What is The American Rescue Plan?: President Biden’s Stimulus Bill Explained

The American Rescue Plan is one of the most ambitious economic packages to date.

President Joe Biden´s economic package is popular with the American people with 70% of Americans supporting the American Rescue Plan. Doug Mills/The New York Times

COVID-19 has brought upon the U.S. an unprecedented economic calamity not seen since the Great Recession of 2008–09. Millions of Americans unemployed, businesses are shuttered, food queues stretching miles, schools are closed, Americans contemplating how they will pay the bills and provide for their families, over 500,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus. This pandemic has exacerbated our country’s underlying issues, an unjust and unfair economic and healthcare system to disparities within our racial society. The imperative for our nation’s leaders to act boldly via legislation has never been more stark.

President Joe Biden has unveiled his first opening legislative ambition as President: a $1.9 trillion stimulus deal meant to provide relief to the American people and address the health and financial crises aggravated by the pandemic.

The President’s proposal billed as the American Rescue Plan, builds upon many of the measures in Congress’ $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill from March and in the $900 billion legislation from December, which was scaled back to win support from Senate Republicans.

The President’s American Rescue Plan is ambitious in scope and cost, signaling a change from the Obama-era $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that Democrats passed and President Obama signed in February of 2009 in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

The size and scope of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan are a reflection of the lessons Democrats learned in 2009 when they believed they would have the chance to pass another relief bill but never did. President Biden & Congressional Democrats plan to go even further when it pertains to legislation with infrastructure, immigration, and criminal justice reform next on the table.

With that in mind, many Democrats and progressives plan to push the Biden administration and congressional leaders to go even further. Their mantra is that “the real risk is doing too little — not too much.”

Congressional Democrats and President Biden have learned from the lessons of the Obama administration’s battle with Congressional Republicans in passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the first major legislation signed by President Obama. During that battle, Congressional Republicans successfully pressured President Obama and Congressional Democrats in scaling back the bill if they wanted bipartisan support. In the end, every Republican in the House voted against the 2009 stimulus and only two Republicans in the Senate voted for the stimulus package.

Here is what President Biden’s American Rescue Plan hopes to accomplish. Below is a rundown of some of what the President is submitting before Congress:

The President’s American Rescue Plan has broad support from the American people according to a CBS News poll over 70% of Americans support the American Rescue Plan, in that same poll 60% of Republican voters support the President’s American Rescue Plan.

“According to the polls, there is overwhelming bipartisan support,” the President said on Feb. 19 at a Pfizer plant in Michigan that produces vaccines. “The vast majority of the American people — more than 70% of the American people, with all the polls you all conduct, including a majority of Republicans — want us to act, and act big and quickly and support the plan.”

In the early morning hours of February 27, the House voted along party lines (219–217) passed the American Rescue Plan it now goes to the Senate, where it faces a tougher battle as the bill slowly heads to the President’s desk by mid-March.



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