The dual public health and economic crises continue to test families across the country, but help is here. Last Thursday President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, the most consequential legislation for low and middle income Americans in modern history. It saved at least 27,000 jobs in the moments after it was signed, began sending $1,400 payments to millions just 24 hours after its passage, and will continue to speed up vaccination efforts now that 100 million shots have been administered.
Here’s what this means for Colorado:
- VACCINES: As of Sunday 4.3 million doses had been administered in the state, 100,000 of which were administered since the bill was signed on March 12th.
- DIRECT PAYMENTS: In Colorado 3.7 million adults (82 percent of all Colorado adults) and 1.4 million children (81 percent of all Colorado children) will receive direct payments worth up to $1,400. This relief will be a lifeline for the state’s 2.75 million people who reported difficulty in covering normal household expenses.
- CHILD TAX CREDIT: On top of the direct payments, 1.1 million Colorado children will benefit from up to $1,600 each worth of additional relief starting in July lifting 57,000 Colorado children out of poverty.
- EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT: An additional $1,000 will be available to 298,000 Colorado workers with no children including many essential workers.
- UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: Over 108,000 fewer Coloradans are employed since the pandemic began in February 2020. The passage of the American Rescue Plan will provide many of these workers with extended unemployment benefits worth $300 per week through the summer.
- RENTAL RELIEF: $305 million is now available to help the 181,000 Colorado renters (14 percent of all the state’s renters) who are behind on payments.
- SAFELY REOPENING SCHOOLS: $1.2 billion for Colorado K-12 schools.
- LAYOFFS & SERVICE CUTS PREVENTION: Cities, counties, and the state itself will receive $6 billion to help prevent service cuts and layoffs.
- MORE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE: A Colorado family of four with an income of 4 times the federal poverty level that purchases their health insurance on an ACA marketplace would see their monthly premiums drop by $272.
Despite broad support from Republicans, Independents, and Democrats (7 in 10 overall are in favor), not one Republican in Congress voted for the American Rescue Plan with many citing the bill’s cost. Ironically, most of these same Republicans voted for Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which had roughly the same price tag and were primarily targeted at corporations and the wealthy, during sound economic times. Even with this opposition, President Biden delivered.