Larsen: American Rescue Plan Delivers Real Relief to Struggling Washingtonians, Puts Nation on Path to Economic Recovery
The American Rescue Plan Act passed the House of Representatives by a final vote of 219 to 212.
Washington, D.C. , February 26, 2021
Rick Larsen (WA-02) voted to deliver real relief to Washingtonians struggling with the economic and public health impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) voted to deliver real relief to Washingtonians struggling with the economic and public health impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The American Rescue Plan Act passed the House of Representatives by a final vote of 219 to 212.
“Washingtonians are hurting and need relief now,” said Larsen. “In my conversations with constituents and community leaders, I hear about tragic loss, economic anxiety and profound challenges. This comprehensive aid package gets more vaccines in arms, gives Washingtonians a long overdue raise, helps families put food on the table, enables working families to return to work, helps school districts safely reopen, and ensures communities can continue to pay essential workers and maintain essential services.”
The comprehensive aid package addresses several of Larsen’s priorities based on conversations with Second District families, community leaders and small businesses, including:
Accelerated, Equitable Vaccine Distribution
The public health response will lead economic recovery. The American Rescue Plan provides more than $20 billion to establish a national vaccination program to improve and accelerate vaccine administration and distribution.
Minimum Wage Increase
The American Rescue Plan raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. The minimum wage increase gives 46,000 women and men in the Second District a raise – more than 40 percent of whom are 16- to 24-years old.
Direct Economic Impact Payments
The latest Economic Impact Payments helped more than 3.6 million Washingtonians handle some household expenses. The American Rescue Plan provides a direct payment of $1,400 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $2,800 for married couples making up to $150,000 per year, including checks for mixed-status households. The $1,400 payment builds on the $600 down payment in December’s pandemic aid package, fulfilling the promise of a total relief payment of $2,000.
Extension of Federal Unemployment Benefits
During the week of February 14, more than 2,200 people who live in the five counties of the Second District filed an initial claim for unemployment. The relief package includes a $400 per week increase in federal unemployment benefits through September 2021 to help unemployed Washingtonians pay bills and put food on the table.
Emergency Child Care Assistance
Since the pandemic began, child care capacity in each county in the Second District has decreased significantly – by more than 20 percent in Island, Skagit and Snohomish counties and nearly 50 percent in Whatcom and San Juan counties. The American Rescue Plan provides $39 billion in grant funding to help providers safely keep doors open and ensure working families can afford child care. The plan also includes $1 billion for Head Start to give low income families quality child care and development opportunities in a safe and healthy environment.
Resources to Safely Reopen Schools, Bridge Digital Divide
School districts across Northwest Washington continue to assess in-person, online or hybrid education. The American Rescue Plan invests nearly $130 billion in grant funding to help K-12 schools nationwide safely reopen, including approximately $144.8 million in Second District school districts. The plan also includes $7.6 billion to bridge the digital divide in communities nationwide.
State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Government Aid
More than 1.4 million women and men who work in state and local government nationwide have lost jobs since the pandemic began. The American Rescue Plan provides flexible assistance for state, local, tribal and territorial governments to pay essential workers and continue providing essential services. Preliminary relief estimates include:
Saving Aerospace, Aviation Jobs
In the Pacific Northwest, the highly skilled aviation and manufacturing maintenance workforce drives the economy and helps the U.S. remain competitive abroad. However, the pandemic has caused an estimated 100,000 aerospace manufacturing workers nationwide to lose their jobs, and 220,000 additional jobs are at risk of furlough. The American Rescue Plan includes bipartisan language Larsen championed to help cover costs of pay and benefits for aerospace employees at risk of being furloughed or who were furloughed due to the pandemic. The plan also includes an extension of the successful Payroll Support Program through September 30, 2021, to save aviation jobs.
Larsen is focused on moving forward with a bold investment in the nation’s transportation and infrastructure to drive economic recovery and fight climate change.
“The nation needs an aggressive and progressive FDR-like investment in roads, bridges, highways, water systems, transit and broadband to create jobs and make the nation’s transportation and infrastructure network cleaner and greener.”
To read the full American Rescue Plan Act, click here.
To read a summary of bill, click here.
To view Larsen’s weekly Recap with Rick video breaking down the American Rescue Plan Act and next steps, click here.