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Opinion Pieces

Opinion: Commentary: Beyer Highlights American Rescue Plan Benefits

Originally Published in The Connection Newspapers

Last week, Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) voted to pass the landmark American Rescue Plan and send it to President Biden’s desk for signature. Today Beyer highlighted the legislation’s infusion of resources for Virginia families and communities.

This pandemic and the historic economic crisis it caused inflicted untold hardship, but help is on the way,” said Beyer. “On the day we passed it, I said my vote for the American Rescue Plan was the most consequential vote I had ever cast. Now people are beginning to see why we pushed so hard to get a big, ambitious relief bill through Congress. The pain and suffering of this pandemic have not been evenly distributed, and the American Rescue Plan will get aid to those who need it most as quickly as possible. The assistance in this bill is going to be huge for communities in Northern Virginia, the whole Commonwealth, and across the country.”

The pandemic and economic crisis have had a severe impact on Virginia:

  • Since the pandemic began, more than 595,000 Virginians have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 10,000 have died;

  • The unemployment rate in Virginia is 5.3%, up from 2.5% before the pandemic, with 300,000 fewer Virginians employed

  • 503,000 adults – 9% of all adults in the state – report not having enough food to eat, including 308,000 adults living with children. 15% of all Virginia adults living with children report that the children in their household do not have enough to eat.

  • An estimated 267,000 Virginia renters or 14% of renters are not caught up on rent.

  • An estimated 1,929,000 adults – 31% of all adults across the Commonwealth – report having difficulty covering normal household expenses.

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan will save lives and livelihoods with targeted state and local relief for Virginia families, communities, and small businesses:

  • $4.431 billion in fiscal relief for the Commonwealth of Virginia;

  • $2.913 billion in local fiscal relief to local governments, including an estimated

    • $59.38 million for Alexandria
    • $45.93 million for Arlington
    • $13.28 million for Falls Church
    • $222.56 million for Fairfax County
  • More than $2.187 billion in relief for Virginia K-12 schools;

  • Economic impact payments of up to $1,400 per person for more than 5,118,900 Virginia adults and 1,884,700 children. This is 82 percent of all adults in the state and 81 percent of all children in the state.

  • Additional relief of up to $1,600 per child through the Child Tax Credit to the families of 1,591,000 children, lifting 85,000 Virginia children out of poverty;

Additional relief of up to nearly $1,000 through the Earned Income Tax Credit to 419,000 childless Virginia workers, including many on the frontline; and

  • Marketplace health insurance premiums that are $1,503 lower per month for a 60-year old Virginia couple earning $75,000 per year.

Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, which drafted portions of the American Rescue Plan’s legislative text.