Senator Murray Secures Critical Relief for Washington State Families, Workers, and Communities in Major COVID-19 Relief Package

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed the Senate today and now goes back to the House of Representatives before going to the President’s desk

The package would provide struggling families with direct relief, schools with the resources needed to reopen safely, and state, local, and Tribal governments with the support they need to respond to the pandemic without cutting services

DIRECT RELIEF: $1,400 direct payments in addition to extended, non-taxable expanded unemployment insurance

EDUCATION: $170 billion to help K-12 schools and institutions of higher education reopen safely for in-person learning

STATE, LOCAL, AND TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS: $345.5 billion to continue providing vital public services and retain teachers, sanitation workers, and other public employees

PUBLIC HEALTH: About $150 billion for testing, vaccines, addressing inequities, PPE, supporting mental health, and other public health work

Senator Murray: “Democrats have passed a bill that acknowledges just how much people across this country are hurting right now, and provides them with relief that begins to meet this moment”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, issued the following statement on her vote in support of the American Rescue Plan, a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package that will provide much-needed relief to families, workers, small business owners, Tribes, veterans, state and local governments, and more in Washington state and across the U.S.

“COVID-19 has taken so much from each of us over the past year. From parents, to students, to workers, to small business owners, I’ve heard from people across Washington state about the challenges they’ve faced during this pandemic, and their clear need for help that meets the scale and scope of the crisis they are facing. And I’ve heard from communities of color, people with disabilities, and others who are too often left out or left behind about how the pandemic worsened inequities that already existed in our country.

“After months of Republican opposition, Democrats have passed a bill that acknowledges just how much people across this country are hurting right now, and provides them with relief that begins to meet this moment. A bill that puts money in families’ pockets, that helps workers get through unemployment, that gives our schools the resources they need to safely re-open, that will help us get shots in arms to end the pandemic fast and equitably, that gives our state, local, and Tribal governments the resources they need to continue providing essential services, and so much more.

“While this is a big step towards making sure that we make it through the pandemic and come out on the other side of this crisis ready to bounce back and build a fairer and more inclusive country, it will not be the last step we take. And as a voice for our state in the Senate, I will continue listening to people across Washington state and working to get them what they need.”

See below some highlights of several federal investments and other priorities Senator Murray helped secure in the relief package:

