DC Tax Flash: Democratic Leaders Unveil Budget Plan for Virus Relief
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today unveiled a budget resolution (H.Con. Res. 11) that calls for nearly $2 trillion in virus relief.
If approved by both chambers, the budget resolution would direct numerous committees to report various pieces of the virus relief plan, which would be assembled into a massive budget reconciliation bill that has special protections against filibusters. The plan is to act fast, requiring the Ways and Means Committee and other panels to report each respective legislative portion of the reconciliation bill by February 16, 2021.
Under the plan, the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee would be directed to report legislation that would reduce federal revenue by $940.7 billion over 10 years. This would include the president's proposals for $1,400 direct payments to individuals, employer credits for mandatory sick and family leave, expanded tax credits for child care, and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. These and other proposals are included in President Biden's proposed American Rescue Plan.
As noted by Democratic leaders in a press release issued today, the reconciliation bill will aim to include:
- Immediate relief for individuals and families throughout 2021 including $1,400 per-person and per-child direct payments, an extension of Unemployment Insurance programs through September 2021 with a $400/week federal enhancement and $350 billion in critical state, local, Tribal and territorial fiscal relief. The resolution will also provide funds to greatly increase health care coverage to Americans that have lost it through no fault of their own during the pandemic.
- Funding to help defeat the coronavirus including through support for vaccines, testing and public health programs. It also includes funding to help K-12 schools safely re-open and provides crucial support for the child care system.
- Relief funds for the millions of Americans struggling to make rent and mortgage payments, as well as those experiencing homelessness. The resolution also includes funding for transit agencies deeply impacted by the pandemic and support for the use of the Defense Production Act to expand domestic production of supplies critical to beating the coronavirus.
- Additional relief for our nation's small businesses and hard-hit industries through increased funding for EIDL Advance grants, the creation of a dedicated grant relief program for restaurants, expanded PPP assistance for nonprofits and digital media services, more funds for Save Our Stages grants to independent live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions and new community navigator technical assistance to help connect underserved communities with critical resources.
- Funding for crucial investments in broadband and distance learning and relief for Amtrak and the aviation sector struggling with declining revenues and volumes due to COVID-19.
- Funding for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund to ramp up the president's national vaccination program and provide flexible, targeted assistance to state, local, Tribal, territorial, and the District of Columbia governments, as well as those individuals hit hardest by the pandemic.
- Support for hungry families through programs like SNAP, WIC, and Pandemic-EBT. This also includes critical funding for the food supply chain and the Department of Agriculture's lending and financial assistance programs to support farmers across the country.
- Health care and other support to meet the needs of veterans during the coronavirus pandemic. These funds will support vaccine distribution, expanded mental health care, enhanced telehealth capabilities, extended support for veterans who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, PPE and supplies for clinical employees, and improved supply chain management.
- Critical funding for the Indian Health Service, Administration for Native Americans, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education, and Native American housing programs to maintain essential health, education and social services and mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Native communities.
- Funding to the Economic Development Administration and environmental justice grants to help low-income, minority communities who have been hardest hit by COVID-19.
- Funding for critical programs to aid in the global response to and recovery from the pandemic. These instructions include significant funding for humanitarian assistance and Global Health programs.
The Rules Committee is planning to consider the Democratic budget resolution tomorrow. A House vote is expected this week.
- Text of the House budget resolution
- House Budget Committee summary
- Budget Committee section-by-section analysis
In related action, the president met this afternoon with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and several other Republican Senators to discuss their proposal for a smaller $618 billion virus relief package. After the two-hour meeting, Sen. Collins said the discussions were productive and ended with an agreement to "follow up and talk further at the staff level."
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