Congresswoman Kim Schrier, whose 8th District includes parts of Kent, Auburn and Renton, voted Wednesday, March 10 in support of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
The House passed the bill 220-211 without a Republican vote. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine was the only Democrat to oppose it. Senate Democrats approved the measure last weekend 50-49 without a Republican in favor of it. One Republican senator missed the vote due to a family emergency
President Joe Biden, who proposed the plan, is expected to sign the bill on Friday, March 12.
“It has been a year since our state had our first COVID cases,” Schrier, Sammamish, said in a news release. “The American people need help. And they needed it a long time ago. This legislation is the bold action we need to get our economy reopened, children back into classrooms, and every American vaccinated. This bill meets the moment and charts our path out of the pandemic.”
Schrier, the first and only pediatrician in Congress, spoke on the floor of the House to highlight the ways America’s children will benefit from this bill. The provisions:
• Expand the Child Tax Credit with direct monthly checks up to $300 that benefit 93% of children in this county and cut child poverty in half
• Increase funding by $350 million for child abuse prevention, based on a bill Rep. Schrier re-introduced last month
• Boost WIC nutrition assistance for women and infants by $35/month for fruits and vegetables, which is Rep. Schrier’s WIC Benefit Flexibility During COVID-19 Act
• Provide nearly $130 billion to help K-12 schools re-open safely and stay open
Alan Spicciati, Auburn School District superintendent, supported the plan.
“Students have been greatly impacted by the pandemic, both academically and socially,” Spicciati said in the Schrier news release. “The last year has hit our students and families of color and of poverty especially hard. Support from this aid package will enable schools to return students safely and help students recover the instruction they lost during distance learning. We are grateful for the support of Rep. Schrier in getting schools open successfully.”
Other benefits in the plan include:
• Provides nearly $130 billion to help K-12 schools re-open safely
• Includes $7.6 billion to expand internet connectivity to students and teachers to help address the digital divide
• Increases SNAP benefits by 15% until Sept. 30, 2021, expanding funding and eligibility
• Provides money for testing, which can be used to ensure our schools remain safe spaces
Brittiany Karlson, owner of Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro in Auburn was pleased with the vote.
“I am grateful to see lawmakers taking the necessary actions to assist some of the hardest hit small businesses,” Karlson said in the news release. “We still have a long way to go to fully recover, but I hope this is a step forward for restaurant owners during this mentally, emotionally and financially draining time. I am hoping this assistance will allow me to bring back more of my staff as we reopen the state and help me pay for the supplies & outdoor accommodations to keep our guests and staff safe. I am grateful to be acknowledged and supported by our lawmakers and I hope that they continue to fight for us, like we’re fighting for our staff, communities and our dreams.”
The plan also includes:
• $25 billion for a new program at SBA to offer assistance to restaurants and bars with 20 or fewer locations that have been hit hard by the pandemic
• $7.25 billion in additional funding for PPP and expands eligibility of 501(c) nonprofits of all sizes and types, except for 501(c)4 lobbying organizations
• $350 billion for new Coronavirus Relief Funds for states, localities, and the Tribal Governments, to help keep critical workers like frontline health workers, first responders and teachers on the job.
• $20 billion for improving COVID-19 vaccine education, administration, and distribution, including vaccination clinics and mobile vaccination units. This includes funding for Rep Schrier’s VACCINES Act, a vaccine awareness campaign that was signed into law last year
• $7.5 billion for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prepare, promote, distribute, administer, monitor and track COVID-19 vaccines
• $46 billion for improved testing and contact tracing—including manufacturing and distribution of rapid tests and personal protective equipment (PPE)