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President Biden Signs the $1.9 Trillion Economic Stimulus Package into Law

Eric House - Mar 11 2021
Published in: Public Policy
President Joe Biden has signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law. This is the sixth economic stimulus package signed into law since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 11 March, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, the sixth U.S. economic stimulus package since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic into law. The bill initially cleared the House on 27 February and was amended and passed in the Senate by a vote 50 to 49 on 6 March. The amended bill was sent back to the House, where it was approved on 10 March primarily along party lines by a vote of 220-211.

What’s in the American Rescue Plan that is Relevant to Mobility?

Relief for Small Businesses and Employers

The American Rescue Plan is a $1.9 trillion stimulus package aimed at providing relief to businesses, families, and individuals as the United States continues to rebound from the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the large dollar amount of the package, it has been popular with the U.S. public and state officials. This plan features provisions that will be most helpful to certain sectors of the economy, in particular small businesses, with $440 billion in assistance, of which an additional $7.25 billion goes towards the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The package also extends the employee retention tax credit enacted first in the CARES Act as a temporary refundable tax credit, computed on a calendar-quarter basis, against the 6.2 percent employer-side Social Security payroll tax for certain employers carrying on a trade or business that either fully or partially suspended operations due to a government order or that sustain a significant decline in gross receipts.

Worldwide ERC® has been hard at work advocating on behalf of the workforce mobility industry. In February, we sent letters to Congress and the Biden Administration calling for funding for small businesses, employer COVID-19 liability protection, and reinstatement of the Moving Expense Deduction. Additionally, we joined with 600 other business stakeholders to ask for an extension of the PPP deadline. While the bill does not extend the PPP registration timeframe beyond the 31 March deadline, the additional funding for small businesses is a significant element of the stimulus package that will benefit the mobility industry.

Relief to Individuals and Families

The bill also directs $531 billion in overall direct relief to individuals, with low- to middle-income individuals receiving $1,400 payments. Individuals earning $75,000 or less a year and couples filing jointly earning $150,000 or less will receive the full payment amount of $2,800. The payments are then phased out completely for those individuals earning more than $80,000 and couples earning more than $160,000 a year. Individuals will also earn $1,400 for each dependent claimed on their tax returns in addition to child tax credits. To continue the progress made around the country towards vaccination, the package provides $160 billion for increased support for vaccine development and distribution as well as testing, personal protective equipment (PPE) and the hiring of 100,000 public workers.

Relief for Transportation and Infrastructure.

The bill provides approximately $60 billion in relief toward transportation and infrastructure in the U.S. This includes $30.5 billion to public transit agencies to cover operating costs as well as $8 billion for airports. There is also funding included for Amtrack and airlines directly affected by the travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What’s Next?

The President and Democratic leaders want to move to an economic recovery package, the “Build Back Better” plan later this year to address other large economic issues. The Build Back Better plan is likely to cover infrastructure investments, health care spending, and climate change mitigation, along with incentives for research and development and domestic manufacturing. It may be the case this bill would be financed in large part by permanent tax increases on large corporations and high-income earners.

How This Impacts Mobility

The American Rescue Plan is yet another greatly beneficial stimulus that will boost the economy while providing much-needed relief to businesses, families and individuals working to recover from the pandemic. Worldwide ERC® will continue to advocate for bipartisan solutions that will support the workforce mobility industry. On 9 March we issued principles for public policy reform which calls on public policymakers for a public policy infrastructure for workforce mobility that supports work anywhere, that is agile, and that is attentive to the needs of workers and the business community alike. For questions or more information, please reach out to our Vice President of Member Engagement and Public Policy Rebecca Peters, rpeters@worldwideerc.org.