On Monday, numerous Jewish groups deemed to be positive regarding the passage in the U.S. Senate of the “American Rescue Plan,” which is the name given to the Biden government’s $1.9 trillion aid package to help communities, families, individuals, and businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package proposed by President Joe Biden to speed up the United States’ recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession. Among the several areas where the funding is set to go, an area where there will be a specific impact on the Jewish community is a $2.75 billion allocation for nonpublic K-12 schools with a substantial percentage of low-income students, which communal officials believe will help Jewish day schools; additional funding aid for “shuttered venue operators,” which includes both small businesses and nonprofits; as well as a number of new or expanding funding streams for human services, including those benefiting children and the elderly.
“We are thrilled about the many important provisions in this bill,” stated Elana Broitman, senior vice president of public affairs at the Jewish Federations of North America. “Communities are ailing from the impact of COVID, and this relief is very needed. It will expand PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] loans, provide additional funding that can support vaccinations, including helping homebound seniors, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups, as well as support food pantries, emergency food, and housing needs.” Speaking to The Jewish News Syndicate, she said that “we will now work to make sure these funding streams are dispersed in the way they were intended.”
As it stands, Senate Democrats passed their version of the near-$1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act Saturday afternoon but made a few changes to the bill, including dropping a provision to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour and reducing the number of people who will qualify for a $1,400 stimulus payment. The plan would also provide $25 billion in rental assistance for low- and moderate-income households who have lost jobs during the pandemic. That’s in addition to the $25 billion lawmakers provided in December.