I applaud the president in leading Congress and the nation to make the American Rescue Plan the law of the land. While critics attack the Plan as ‘too big,’ the truth is what the federal government had done so far was both dwarfed by the dual health and economic crises and failed to more meaningfully include Latinos and immigrants. This legislative package meets the urgency of the moment, will help us vanquish the virus and keep people’s heads above water until Americans are vaccinated, return to work and can safely contribute to a robust and equitable recovery.
I thank Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer for shepherding this vital emergency aid through Congress, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for fighting alongside us for more meaningful inclusion of Latinos, including immigrant families.
More is still needed to ensure we conquer the pandemic and fully recover, but with the American Rescue Plan now law, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel for our families and communities.
The American Rescue Plan Act is big, bold and historic legislation that provides much-needed policies and programs such as expansion of health coverage and care, a commonsense national vaccination plan that invests in disadvantaged populations, stimulus checks, tax credits, an extension of pandemic unemployment benefits and funding to open schools safely, prevent hunger and keep people in their homes. More than any other previous package enacted, this bill will put more relief in individuals’ pockets so they and their families can get through the crisis.
Because the legislation extends stimulus payments to all spouses and children with Social Security numbers in mixed status families, 2.2 million more children will receive cash payments than the interim relief package passed in December. In total, more than five million spouses and children who were excluded from the CARES Act last year will be eligible for the $1,400 cash payments included in this bill.
Some 2.4 million unemployed Latinos will see their jobless benefits continue. Latino unemployment was 8.5 percent in February, more than double the pre-pandemic average of 4 percent.
The inclusion of $36 billion in emergency rental and mortgage assistance, including $100 million for housing counseling, is a major win for Latinos, who have experienced significant housing insecurity during the pandemic.
The inclusion of $36 billion in emergency rental and mortgage assistance, including $100 million for housing counseling, is a major win for Latinos, who have experienced significant housing insecurity during the pandemic. According to a February Census Bureau survey, 64 percent of Latinos worry about making next month’s mortgage payment and 73 percent are concerned about paying next month’s rent.
The expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) will benefit four million childless Latinos who before this law risked being taxed further into poverty. And the increased Child Tax Credit (CTC) will help lift 1.7 million Latino children out of poverty and bring 4.1 million more closer to escaping poverty.
Janet Murguía serves as the CEO and President for UnidosUS.
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