In early March, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which allocated $350 billion to state and local governments across the United States. In addition to that, another $175 billion is being provided for education programs, primarily those in K-12. While this is a significant amount of relief for those facing dire situations due to the COVID-19 crisis, there is a framework on how the stimulus dollars can be used.
Agenda Discovery is a legislative tracking tool that allows businesses and non-profit organizations the ability to stay on top of developing laws that can impact their operations. With the string of stimulus dollars making their way into local government hands, it’s important to be aware of where it is going towards. We’ve written this article to educate you on the areas and industries benefiting from these dollars.
Local Governments are Using Stimulus to Support the Education Sector
Since the beginning of the pandemic, public and private schools have been hit extremely hard. To maintain the health and safety of school staff, students, and parents; schools across the United States made the transition to virtual learning to adapt to these unprecedented times.
To obtain funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, schools will submit proposals that mitigate strategies for safe reopening, evidence-based interventions, and how the spending will meet the needs of disadvantaged students. Additionally, schools will outline any other spending plans to ensure successful educational programs.
Most of the money allocated to K-12 schools will go directly to school districts based on the proportion of funding they receive. Some things schools have been using their stimulus money with are:
- Staff training on proper sanitation and personal protective equipment use
- Purchasing hardware and software to efficiently conduct remote and hybrid learning
- Repairing school facilities, like ventilation systems, to improve air quality and reduce the risk of spreading the virus
- And much more
The American Rescue Plan Act Will Significantly Impact Health Insurance
Under ARPA, it will eliminate an income cap that restricts people from Affordable Care Act tax credits to help reduce monthly insurance premiums. This law has a tremendous effect on our local communities, as it allows people above the poverty level to enjoy these tax credits. Additionally, it limits the amount of money people pay for marketplace health insurance to 8.5%, as opposed to the previous 9.83%. It’s a huge advantage for community members, but we will see how this impacts the local healthcare industry.
The Stimulus Benefits Local Health and Human Services Across the U.S.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Services (HHS), $150 million will be allocated to community-based health care providers to aid in their response to COVID-19. Its goal is to strengthen relief efforts and enhance services and infrastructure across the country. This ensures that these critical institutions get the resources they need to continue to operate and serve their communities.
How the ARPA Benefits Local Transportation
The U.S. Department of Transportation has indicated that the American Rescue Plan Act will provide immediate relief for the transportation industry and its workers. This ensures local transportation systems continue to operate and its workers are equipped with personal protective equipment, essential goods and services, and vaccines to combat the pandemic.
The ARPA contains a $30.5 billion stimulus specifically to assist with operating costs, including payroll and PPE expenses. Dedicated funds will support transportation services for the elderly and individuals with disabilities, and urban, rural, and tribal transit systems.
Track Local Law Developments with Agenda Discovery
This is only a fraction of what is being done with the ARPA stimulus. With the Agenda Discovery legislative tracking software, you can stay on top of any developments as a result of their newfound funds to assist during the pandemic. Contact Agenda Discovery today to learn how this innovative software keeps local government transparent.