New Joint Budget Resolution Instructs Congressional Committees To Craft Legislation To Enact President Biden’s $1.9T Comprehensive American Rescue Plan, Which Will Provide Urgent And Targeted Funding For Fiscal Year 2021 To Defeat The Virus And Provide Workers And Families The Resources They Need To Survive The Pandemic While The Vaccine Is Distributed To Every American
Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today announced they have filed a joint budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2021 that gives Congress an additional legislative tool to pass the urgently-needed bipartisan COVID relief legislation that enacts President Biden’s comprehensive American Rescue Plan which helps defeat the virus and provide workers and families the resources they need to survive the pandemic while the vaccine is distributed to every American.
Introduction of a joint budget resolution is the first step to potentially enacting a Budget Reconciliation bill, one legislative tool available to Congress to quickly pass bipartisan COVID relief legislation. The Resolution outlines the “reconciliation instructions” for each House and Senate committee, or how much funding can be spent in their jurisdiction. If both the House and Senate pass identical Budget Resolutions (which do not require a Presidential signature), both chambers can begin work on the Reconciliation bill that is signed by the President. According to an analysis of research from the Congressional Research Service, reconciliation bills have been passed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis 17 times in recent years, including to pass the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 1997.
“Congress has a responsibility to quickly deliver immediate comprehensive relief to the American people hurting from COVID-19,” said Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi. “The cost of inaction is high and growing, and the time for decisive action is now. With this budget resolution, the Democratic Congress is paving the way for the landmark Biden-Harris coronavirus package that will crush the virus and deliver real relief to families and communities in need. We are hopeful that Republicans will work in a bipartisan manner to support assistance for their communities, but the American people cannot afford any more delays and the Congress must act to prevent more needless suffering.”
Specifically, the Joint Budget Resolution Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi filed offers instructions to the relevant Congressional Committees to provide relief including but not limited to:
- 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 sys
- 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 Agriculture Department’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.
- 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.