CROTON, NY — April 1, 2021 — The American Rescue Plan, recently passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Biden, represents a massive investment to rebuild our economy and protect public health. The legislation, which builds on the CARES Act and two other bipartisan bills passed in 2020, shows that decisive action by our government can effectively respond to a severe crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
By extending unemployment benefits, supporting small businesses, funding state vaccination programs and helping schools re-open, the Rescue Plan coordinates a variety of efforts to address the health and economic impacts of the pandemic in a comprehensive way. Neither local government, charities, or market forces can achieve similar results with the same effectiveness.
The investment in school reopening is a good example. Districts that could not otherwise afford to upgrade ventilation or retrofit classrooms to allow for distancing will now be able to safely provide in-person instruction. Every school will have protective equipment for teachers and access to testing for the virus. Investments to upgrade technology will address the gap in achievement for schools in low income communities.
Much of the national response to the challenges of the pandemic received broad support in Congress. The CARES Act passed in March of last year with nearly unanimous support from both Democrats and Republicans, and although the American Rescue Plan that passed this month did not enjoy the same level of bipartisan support, many Republicans have expressed approval for aspects of the Plan that the Democratic majority passed.
In the coming months, Congress will have a chance to build on its successful response to the pandemic. There is broad public support for proposals to address our massive infrastructure needs, to help the Dreamers, and to combat the effects of climate change. Congressional leaders must engage in serious negotiation and compromise to insure that solutions to these problems can advance. And when election season rolls around next year, voters can decide if their representatives have been willing to rise above partisan divisions to get something done and make government a force that people can once again trust and applaud