Axne-Led Provisions Included in Final Version of COVID-19 Relief Deal Advanced to President’s Desk
Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted to send the American Rescue Plan, the COVID-19 relief deal that Congress has crafted over the past month, to the President’s desk to become law.
The comprehensive legislation aimed at tackling the health and economic crises still facing Iowa and the United States includes multiple provisions championed by Rep. Axne, and billions of dollars in direct support for Iowa’s families, workers, and communities.
“In honor of the 5,601 Iowans we’ve lost to this pandemic and the thousands more who are still struggling, I’m proud to cast my vote to send the American Rescue Plan to the President’s desk,” said Rep. Axne. “This legislation provides the tools critical to ending this pandemic, getting Iowans safely back to work, helping the workers and businesses that’re hurting, and keeping a roof over the heads of those still struggling. I’m particularly proud to see two more provisions that I’ve lobbied tirelessly for – bills that will provide tax relief and financial support for our hardest-hit Iowans – included in the final legislation that we’re passing today.”
The Senate amended the American Rescue Plan last week to include two provisions championed by Rep. Axne:
- Federal income taxes on the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 can now be waived for households making under $150,000. This mirrors tax relief originally proposed by Rep. Axne and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.
- Medical treatment provided by firefighters and other local first responders at the site of an emergency, as has been increasingly the case during COVID-19, now qualifies for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements – a bipartisan fix to protect essential services from budget shortfalls championed by Rep. Axne.
The legislation includes an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits, a new round of direct payments, expansions of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, and direct relief to help Iowa’s renters, homeowners, small businesses, schools, and child care providers.
The bill also includes $400 billion to enable efficient distribution of vaccines and reinforce COVID-19 mitigation capabilities, including testing and contact tracing.
Some important provisions of the American Rescue Plan include:
- Direct payments of up to $1,400 per adult and $1,400 per dependent for individuals making up to $80,000 and joint filers making up to $160,000.
- Dependents will be eligible for direct payments regardless of age, a fix that Rep. Axne fought for in previous COVID-19 legislation.
- $300 per week in supplemental federal unemployment benefits through September 6, 2021, and an extension of eligibility for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs to allow up to 79 weeks of benefits.
- $36 billion in rental and mortgage assistance, including $200 million in funding for rural rental assistance and housing counseling services added by Rep. Axne last month.
- $40 billion to support child care center operations and protect access to affordable care, and an increase in the Child Tax Credit to $3,000 per child and $3,600 if the child is under the age of 6.
- This expansion of the Child Tax Credit expansion is projected to cut child poverty in the U.S. in half over the next ten years.
- $25 billion for a new restaurant assistance fund, $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, and $15 billion for Economic Impact Disaster Loans (EIDL), as well as an extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit.
- $168 billion for schools, including both primary and secondary educational institutions to support safe reopening, teacher and student safety. The American Rescue Plan also includes vital support for state and local governments, a provision that Rep. Axne has fought for since introducing her own bipartisan legislation to address local budget shortfalls last May.
Iowa’s local governments are expected to receive roughly $1.2 billion, and the State of Iowa will receive more than $1.5 billion.
The American Rescue Plan passed the House two weeks ago with the support of Rep. Axne.