On March 11, 2021, and after months of debate in the US Congress regarding the federal government’s third round of COVID-19-related economic stimulus, President Joseph R. Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) into law.
The legislation — and the price tag — is massive and likely to affect virtually all areas of the US economy. The package includes direct stimulus payments to individuals and families, initiatives to reduce child poverty and expand access to affordable healthcare, an expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), investments in the safe reopening of public schools, more federal dollars for COVID-19 testing and vaccines, support for small businesses and employers as well as state, local and tribal governments, and much more. (The act itself is more than 600 pages long.)
One of the largest pieces of legislation in US history (in terms of total dollars allocated), the package did not include every item on lawmakers’ wish lists. Among notable proposals dropped from the final legislation in order to garner enough votes for passage were an increase in the federal minimum wage and funding for various high-profile transportation- and infrastructure-related projects. The Biden administration and some legislators have indicated that they will continue to pursue these and other goals in future bills.