The American Rescue Plan is ambitious, big and bold; it is just what we need to heal us from the COVID-19 malady.
This article was originally published by VTDigger. It is reposted here with permission.
Biden is rapidly becoming the president of my dreams.
I began to feel smitten when he signed all those executive orders, reversing some of Trump’s most destructive orders on the environment, health care, student loans, immigration—and more.
What a relief they were. I enjoyed watching him pull an executive order from the pile of folders on his desk and reach for a pen to sign them.
But they weren’t permanent. They could easily be reversed by (God forbid) the next president.
But now we have the big one: The American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion legislative package for health and economic relief from COVID-19. Once voted into law, it will have staying power. It can only be whittled away by another Congress, and that won’t be easy.
The beauty of it is that the American Rescue Plan has wide public support. But unfortunately not equal support from Republicans. It would be great if it had bipartisan backing, but Biden may be going full speed ahead without it.
“We have to act now, and we have to act quickly,” he said.
I agree. His bill includes $415 billion for national vaccination and testing programs, $170 billion for the safe reopening of schools, and 14 weeks of paid sick, family and medical leave.
The pandemic has exposed how difficult it is for working mothers to continue to be all three: wage earners, caregivers and teachers. The American Rescue Plan offers a helping hand by allocating $10 billion for child care centers to stay open. And it expands the child tax credit to $3,600 per year for children under six and $3,000 per year for children between six and 17.
For the first time, if the bill passes intact, we will be able to cut the child poverty rate in half—an enormous achievement. And we may be able to reduce the adult poverty rate by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. It may sound like a big leap until we are reminded that the federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised from $7.25 an hour in 12 years. The majority of low-wage earners are women.
The American Rescue Plan is ambitious, big and bold; it is just what we need to heal us from the COVID-19 malady. It took a bold president to propose this legislation and then to fight for it with every bone in his body.
I know my Biden romance will have its ups and downs, as most romances do. But I’m going to stick by him, no matter what anybody says.
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