A Lifeline to Communities, the Bill Includes Bennet’s Health Force Proposal and Bennet-Led Tax Credit Expansions
Washington, D.C. — Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet helped secure passage of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion proposal to fight the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and help Americans weather the economic fallout of the crisis. The American Rescue Plan includes Bennet’s Health Force proposal, as well as an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), which Bennet and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) have advocated for several years.
“With today’s vote, we are one step closer to providing the relief our country urgently needs,” said Bennet. “One year after the first confirmed COVID-19 case in our state, Coloradans continue to struggle in the face of this public health and economic crisis. From funding for public health jobs to expanded tax credits for working families, this bill will help us put an end to the pandemic and improve the lives of countless Americans.”
Over the last year, Bennet has worked tirelessly to secure resources for Colorado to combat the pandemic, including direct checks for Americans, extended unemployment benefits, and additional funds for state and local governments. Bennet has also pushed for a more flexible Paycheck Protection Program, increased support for the E-Rate program to equip students with devices and internet connectivity, and funding for summer school programs.
Bennet has successfully fought to ensure that Colorado priorities are front and center in the American Rescue Plan, including:
Direct Support for Coloradans:
- Expansion of the CTC, which is modeled after Bennet’s American Family Act.
- Expansion of the EITC, which is modeled after Bennet’s Working Families Tax Relief Act.
- Extension of unemployment benefits through early September 2021, including a $300 additional weekly payment.
- Provision of $25 billion in additional rental assistance to help prevent evictions.
- Extension of the 15% SNAP increase through September 2021.
- Immediate relief to Colorado families with $1,400 checks per person, including all dependents. The payments phase out starting at incomes of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples.
- Formation of a public health workforce to support COVID-19 testing, vaccination, and other public health activities, creating 100,000 additional state and local public health jobs, consistent with Bennet’s Health Force proposal.
- Coverage of COVID-19 vaccination and treatment for the uninsured through state Medicaid programs, which is consistent with Bennet’s Stronger Medicaid Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Act.
- $50 billion in support for testing, tracing, mitigation, and surveillance activities to support a national testing strategy, which Bennet has requested and is a critical aspect of his Timely and Effective Systematic Testing (TEST) Act.
- $8.5 billion in direct relief for rural hospitals and providers, an effort Bennet has pushed for a year through his Immediate Relief for Rural Facilities and Providers Act.
State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal Funding:
- $350 billion for states, localities, territories, and Tribes, including $10 billion for a new capital projects fund.
Small Business Relief:
- $15 billion in targeted grants for the hardest-hit small businesses.
- $1.25 billion in additional funds for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program.
- $25 billion to support restaurants, bars, and other eligible food and drink providers.
- $7.25 billion in additional funds toward the Paycheck Protection Program.
Relief for Colorado’s Agriculture Economy:
- $100 million to reduce USDA fees for small or very small meat processing facilities, based on Bennet’s Small Packer Overtime and Holiday Fee Relief for COVID-19 Act.
- $2.5 million for the Office of the Inspector General at USDA, which is investigating actions that may have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 in meat processing facilities, based on Bennet’s request.
- $4 billion for food supply chain resilience, based on a bill Bennet cosponsored.
Schools & Students:
- $7 billion for E-Rate to provide low-income schools and students with Wi-Fi enabled devices and hotspots.
- $1.25 billion set aside for evidence-based summer enrichment programs.