The House has voted to move the American Recovery Act (H.R. 1319) forward.
Earlier today, the U.S. House approved the Senate’s amendments and passed the next Covid Relief package. The next step is the President’s signature, which is expected to come ahead of the expiration of jobless benefits this weekend. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center projects this bill will boost incomes for the poorest 20% of Americans by 20% – an economic boost to those hit hardest during the pandemic.Included in the package is the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021, which will protect the pensions of 120,000 active USW members and retirees by ensuring they are fully funded for at least 30 years in addition to allowing healthy plans to better account for the pandemic and help to ensure their solvency for the future. Years of work has gone into saving these multiemployer pensions. We know these are deferred wages for folks who count on them for their retirement security; they earned them and were in danger of losing them at no fault of their own. It’s a very big deal.In addition to this, the bill also has critical measures that directly impact our members including:
- Provides for direct payments of up to $1,400 to Americans who need it the most.
- Extends COBRA coverage for uninsured workers with an 85 percent subsidy, many of which are our Steelworker siblings.
- Extends enhanced unemployment benefits through September, providing an additional $300 per week on top of all state unemployment benefits. Also included is a provision to waive taxes on the first $10,200 in unemployment income for those who made less than $150,000 in adjusted gross income in 2020. This means so much to the thousands of USW members who were laid off or lost their jobs during the pandemic.
- Grants $150 million for COVID-19 worker protections, with $75 million dedicated to OSHA enforcement in high-risk sectors. This has been a USW priority since the pandemic began.
- Provides for $130 billion to help schools. This funding will allow the CDC’s recommended steps to go forward, ensuring students, educators, and employees can return to the classroom safely.
- Provides $200 million for infection control support for the skilled nursing facilities where thousands of USW members work.
- Low- and moderate-income households (those making $91,000 or less) would receive nearly 70 percent of the tax benefits from the measure. Families with children would get an average tax cut of more than $6,000 under the bill.
How did your Representative vote?
Click HERE to see.
All Democrats except Golden (ME) voted yes, all Republicans voted no.Tiffany (WI), did not vote.
Click HERE for a printable version to distribute in your workplace.
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