WATCH: Rep. Levin, Mayors Taylor & Piana Discuss American Rescue Plan Impact on Vaccines, Jobs, Education and More
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) hosted a Facebook Live event after the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which President Biden signed into law this afternoon. This bill will meet the scale of the unprecedented crises facing this nation, delivering health and economic resources to families and the robust, transformative stimulus that economists say is needed to jumpstart our economy.
Local mayors from Macomb and Oakland Counties, Mayor Mike Taylor of Sterling Heights and Mayor Melanie Piana of Ferndale, highlighted how the $350 billion included in the American Rescue Plan for states and localities will help to keep frontline workers on the job as well as fund essential services.
The speakers took questions from reporters and Facebook live viewers on state and local funding as well as education funding to combat learning loss and how soon our communities will see more vaccines available under the American Rescue Plan.
Watch the full press conference here.
Rep. Levin: “Vaccines have increased—weekly vaccines going out to the states and then the counties and to the pharmacies and the various programs—have increased by 80% since Joe Biden took office. I think that we're going to increase them much more than that over the next six to eight weeks so that we finally get to the point where our issue isn’t scarcity, which is what it has been, as the Mayors have both explained, but where we have a different challenge, which is also really important to get right: we have enough vaccine, and we've got to manage all the logistics. And I think the State and the Counties are working super hard to be ready for that.”
Mayor Taylor: “We've been told that we don't deserve the money, because it's just going to plug pension benefits or something like that. Well, I can tell you, this money is going to directly help provide the services that residents and businesses in Sterling Heights need. We're going to continue to have our emergency first responder services. We're going to continue to be able to be fixing potholes in our roads, we're going to continue to do all of the things that our residents and businesses deserve and need…This is not just going to be something that we can stash away, you know, put it in a “rainy day” fund. The rainy day is here!”
Mayor Piana: “This investment comes really at a great time because cities are starting their budgeting processes right now, and so we can, as a team, with City Council and our City staff, and with input from our residents really say, ‘How can we best leverage this money? Where are we going to fill in the gaps? And what else do we need to invest in to make sure that the recovery is supported for all of our residents and businesses?’ We have lost $1.5 million in parking revenue, because of the lack of businesses, and that is a fee-for-use type of service that helps us pay off our municipal bonds. So that is one priority area conversation I'll be having with Council: how do we get back to neutral in that parking fund?”
Specifically, the American Rescue Plan:
- Invests $20 billion in a coordinated, nationwide vaccine program, scales up testing and tracing, addresses shortages of personal protective equipment and other critical supplies, invests in high-quality treatments and addresses health care disparities.
- Provides working families an additional direct payment of $1,400 per person—bringing the total relief payment to $2,000 per person, following up on December’s down payment of $600.
- Makes the child tax credit fully refundable and increases its size from $2,000 to $3,000 for 2021 (and $3,600 for children under 6). Currently, because the child tax credit is not fully refundable, there are 27 million American children who do not receive the full value of the current $2,000 tax credit because their parents do not earn enough money.
- Provides crucial support to help the hardest-hit small businesses keep their doors open—especially those owned by entrepreneurs from racial and ethnic backgrounds that have experienced systemic discrimination—with: $15 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) grants, expanded Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) eligibility and an additional $7.25 billion in funding, $28.6 billion to revitalize restaurants, food, and beverage establishments, and additional resources to help small and disadvantaged businesses navigate and access COVID relief programs.
- Provides crucial resources to protect the jobs of first responders, frontline public health workers, teachers, transit workers and other essential workers, who all Americans depend on. State and local governments have been forced to lay off 1.4 million public servants due to the pandemic.