Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Heather Boushey, co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and member of the Biden Administration’s Council of Economic Advisors, highlighted efforts in the American Rescue Plan to reduce child poverty and help women and families recover from the economic crisis. The legislation provides critical tools to help rebuild a stronger, more equitable economy.
“The American Rescue Plan is one of the most significant pieces of poverty-reducing legislation in modern history and I’m proud it will deliver vital resources to help women and families recover from this crisis,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Women, particularly women of color, low-income families, and children have been hit hard by the pandemic and this bill meets the urgency of families struggling to make ends meet. It funds many provisions to cut child poverty in half, support our front-line workers, help our schools safely reopen, bolster the child care industry, and put money into pockets of those in need. I will keep fighting for resources to rebuild a strong and equitable economy that helps women and families fully recover.”
According to the National Women’s Law Center, more than 2 million women have left the U.S. workforce since the pandemic began and women have lost nearly a million more jobs than men during this time. Many have been forced to leave due to family considerations, including increased responsibilities as caregivers or because they work in industries that have been among the hardest-hit — these losses have disproportionately impacted Black and Latina women.
The American Rescue Plan delivers critical support to women, families, and communities in New York and across the country. The historic $1.9 trillion legislation includes vital provisions to expand nutrition benefits, reopen schools, bolster the child care industry with the single biggest investment in child care since WWII, and deliver money directly into families’ pockets. The bill also increases the Child Tax Credit which will benefit 66 million children nationwide and help lift 10 million children above the poverty line. In New York, the American Rescue Plan will help more than 3.5 million children.
Specifically, the American Rescue Plan includes the following provisions to help women and families recover:
- Increase the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child, $3,600 for a child under age 6, and make 17-year-olds qualifying children for the year. This means a typical family of four with two young children will receive an additional $3,200 in assistance to help cover costs associated with raising children – benefiting 66 million kids.
- Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit for 17 million workers by as much as $1,000, benefiting many frontline workers including cashiers, food preparers and servers, and home health aides.
- Provide $130 billion to help K-12 schools implement CDC guidelines, repair and upgrade ventilation, hire more staff, purchase PPE, and other resources to reopen schools. Senator Gillibrand cosponsored the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2021 to invest more than $100 billion in grant funding to schools with facilities that pose health and safety risks to students and staff, allocate funding for updates to combat the spread of COVID-19, and expand access to reliable, high-speed broadband to continue digital learning.
- $40 billion in federal funding to stabilize child care providers as they work to safely reopen, including $25 billion to create an emergency stabilization fund for child care providers, $15 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program, and $1 billion for Head Start funding. The legislation also gives families an additional tax credit to help cut child care costs by providing a refundable tax credit as much as half of their spending on child care for children under age 13. Families could receive a total of up to $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children. With nearly half of all child care providers closed due the pandemic, Gillibrand has stood with local leaders in Upstate New York to call for the inclusion of a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund.
- Extension of emergency SNAP increase and P-EBT benefits and $1 billion in nutrition assistance to Puerto Rico and territories. To address the hunger crisis caused by the pandemic, Gillibrand pushed the Senate to provide temporary increase in maximum SNAP benefits by 15% and extend the benefits through September, and extend the P-EBT program through the summer and expand eligibility. Gillibrand also pushed for and secured $1.135 billion in funding for state administration expenses associated with SNAP. Additionally, Gillibrand led Senate colleagues in a push to provide expeditious and fair implementation of the P-EBT Program in Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories.
- Emergency increase in Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Cash Value Vouchers up to $35 per month for women and children. Senator Gillibrand successfully fought for the inclusion of a vital CVV increase to support women and children for a four-month period during the pandemic.
- $4.5 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Senator Gillibrand has repeatedly pushed for resources to ensure New Yorkers can afford their utilities and urged Senate leadership to maintain House negotiated funding for LIHEAP. When millions of workers were laid off at the beginning of the pandemic, Senator Gillibrand fought alongside her colleagues to deliver $900 million in LIHEAP funding in the CARES Act. Gillibrand also successfully pushed the Trump administration to immediately release the emergency funding and send a vital lifeline to New Yorkers.
Additionally, the American Rescue Plan expands federal emergency paid leave and paid leave tax credits. The American Rescue Plan provides $570 million in additional funding to support an additional 15 weeks of paid leave at $1,400 per week to all federal workers, including USPS employees, for COVID-19 related reasons for themselves and their families through September 2021. This includes vaccine appointments and complications, and school closures due to the pandemic. The bill also provides tax credits to employers who voluntarily offer two weeks of paid sick leave for COVID-19 illnesses and 10 weeks of paid family leave for pandemic related reasons through October 1. These provisions give millions of workers nationwide the ability to stay home when sick, helping to slow the spread of coronavirus. The provisions also prevent workers from having to choose between their paycheck or their health when they needed to stay home to care for themselves or a loved one.
Gillibrand is continuing to fight for her Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, to create a permanent, national paid family and medical leave program. The FAMILY Act would ensure that every worker, no matter the size of their employer or if they are self-employed or part-time, has access to paid leave for every serious medical event, every time it’s needed.