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Courtney Votes to Authorize Key Step to Enact the Urgently Needed American Rescue Plan

February 5, 2021
Press Release
S.Con.Res. 5 authorizes the House and Senate to move forward with President Biden’s American Rescue Plan

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) voted to pass S.Con.Res 5, a joint House-Senate resolution that provides budget reconciliation instructions to House and Senate committees to begin drafting legislation that enacts President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan. The resolution sets a budgetary framework of up to $1.9 trillion to support American workers, small businesses, and others—the estimated cost of the American Rescue Plan—and includes instructions to allocate spending across the twelve House committees and eleven Senate committees responsible for crafting and negotiating the federal budget.

The resolution instructs the House and Senate committees to report legislation consistent with these budgetary targets to the Budget Committees by February 16. The Budget Committees will combine the legislation and prepare it for consideration by the full House and Senate. The Senate voted to pass the bill early this morning, and this afternoon’s adoption of S.Con.Res. 5 in House triggers the writing of the budget reconciliation bill.

“Economic experts from the former Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, to Mark Zandi at Moody’s Analytics, to our new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, acknowledge that we need bold action to overcome COVID-19 and help Americans get back on track,” said Congressman Courtney. “They agree with what working Americans across the country already know firsthand: that we’re not out of the woods yet, and that falling short now will only cost people more dearly in the long run. We’ve got to kick things into higher gear—millions are waiting for vaccines, our schools need more resources to stay open safely, and working Americans and small businesses are still fighting hard just to stay solvent. People in eastern Connecticut have shown a lot of smarts and toughness throughout the pandemic, but we’ve got to resupply their toolboxes to keep moving forward. Passage of today’s bill sets Congress on the path towards getting people the additional resources they need.”

In January 2021, America witnessed the most deaths from COVID-19 in one month since the start of the pandemic. There are 9.8 million fewer jobs in the U.S. economy than in February 2020, and in the past year the GDP shrank by 3.5%—the largest fall in economic growth since 1946. More than 700,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, and altogether 18.3 million Americans are currently receiving some type of unemployment assistance. More action is urgently needed in order to overcome the pandemic and to help Americans recover economically.

Key components of the American Rescue Plan include:

Increasing Direct Payments to Working Families

  • The American Rescue Plan would provide working families with an additional direct payment of $1,400 per person

Aggressive Action to Speed Up Vaccinations, Contain the Virus, and Provide for Schools to Be Safely Reopened

  • The American Rescue Plan would provide funding to create a national vaccination program and speed up the distribution of vaccines, including partnering with state and local governments and setting up community vaccination centers around the United States;
  • Provide funding to expand testing and contract tracing programs across the country, and;
  • Provide schools with the resources they need to reopen safely.

Immediate Economic Relief for Americans Hit Hardest

  • The American Rescue Plan would expand unemployment benefits;
  • Strengthen and expand federal nutrition programs to address the current hunger crisis;
  • Provide funding for rental assistance and extend the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until September 30, 2021;
  • Provide additional funding for child care;
  • Provide additional economic relief to many families by making the child tax credit fully refundable, and;
  • Ensure through COBRA, ACA and Medicaid the opportunity for unemployed and low-income Americans to obtain access to affordable health insurance.

Support for Struggling Communities

  • The American Rescue Plan would provide crucial resources to save the jobs of first responders, frontline public health workers, teachers, transit workers, and other essential workers that all Americans depend on, and;
  • Provide additional assistance to small businesses to help stores on Main Streets around the country to stay open, keep their employees on payroll and continue serving a vital role in their communities.