The American Rescue Plan is a triumph.
Something we’ve all been waiting for finally happened: this weekend the Senate passed the American Rescue Plan, the stimulus bill that will put $1.9 trillion back into the U.S. economy.
The bill itself is a triumph. It’s passage through the Senate, and expected passage through the House and signage by President Biden, will go down in American history as one of the largest anti-poverty packages to ever come out of Congress. This means there is tangible progress being made toward giving the American people the tools and relief they need to weather this crisis.
Read the four things we’re most excited about:(simplify this and maybe put a link for more and allows you to start talking about state and city right after?
Stimulus checks: We’ll always applaud more direct cash in people’s pockets.
The Child Tax Credit: A fully refundable credit to guarantee a bit of income for each child. In combination with other programs, this will amount to up to $13,000 in aid and relief to low-income parents, and result in cutting child poverty nearly in half;
Earned Income Tax Credit Expansion: $15 billion in EITC expansion will include childless workers who have been unable to see the relief offered to low-income workers with dependents;
Funding to state and local governments: The distribution of $350 will be able to be allocated locally, where communities see their greatest need.
With all this great news, we see that there is still room for Illinois and its local governments to step in and make it more equitable. There are groups that have been left behind that Illinois can provide for, here’s how:
Make stimulus checks recurring until the pandemic is over. As recently embraced by Senators Durbin and Duckworth, recurring stimulus checks that last until the pandemic ends will help provide the stability needed for an equitable recovery
Make the Child Tax Credit permanent, and supplement it by offering offer statewide support for unpaid caregivers, who are unable to access these benefits, as we are fighting for with statewide EIC expansion (discussed below)
Include childless (or dependent-less) workers of all ages in the State EITC, and further expand the credit by including immigrants who work and file their taxes with an Individual Taxation Identification Number (ITIN) number -- as opposed to a Social Security Number-- in EITC eligibility. Our proposal to expand the State’s Earned Income Credit would do just that at the state-level.
Use local funding to invest in programs and policies, like the State’s Immigrant Support Fund, or Cook County’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, to direct relief directly to Illinois residents.