Coalition on Human Needs Hails Passage of American Rescue Plan: ‘Help is on the way’
The following statement was issued Wednesday, March 10 by Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs, in response to final Congressional passage of the American Rescue Plan:
“Help is on the way.
“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, enacted today by Congress, will offer badly needed help to protect our people from the pandemic’s threats. It is of the scope needed to speed vaccines across the nation and to help families withstand the economic blows that still afflict us.
“We have a long way to go. More than one-third of Americans report that their household has had serious difficulties paying their regular weekly bills, and that is true for more than four in ten people living with children. More than 22 million said their households did not have enough to eat in the previous week. About half of Black and Hispanic Americans are in households struggling to pay their regular bills; for white and Asian Americans, it is well over one in four.
“The need is urgent, and President Biden and Congress have taken historic steps to meet it. According to Columbia University researchers, the American Rescue Plan will reduce the number of people in poverty by over 13 million, of whom 5.7 million are children. The expansions to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit will direct aid to families with very low incomes, who will also be helped by increased nutrition, housing, and utilities assistance. Extended unemployment benefits are similarly vital. The $1,400 payments will help families to catch up on their bills. State, local, tribal, and territorial aid will prevent further layoffs and ensure that services are provided, including education and vaccination programs. Child care services will be sustained so parents can return to work. Medicaid services will better reach people with disabilities and older Americans, and more states may expand Medicaid to help their people get health coverage.
“The President and Congress faced a choice: do little and watch a slow recovery that leaves the most vulnerable behind, or take bold steps to prevent hunger, evictions, sickness, and prolonged job loss. They took bold and necessary steps. They chose to direct aid to redress the disproportionate losses experienced by Black, brown, and all people with low incomes. Every problem is not solved: too many immigrants whose vital work we depend upon are not helped; paid leave should be required, and the minimum wage must be raised. We will continue to fight for these needed steps.
“The American Rescue Plan invests in our future by protecting our children. The pandemic has inflicted far too much suffering on children: lack of adequate education, too little nutritious food, the stresses of living in families on the brink of economic disaster. Much work must be done, and urgently, to help children recover; the American Rescue Plan provides essential resources to do that work.
“Members of the Coalition on Human Needs – human service providers, faith groups, labor, civil rights, policy experts and other advocates for people with low incomes – congratulate the Biden Administration and the majorities in Congress with the foresight to enact a plan with the right scope and focus to meet urgent needs.”