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Utah Life Sciences News & Events

President Biden Unveils COVID-19 Relief Plan

January 22, 2021

President Biden has unveiled the first part in his two-part plan for rescue and economic recovery—the American Rescue Plan. He is expected to lay out part two – the Build Back Better Recovery Plan, next month. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is intended to address immediate COVID-19 needs, while the Build Back Better Recovery Plan will be aimed at economic growth.

Key elements of the American Rescue Plan include:

  • $20 billion for a national vaccination program
  • $50 billion for expanding COVID-19 testing
  • $400 per week enhanced unemployment benefits through Sept. 2021
  • $350 billion for states and local governments
  • $35 billion more for small-businesses financing program
  • Increase to $15 per hour the minimum wage

The legislation is likely to be modified as it moves through the legislative process, particularly in the Senate where a bipartisan package will be needed to garner the 60 votes necessary to end debate and send a bill to the president’s desk. With Republican pushback expected on controversial provisions, such as the increase in the minimum wage and so-called funding “bailout” for states, Democrats may try to use budget reconciliation procedures to move the rescue plan in total through the Senate with a simple majority vote. The use of budget reconciliation requires that certain criteria be met, which could complicate the extent to which the full plan or only certain elements could be included in a reconciliation mechanism.