WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger tonight released the following statement after voting with a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass additional emergency COVID-19-related assistance for Central Virginia families, healthcare providers, and businesses.
“Virginia is making notable progress against this deadly virus, and our healthcare workers are fighting around the clock to save lives — but our communities remain in the midst of a once-in-a-generation pandemic, and there is still so much at stake. In the coming weeks and months, strong and coordinated vaccination efforts are the key to reopening our businesses, getting our children fully back to school, and protecting the most vulnerable among us.
“This emergency package provides billions of dollars in additional funding for vaccines, so that we can accelerate our current battle against COVID-19. I’ve heard about the pressing need for this funding directly from local health officials in Virginia. This legislation also prevents critical programs — like unemployment insurance and rental assistance — from expiring next month, so that our Virginia neighbors who rely on these programs are not left without shelter or left to starve. Additionally, this package includes new funding to support small businesses and restaurants. Based on many personal conversations with these employers, I know the true pain they’ve felt over the past year — and I know many in Virginia are still in need of a helping hand to keep their employees on the payroll, their operations open, and their lifelong dreams alive.
“Tonight’s vote is a necessary step to come to the immediate aid of our communities and to prevent lasting damage to our economy. I will be closely following the Senate’s progress in the days ahead as Congress works to move this package quickly to the President’s desk. Inaction — or the refusal to compromise — is unacceptable in the face of this lingering crisis.”
The American Rescue Plan Act includes many priorities for Central Virginia — such as additional funding for COVID-19 vaccination and testing efforts, new loans for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), extended unemployment insurance, continued rental assistance, and direct payments to individuals.
The American Rescue Plan Act contains several provisions to support Central Virginia communities, including:
- Strengthening funding for COVID-19 vaccinations and testing: The relief package includes billions of dollars in additional funding for COVID-19 vaccination and testing efforts — including more than $20 billion in additional funding to establish a national vaccination strategy to improve the administration and distribution of vaccinations in Virginia and across the country. Additionally, the legislation provides an extra $49 billion to expand testing, contact tracing, and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Supporting Central Virginia small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and new supports for restaurants and bars. The American Rescue Plan Act includes an additional $7.25 billion in PPP funding and would extend eligibility of nonprofits of all sizes and types — except for 501(c)4 lobbying organizations. Additionally, the emergency relief package would create a Restaurant Revitalization Fund through the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide $25 billion in assistance for restaurants and bars with fewer than 21 locations — with $5 billion set aside for smaller establishments that had less than $500,000 in 2019 annual revenue.
- Extending unemployment insurance: The American Rescue Plan Act would extend both the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) through August 29, 2021. Both programs are set to expire on March 14, 2021. Additionally, the legislation would extend the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) through August 29, 2021 and increase the weekly supplemental benefit from the existing $300 per week to $400 per week.
- Providing emergency rental assistance to working families. The legislation would provide $21.2 billion for emergency rental and utility assistance to states, counties, and cities to ensure families can remain in their homes, stabilize renters, and protect rental property owners.
- Increasing the Child Tax Credit for Virginia parents. The American Rescue Plan Act would make the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for 2021 and increase the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child and make 17-year-olds qualifying children for the year. The legislation would direct the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury to issue advance payments of this tax credit, based on parents’ 2019 or 2020 tax returns.
- Delivering direct payments. The legislation includes additional direct payments for working families and individuals in Virginia. The American Rescue Plan Act would provide additional direct payments — or “stimulus checks” — of $1400. Under the bill as currently written, single filers with incomes up to $75,000, head of household filers with incomes up to $112,500, and joint filers with incomes up to $150,000 would receive the full payment of $1,400.