An Overview of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

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While much has been written about the broad scope and unprecedented nature of ARP, it is important to keep in mind that it is the sixth law that funded pandemic relief programs. The six laws are:

  1. The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020 (March 6, 2020  |  $7.8B)
  2. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 (March 18, 2020 | $15.4B)
  3. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (March 27, 2020 | $2.1T)
  4. Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (April 24, 2020 | $483B)
  5. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (December 27, 2020 | $900B)
  6. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (March 11, 2021 | $1.9T)

Examples of funded programs

In addition to direct payments to individuals, states and local governments, the $1.9 trillion in ARP funding will be used to support:

  • Agriculture and nutrition assistance programs: This includes rural development grants for rural healthcare, farm loan assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and an extension of the 15 percent increase in supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits
  • Childcare, K-12, and higher education programs:  Included is $2.6 billion for State Special Education Grants and $15 billion to the Child Care and Development Block Grant
  • Water and utility assistance grants: An example includes $500 million for water assistance grants to states to assist low-income households
  • Healthcare and public health: In addition to multiple vaccine-related initiatives and programs, this includes grants to public health departments to recruit and hire new public health workers and additional grants to fund community health centers
  • Housing, homeless, and rental assistance: This support includes emergency rental and homeowner assistance programs administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the HOME Investment Partnerships program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Public transportation: This funding includes $26.086 billion for Federal Transit Administration Urbanized Area Formula grants 
  • Disaster relief: Two examples include $50 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund and $200 million for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants.
  • Other funded programs and initiatives: Cybersecurity and technology modernization, Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, $28.6 billion in grant funding for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a Shuttered Venue Operators grant program, programs to support the aviation industry, and an Emergency Connectivity Fund to reimburse schools and libraries for internet access and connected devices during remote learning activities.
Source: PandemicOversight.gov

The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury Department) is also responsible for administering over $1 trillion of ARP funds and established the Office of Recovery Programs to serve as “one point of entry for grantees.”