President Biden Signs $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill

For Immediate Release
March 12, 2021

Media contact:
Elaine Sanchez Wilson
(202) 601-2970

Washington, DC – President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act yesterday. The bill is a $1.9 trillion package that will provide additional relief for millions of individuals, increase funding for schools to address learning loss, decrease barriers to healthcare, and support state, local, and tribal governments.

Below is a short summary of some of the key provisions within the bill:

  • $1,400 direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 or $2,800 for joint filers with incomes of up to $150,000, with an additional $1,400 per dependent. US citizens and lawful residents married to individuals without a Social Security number or undocumented parents with US citizen children are also eligible for direct payments.
  • $130 billion allocated for K-12 schools to help reopen schools safely, with a focus on addressing learning loss, and $40 billion for higher education, with half allocated to provide direct financial support for students;
  • $50 billion to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and another $15 billion for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine;
  • $3 billion for mental health and substance abuse support, with additional financial incentives for states to expand Medicaid. The bill also provides health insurance protections for individuals laid off from work;
  • Federal unemployment benefits are extended to Sept. 6;
  • $350 billion allocated to state, local, and tribal governments;
  • $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program
  • $28.6 billion for the creation of a new program for restaurants and bars hurt by COVID-19.

However, despite the robust nature of the bill, undocumented immigrants continue to remain largely excluded from the stimulus payments. Additionally, no language was included requiring the disaggregation of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander COVID-19 testing, infection, and vaccination data. The bill also did not include provisions requiring the translation of materials into Southeast Asian languages.

“We applaud President Biden and our congressional leaders for working tirelessly to sign into law the American Rescue Plan Act. Millions of Southeast Asian Americans will be able to breathe a little easier because of the many provisions in the bill that will directly provide support to our families during this pandemic,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “However, we would be remiss not to mention that are we extremely disappointed that millions of undocumented families will remain left out of the financial support included in this bill and that necessary information about COVID-19’s impact on Southeast Asian communities remain unavailable because of the lack of disaggregated AANHPI data. We will work closely to monitor implementation of this bill and continue to push for more equitable policies that will ensure that our communities can fully heal from this pandemic.”