For Immediate Release
March 10, 2021
Federal Rescue Plan includes significant investment, much-needed relief for Michiganders
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy applauded the passage of the federal American Rescue Plan today, with policymakers rising to meet the urgency of this moment and investing nearly $2 trillion to help residents in Michigan and around the country who are still struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the League has been imploring our federal government to step up to help Michigan residents get through this health emergency and related economic crisis,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, President and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Many of the policies and programs that Congress has invested in as part of the latest relief bill are things the League lifted up a year ago as prescriptions to limit COVID’s economic impact, especially on families who were already struggling, and are frankly the same things we have been advocating for for years and even decades.”
The American Rescue Plan includes significant funding to increase the Child Tax Credit for parents and expand the federal Earned Income Tax Credit to more workers, and also includes significant investment in child care—a key component to supporting working parents. Some other major highlights of the COVID relief package that will help Michigan families stay afloat include:
Increased housing assistance and an extension of increased SNAP food benefits to help people families keep their homes and afford food;
Extended pandemic unemployment assistance through September 6th;
Financial assistance to help people meet urgent expenses, such as rent, groceries, utility bills, and car payments, delivered through expanded tax credits and stimulus payments; and
Improved access to affordable health coverage through enhanced premium tax credits for people with low incomes and middle-class families.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this ‘rescue’ plan hinges heavily on the safety net and supports for people with lower incomes that have always been there,” Jacobs said. “The increases to the Child Tax Credit and expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, continued support for unemployed workers and families facing eviction and foreclosure, and assistance to keep families from going hungry are all sound strategies to help everyone get through this crisis, but especially those who have been impacted the most.”
The Rescue Plan also includes much-needed state and local government fiscal relief to keep our communities going. These funds will help Michigan and localities restore jobs for teachers, firefighters, and other critical public employees, prevent further layoffs and cuts to core services like education and healthcare, and provide assistance to people who have been hit hardest by the pandemic and recession. In addition, there are dedicated funds to support schools that can be used to pay for the cost of distance learning, safe in-person instruction, caring for the physical and mental health of returning students, and most importantly, aid with learning loss students have suffered.
Overall, the American Rescue Plan provides much-needed but temporary relief. As we approach the one-year mark of the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis, it has become increasingly clear that economic recovery isn’t going to happen overnight, particularly for people of color, who have waited longest in past recessions to see the gains from a rebounding job market. Much more needs to be done to build a more equitable economy that works for everyone, and the League urges Michigan’s congressional delegation and members from around the country to work together to enact permanent policies that will reduce the longstanding inequities that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis.
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on opportunity for all. Its mission is to advance economic security, racial equity, health and well-being for all people in Michigan through policy change. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.
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