Biden Relief Plan Eased Economic Pain For U.S., Experts Say
The American Rescue Plan implemented by US President Joe Biden has led to America’s being far closer to its pre-pandemic normal.
Photo Insert: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are flanked by colleagues as they applaud the signing of the American Rescue Plan.
As with the COVID funds, much of the rest of the money from the rescue plan has already flowed out the federal government’s door, according to administration officials, Chris Megerian and Zeke Miller reported for the Associated Press (AP)
More than 170 million direct payments to individuals, known as Economic Impact Payments, worth at least $400 billion, were distributed. The average amount was $2,300.
Schools received $122 billion in relief funding, with additional dollars being directed toward homeless students and children with disabilities. Nearly $40 billion has been provided to colleges and universities.
Another $39 billion was provided to support child care services. More than 150,000 providers who serve more than 5 million children have gotten money.
More than $245 billion has been distributed to state, local, territory, and tribal governments. Another $105 billion is scheduled to be distributed in May, Farnoush Amiri, Michael Casey and Fatima Hussein also reported for AP.
This pool of dollars for state and local governments has become among the more controversial aspects of the rescue plan, with some critics arguing that it was unnecessary because state governments ultimately saw double-digit growth in tax revenue.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the money helped prevent cutting essential services like firefighters and paramedics. “Imagine a grandfather in medical crisis waiting a few extra minutes for help to arrive,” he said.
Without the money, Kenney added, “it would have meant hundreds of layoffs of frontline city workers.”
Heidi Sheirholz, who leads the liberal Economic Policy Institute, said the legislation is “a core reason we’re in such an incredibly strong recovery right now.” She added: “I’m not saying it was perfect. But it made it so households did not need to go into austerity.”