Thinking about the American Rescue Plan this morning and I feel light as a feather. It fills me up with something unknown, something almost unheard of during the past year.
Biden's $1.9 trillion dollar stimulus package is a sign of that, yes. But it's something even bigger than hope. This bill shows us a future where we can not only agree with the policies of the federal government but a future where this is an institution that you can admire earnestly, a competent elected body that doesn't despise you. And goddamn if that isn't something to be extremely hopeful for.
Just look at what's in this bill:
- Extends unemployment benefits
- $1400 checks to folks who need it most
- Emergency paid leave for 100 million people
- 15% increase in food stamp benefits
- Expands child tax credit
- Forgiven student loan debt (not a part of this bill) will be tax free (if it is forgiven in the future)
- Tax increases on the mega wealthy and closing corporate loop holes which will increase federal funding by $60 billion
- Billions of dollars in loans and grants to help small businesses
- $350 billion for state, local, and tribal governments
- Education funding to help schools reopen safely
- Housing funding (like 20 billion in rental assistance programs and billions of dollars in funding helping the homeless)
- Funding the COVID 19 vaccine rollout
- Helping pension funds not go insolvent
- Mass funding for transportation
- Debt forgiveness for farmers
- Billions of dollars for cyber security with $200 million set aside for the U.S. digital service
- A ton of healthcare improvements
This is what a functional, healthy, and kind democracy looks like. And it's worth reminding ourselves every day from now until the midterms that not a single Republican voted for this bill.