  • Working Families
    • Unemployment Insurance: Continues expanded $300 weekly unemployment insurance benefits through September 6th and makes the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 non-taxable for households with incomes under $150,000.
    • Direct Payments: $1,400 per-person payments, plus an additional $1,400 payment per dependent, to help middle- and working-class households cover daily living expenses.
    • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): Expands the EITC for taxpayers with no qualifying children.
    • Child Tax Credit (CTC): Expands the CTC to $3,000 from $2,000—and to $3,600 for children under the age of six and makes the CTC fully refundable, meaning more families in need will get the full amount.
    • Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC): Expands the CDCTC to cover half of care costs up to $4,000 for one child and $8,000 for two or more children.
  • Education and Child Care
    • Child Care: $40 billion in child care funds to support child care providers and prevent further closures, ensure child care workers—the majority of whom are women—don’t continue to lose their jobs, and ensure working families can get quality, affordable child care. Also includes $1 billion for Head Start.
    • Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund: Over $125 billion to providefunds for schools to implement public health measures including purchasing PPE, reducing class sizes to improve social distancing, improve ventilation, make necessary building modifications, address learning loss, and more.
    • Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund: Close to $40 billion to help colleges and universities and their students make it through the pandemic. Public and non-profit institutions must use at least half of their funding for emergency financial aid grants to students to help them meet basic needs like housing, food, child care, and health care. 7.5% of these funds will go to supplemental awards to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-serving Institutions, and other Minority-Serving Institutions.
  • Health Care
    • Vaccines: $14 billion for improving vaccine administration and distribution.
    • Disaster Relief: $50 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund to ramp up the President’s national vaccination program and provide flexible, targeted assistance to state, local, and Tribal governments.
    • Testing and PPE:$49 billion for testing, genomic sequencing of variants, and contact tracing efforts, as well as manufacturing and procurement of PPE. Another $10 billion for the Defense Production Act to procure essential PPE and other medical equipment.
    • Health Equity: Funding for programs that reachcommunities of color and underserved communities, including:
      • $7.6 billion for community health centers, Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alikes, and Native Hawaiian Health Centers.
      • $800 million for the National Health Service Corps.
      • $200 million for the Nurse Corps.
      • $330 million for teaching health centers that operate graduate medical education programs.
      • $1 billion for emergency assistance for children, families, and workers through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
      • $250 million for nursing home strike teams to manage COVID-19 outbreaks and another $200 million for infection control in nursing homes.
    • Home- and Community Based Services (HCBS): $12.7 billion to help ensure people with disabilities can get the care they need in their own homes and support the home care workforce.
    • Public Health: $8 billion for public health workforce development.
    • Health Coverage: Ensures access to health coverage by lowering or eliminating health insurance premiums for millions of Americans who buy insurance through the marketplaces, providing incentives for states to expand Medicaid, and subsidizing continuation health coverage (COBRA) for those who have lost their employer-sponsored coverage.
    • Mental Health: Around $4 billion for mental health, including the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Community Mental Health Block Grants, youth suicide prevention, and other mental health funding sources.
    • Aging Network: $1.434 billion for Older Americans Act (OAA) programs, including nutrition services and the National Family Caregiver Support Program.
    • Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention: $350 million for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), including $100 million for state child protection systems, and $250 million for community-based child abuse and neglect prevention programs to provide services to help strengthen and support families.
  • Economic Support
    • Small Business Relief: $7 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and expands eligibility for nonprofits and digital news outlets, and $15 billion for the Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance program to help the hardest-hit small businesses.
    • Restaurants: Establishes a $25 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which will provide grants to help local restaurants keep their doors open and keep their workers employed.
    • Concert and Live Entertainment Venues: $1.25 billion for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program to support concert and other live entertainment venues.
    • State Small Business Credit Initiative: $10 billion in new funding for the program to help small businesses grow and create jobs.
    • Pensions: Provides financial support for struggling multiemployer pension plans to avoid drastic cuts to the benefits millions of workers and retirees depend on.
  • Housing
    • Rental Assistance: $21.5 billion for additional emergency rental assistance.
    • Homeowner Assistance: : $9.96 billion to establish a Homeowner Assistance Fund at the Treasury Department. Funds will go to state and local governments to provide mortgage and utility assistance to prevent foreclosure and post-foreclosure eviction.
    • Homelessness Assistance: $5 billion to the HOME program to support long term services and housing solutions for those experiencing homelessness, and $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers.
  • Tribes
    • Tribal Governments: $20 billion for Tribal governments to combat COVID-19 and stabilize Tribal community safety-net programs.
    • Indian Health Service: $6.1 billion for the Indian Health Service, including $420 million for mental health and substance use disorder services.  
    • Bureau of Indian  Affairs: $900 million for Bureau of Indian Affairs programs.
    • Native Education: More than $1.1 billion for Native education programs, including the Bureau of Indian Education schools, Tribal education agencies, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Native Hawaiian education programs, and Alaska Native education programs.
    • Tribal Housing: $1.248 billion for HUD Tribal & Native Hawaiian housing programs.
  • Veterans
    • Veterans Health Administration (VHA): $14.5 billion for health care services and additional resources to care for our nation’s veterans.
    • Unemployment Assistance: Nearly $400 million to help get veterans back to work by funding up to 12 months of rapid retraining assistance and a housing allowance for veterans who are unemployed as a result of the pandemic and do not receive other veteran education benefits.
    • Increased Claims and Appeals Processing: $272 million to VA to mitigate the backlog in claims processing caused by the pandemic.
    • State Veterans Homes: $500 million to help states upgrade State Veterans Homes across the country and $250 million in one-time emergency grants to support these facilities and ensure they can care for our veterans during the pandemic.
  • Washington State Priorities
    • State, Local, and Tribal Governments: $345.5 billion in financial assistance to state, local, and Tribal governments to prevent the mass layoff of public sector workers and ensure continued emergency services.
    • Nutrition: $12 billion to hungry families in need through important nutrition programs like SNAP, WIC, and Pandemic EBT, and extends the 15% increase in SNAP benefits through the end of September, and bolsters other vital nutrition assistance to help ensure families, children, and seniors don’t go hungry.
    • Broadband: $7 billion in broadband to increase access to high-speed internet services and close the digital divide.
    • Transportation: $30 billion for transit agencies who have been deeply impacted by the pandemic and forced to cut service and jobs in 2020.
    • Utility Assistance: $4.5 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and $500 million for water and wastewater assistance to ensure low income households can afford their utility bills.
    • Aviation Workforce: $14 billion for the payroll support program for airline workers and $3 billion in payroll support for Aviation manufacturing employees.
    • Agriculture and Fisheries: $4 billion to strengthen the resilience of the food supply chain, including through grants and loans to small and mid-sized processors, fisheries, and producers to protect workers.