WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, applauded the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, an historic economic recovery bill that will deliver federal funds to families, businesses, and nonprofits in Delaware. The package now moves to President Biden's desk to be signed into law.

The American Rescue Plan includes $1.9 trillion in federal funding, which provides a direct allocation of federal assistance of about $1.36 billion to Delaware and its municipalities. It features $1,400 direct checks to most Delawarean adults and children, vaccine distribution, funding for schools, an extension of expanded unemployment benefits through the summer, and grants for restaurants and other hard-hit small businesses.

"The American Rescue Plan is what Delaware and our country need at this moment," Coons said. "Parents and kids are struggling as schools remain disrupted. Service sector workers are enduring prolonged joblessness. Restaurant owners are wondering whether the business will survive. The American Rescue Plan puts the full force of the federal government behind ending this pandemic and helping Delawareans recover."

The American Rescue Plan will significantly increase the incomes of low- and middle-income Delawareans as they battle to get through the pandemic and recession. The extra round of Economic Impact Payments will mean $1,400 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $2,800 for couples making up to $150,000 per year. Eligible families will get an extra $1,400 payment per child and adult dependent, amounting to $5,600 for an average family of four. This relief is particularly critical as more than one in three households – including half of Black and Latino households – are currently struggling to pay for daily expenses.

Researchers say the American Rescue Plan will cut child poverty in half. The plan makes the Child Tax Credit fully refundable and increases the credit amount from $2,000 to $3,000 per child age 6 to 17 (and $3,600 per child below the age of 6). The plan further strengthens the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers, many of whom are in lower-paid but essential jobs on the frontlines of the pandemic response. With direct checks and the Child Tax Credit combined, a family of four with one child under 6 and one between 6 and 17 will receive $8,200 this year.

"Sadly, poverty is a true reality for thousands of Delaware youth," said John Wellons, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware. "The changes to the Child Tax Credit will deliver critical funds to struggling households, enabling parents to support immediate and longer-term needs for their children."  

To reach the other side of this pandemic, efforts to get vaccines into the arms of more Americans will be bolstered by $20 billion for vaccine distribution. Another $50 billion goes to testing and contact tracing, which aims to contain the virus as quickly as possible.

"We are grateful to President Biden and our Congressional Delegation for the additional federal funding to support the work that Delaware is doing to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine and to continue our robust contact tracing program," said Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Molly Magarik. "Working together, we can protect more Delawareans and move closer to a more normal life for everyone."

Specific to national service, Senator Coons fought for $1 billion to bolster AmeriCorps and its engagement on COVID-19 – from tutoring students to combat learning loss to expanding capacity at food banks and handling logistics at vaccination centers.

"With this AmeriCorps funding, we can empower thousands of Americans who want to serve their communities while meeting a host of urgent needs," Coons said. "This investment is a down payment on our recovery that will enable us to emerge stronger than ever."

"Thank you to Senator Chris Coons for being a tireless champion for AmeriCorps and national service," said Kanani Hines Munford, executive director of the Governor's Commission on Community and Volunteer Service. "This significant investment will expand the reach of AmeriCorps programs in Delaware, strengthen relationships with and provide resources to local nonprofits and community-based organizations which are addressing the critical needs of our communities. These funds will provide service opportunities that respond to the ongoing pandemic, COVID's impact, as well as the areas of education, healthy futures, veteran and military families, and safer communities allowing AmeriCorps to be a cornerstone in our recovery."

The American Rescue Plan includes a new $25 billion grant program for restaurants that Coons coauthored to help some of the hardest-hit businesses survive. It also contains $10 billion for the State Small Business Credit Initiative, or SSBCI, which gives longer-term support to Delaware entrepreneurs, helping their businesses emerge from the pandemic and continue growing. 

The SSBCI is a reboot of a state-led small business lending program, which Delaware used to successfully lend to 110 businesses after the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Coons was an original cosponsor of the bills to advance these two new business support initiatives: the RESTAURANTS Act and the Small Business Access to Capital Act.

"We appreciate Senator Coons for championing and advocating for restaurants," said Carrie Leishman, president of the Delaware Restaurant Association. "The passage of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and the other programs in this bill will support restaurants across Delaware, helping put our small businesses on the road to recovery. We also appreciate the Senate’s action in increasing the size of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to $28.6 billion, which underscores the fact that restaurants are in vital transition. This relief will help support our restaurants as they begin the long road to recovery."

Coons advocated for hospital support in the American Rescue Plan, pushing to update the imputed rural floor policy, which restores equitable reimbursement rates for Delaware hospitals. The longstanding policy, which the Trump administration rescinded three years ago, will once again ensure that hospitals in small states, including Delaware, receive the same protections as those in 47 other states.

"Under the Trump reversal, hospitals in three small states have grappled with COVID-19 while receiving millions less from Medicare than similarly situated hospitals in larger states," Coons said. "The pandemic has made ever more urgent the need to treat hospitals and health systems in all states equitably."

"On behalf of our shared constituency of patients and employees, I want to thank Senators Coons and Carper and Rep. Blunt Rochester for once again leveling the playing field for the hospitals of Delaware by ensuring we can participate in this important national program," said Penny Short, president of TidalHealth Nanticoke Hospital. "When Congress first established the rural floor, they intended it to apply to all fifty states; now, thanks to the persistence and perseverance of our delegation, they have finally corrected CMS's erroneous interpretation of the statute and have guaranteed that TidalHealth Nanticoke and our colleague hospitals will have access to these critical resources in perpetuity. This is a tremendous victory for our state."

For more about the American Rescue Plan, visit bit.ly/3kQZinX.

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