis but if this frequency is not feasible, they will issue as frequently as feasible.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- Expands eligibility and amount of EITC) for taxpayers with no qualifying children in 2021. Minimum age to claim it is reduced from 25 to 19 (except for certain full-time students) and upper age limit is eliminated. Increases childless EITC amount by increasing income at which the max credit amount is reached to $9,820 and increasing income at which phaseout begins to $11,610 for non-joint filers. Maximum credit increases from $542 to $1,502.
Paid Sick and Family Leave
- Extends Family First Coronavirus Response Act paid sick and paid family leave credits from March 3, 2021 until Sept. 30, 2021.
- Increases amount of wages for which employer may claim for the paid family leave credit in a year from $10,000 to $12,000 per employee and increases number of days for which self-employed individuals can claim.
Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC)
- Extends CARES Act ERTC and modifies it such that beginning after June 30, 2021, the credit will be structured as a refundable tax credit against the hospital insurance tax.
Public Health Workforce and Behavioral Health
- $7.6 billion to hire 100,000 full time public health workers to support COVID-19 response.
- $25 billion to address health disparities and protect vulnerable populations.
- $4 billion for behavioral and mental health services.
- $5 billion to help struggling families pay their energy and water bills.
- $7.6 billion to expand internet connectivity for students and teachers without internet access.
Nutrition Assistance Programs
- Extends 15% SNAP benefit increase through Sept. 30, 2021.
- $25 million to promote technological improvements for SNAP online purchasing, modernize the electronic benefit transfer system, and support SNAP mobile payment technologies.
- $37 million to low-income seniors through the Commodity Supplemental Assistance Program.
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