January 14, 2021

Brown Applauds Biden Economic Rescue Package, Proposal Includes Several Key Provisions Brown Has Long Fought For

Plan Would Deliver Results President-elect Promised, Includes Rental Assistance, Direct Payments, Child Tax Credit & Earned Income Tax Credit Expansion, State and Local Government Relief, & More; Brown will Fight for Aid Needed in Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), expected incoming Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, today released the following statement after President-elect Biden announced his COVID-19 economic rescue package. The proposal includes several key priorities for which Brown has long fought:

“President-elect Biden’s bold plan would deliver the results Americans voted for by increasing stimulus checks to $2,000, dramatically expanding the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, helping families stay in their homes, helping keep our public transportation systems open, getting support to Ohio communities to prevent layoffs, and providing critical funding for the massive vaccine distribution effort we need to overcome this pandemic,” said Brown. “Congress needs to get to work on this plan quickly to deliver results for the people we serve.”

The proposal includes:

·       $35 billion for rental and utility assistance to help keep people in their homes and assistance to help secure safe housing for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The proposal calls for extensions of eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until September 30, 2021.

o   Brown has fought to ensure families and individuals can stay in their homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He successfully secured $25 billion in rental assistance in the last relief package.

·       Another round of direct payments for people struggling as a result of this pandemic. The proposal would provide a $1,400 per-person check to help pay their bills, bringing their total relief payment from this and the December down payment from Congress to $2,000.

·       $350 billion in state and local funding to help states and municipalities across Ohio with revenue loss due to this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

·       Additional weeks of unemployment benefits, through September 2021, including for self-employed and independent contractors. It would include an additional $400 per-week unemployment benefit.

·       An expansion to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC).

o   Brown led the Senate Democrats last year in re-introducing the Working Families Tax Relief Act, which would cut taxes for workers and families by expanding the EITC and CTC. The EITC and CTC are two of the most effective tools to put money in the pockets of working people and pull children out of poverty.

o   Biden’s proposal also continues a temporary provision under current law that allows tax filers to use their 2019 wages instead of 2020 for purposes of calculating their EITC and CTC benefits. Brown led bipartisan legislation to get this signed into law last year.

·       A provision to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Senator Brown has long fought to raise the minimum wage to $15. This pandemic has resulted in millions of American workers putting their lives at risk to keep their communities and country running, including the 40 percent of frontline workers who are people of color.

·       $170 billion to help schools reopen safely. This would help schools and institutions of higher education serve all students, no matter where they are learning and meet students’ academic, mental, social, and emotional needs as a result of the pandemic.

·       $15 billion in grants to help small businesses get back on their feet. This funding will help more than 1 million of the hardest hit small businesses in the form of flexible, equitably distributed grants.

o   In addition to this $15 billion, the proposal calls for a $35 billion investment in successful state, local, and non-profit small business financing programs.

·       $20 billion for a national vaccination program, in partnership with states and localities. This will include launching community vaccination centers around the country and deploying mobile vaccination units to hard-to-reach areas.

·       $50 billion for a massive expansion of testing. This includes providing funds for the purchase of rapid tests, investments to expand lab capacity, and support to help schools and local governments implement regular testing protocols.

·       $30 billion investment in the Disaster Relief Fund, to ensure sufficient supplies and protective gear, and to provide 100% federal reimbursement for critical emergency response resources to states and local governments, including deployment of the National Guard.

o   The proposal also calls for an additional $10 billion investment in expanding domestic manufacturing for pandemic supplies to fully utilize the Defense Production Act and safeguard the country by producing more pandemic supplies in the U.S.

·       Emergency paid leave for 106 million more Americans, so Americans do not have to choose between putting food on the table and quarantining to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

·       An increase in tax credits to help cover the cost of child care, to help millions of families and help parents return to work. This plan would also create a $25 billion emergency stabilization fund to help hard-hit child care providers reopen safely and provide $15 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant to help families and parents afford child care so they can get back to work.

·       $20 billion of further assistance for public transportation relief to prevent layoffs of transit workers and prevent cuts to transit services that essential workers and the general public rely on.

·       An extension of the 15 percent Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit increase. This would maintain the increase through the summer, when childhood hunger spikes due to a lack of school meals.

o   This would also include $3 billion to help women, infants, and children get the food they need through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).