What’s in the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package
Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from The 19th News
Chabeli Carrazana and Errin Haines | 23 February 2021
The House this week is considering the $1.9 trillion rescue package from the Biden administration, designed to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and related economic pain in a way that also furthers equity. The plan deals with vaccinations and support for workers and businesses and provides a $1,400 check to most households. Many of the measures in the bill will attempt to address long-standing racial and gender disparities laid bare by the pandemic. Here are some of the key parts of the bill:
Biden has proposed a $20 billion program to create community vaccination centers and deploy mobile vaccination units to reach underserved populations, including people who are undocumented. This is to work toward the administration’s goal of 100 million shots in 100 days.
An additional $50 billion would go toward expanding testing, with funding for more rapid tests and more robust testing protocols at schools and within local governments.
Biden also hopes to nearly triple the public health workforce by funding an additional 100,000 jobs, which would involve vaccine outreach and contact tracing — also critical areas, especially as experts worry that vaccine skepticism and misinformation could deter women from getting the injections.
The plan allocates $130 billion to school reopenings and other policies to make reopening safer, including reducing class sizes, modifying classrooms for social distancing, providing more protective equipment, enhancing school access to nurses and providing more technological infrastructure for students to address inequalities.
Biden has also proposed $35 billion in funding for public higher education to also execute coronavirus mitigation plans, such as implementing public health protocols and distance learning plans.
The administration wants to provide $24 billion in emergency funds to help stabilize the industry, helping day care providers pay rent, utilities and payroll, plus assistance to help fulfill coronavirus guidelines around social distancing and protective equipment. Those funds would be in addition to the $10 billion Congress allocated in December.
The bill also includes $15 billion in additional funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program, which provides funding for states to subsidize child care for low-income families with children under the age of 13. The additional funds will help essential workers, low-wage workers and those who have experienced job interruptions as a result of the pandemic.