This afternoon, President Biden signed H.R.1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, into law. Nourish California commends the California congressional delegation for helping usher in the $1.9 trillion federal aid package, one of the largest in history. In the coming weeks, millions of Californians who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and it’s economic fallout will soon feel some financial relief thanks to the legislation. Among other provisions, the American Rescue Plan:
Continues and expands key food assistance provisions to help families afford food while the economy remains weak:
- Extends the 15% increase in SNAP/CalFresh through the end of September 2021.
- Extends the Pandemic EBT program over the summer months and through the pandemic;
- Invests $750 million to support nutrition programs for older Americans;
- Boosts the WIC Cash Value Benefit to $35.
- Provides $390 million for WIC outreach, innovation, and program modernization efforts;
- Increases funding for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program;
- Temporarily expands eligibility for the Child and Adult Care Food Program at emergency homeless shelters for youth from age 18 to 24 years;
Provides significant economic relief through measures focused on low- and moderate-income households:
- Temporarily extends pandemic unemployment benefits ($300 a week) through September 6th.
- Provides $1,400 stimulus checks to individuals earning up to $75,000 — and couples up to $150,000.
- Strengthens the earned income tax credit for individuals with no qualifying children by: raising the income cap from about $16,000 to at least $21,000; expanding the age range of eligible workers without children to include adults between 19 and 24 years of age who aren’t full-time students and people 65 and over; and raising the maximum benefit from roughly $540 to roughly $1,500.
- Expands the child tax credit for one year, which will increase household benefits to $3,000 per child, and a $600 bonus for children under 6 and also extends the credit to 17-year-olds.
- Expands access to health coverage and makes it more affordable through enhanced premium tax credits for people with low incomes and middle-class families.
The act includes other investments as well, including signficant funding for child care, schools, and state fiscal relief. While we celebrate this important relief, we also urge our members of congress to explore how to make a number of these provisions permanent. This crisis has highlighted the long-standing need to fight hunger and poverty across our state. Protecting the health and wellbeing of Californians in the wake of COVID-19 must be a priority.
*For a more detailed analysis on the Act please visit www.cbpp.org.