Federal Advocacy

The American Rescue Plan

On March 10, 2021, the House of Representatives approved a Senate-amended version of President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package - the American Rescue Plan. The package includes $350 billion in aid for state and local governments, along with additional funding for other areas like education, rental assistance and transit. It now heads to the President's desk for signing.

Below are highlights of what is in the bill, including links to additional resources. Click here for the text of the final, enrolled bill. Click here for a complete section-by-section summary.

Highlights of the American Rescue Plan

Issue Area

American Rescue Plan Provision

Additional Resources

State and local fiscal aid (CRF Augmented)

Top line amount $350 billion

$195.3B for states and DC:

  • $25.5B divided equally, small state minimum increased to $1.25B
  • DC made whole from CARES Act, $1.3B
  • $169B distributed by formula based on state's share of unemployed workers

$130.2B for locals:

  • Cities = $65.1B [Pop. > 50k ($44.7B, allocation based on modified CDBG formula); Pop. < 50k ($19.53B, non-CDBG Eligible, money flows through state, allocation capped based on budget but cannot exceed 75 percent of budget as of 1/27/20)]
  • Counties = $65.1B, allocation based on population

$10B for Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund:

  • Payments to States, territories, and Tribal governments
  • Use for critical capital projects "directly enabling work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the public health emergency"
  • $100M minimum payments, remainder is allocated using a three part formula based on overall population, rural population, population below the poverty line

$20B tribal governments, $4.5B for territories, $2B for eligible revenue sharing counties and eligible Tribes

Other notes:

  • Treasury could choose to withhold up to 50% of the allocation to each state (essentially creating two tranches for payment)
  • Payments to local governments will be made in two tranches - first half 60 days after enactment, second half one year later
  • Broad definition of allowable uses, including lost revenue (limited to revenue loss due to pandemic relative to fiscal year prior to the emergency), negative economic impact of the pandemic, and necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure
  • Funds cannot be used to offset tax cuts or delay a tax; funds cannot be deposited into a pension fund
  • Funds available and use completed by December 31, 2024
  • Treasury maintains administration, GAO and PRAC conduct oversight, Treasury IG retains audit authority

Location in bill - Subtitle M, Sec. 9901

*Click here for a summary of changes in the Senate bill

*Click here for allocation estimates

Emergency rental assistance

Top line = $21.5B

  • $18.6B in funding to Treasury for emergency rental and utility assistance that would be allocated to states, territories, counties, and cities to help stabilize renters during the coronavirus pandemic, and help rental property owners of all sizes continue to cover their costs
  • $9.96B to states, territories, and tribes to address the ongoing needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing due directly or indirectly to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing related costs
  • $2.5B reserved for high-need grantees

Location in bill - Sec. 3201

*Click here for allocation estimates

*Click here for Supplemental FLC Overview of Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Education stabilization fund

Top line = $122.7B for grants to State educational agencies

  • States required to allocate no less than 90 percent to local educational agencies (LEA), to be made in accordance with the same terms and conditions applicable to funds provided in fiscal year 2021 for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF) of the Education Stabilization Fund
  • SEAs are required to reserve at least 5 percent of new ESSERF allocations to carry out activities to address learning loss
  • LEAs must reserve at least 20 percent of newly allocated ESSERF sub-grants to address learning loss. The LEA reservation for learning loss is subject to equitable services
  • LEAs must create and submit to states school reopening plans

Location in bill - Sec. 2001

*Click here for 3/17/21 announcement from U.S. Dept. of ED on allocations

*Click here for analysis by American Assoc. of School Administrators

Transportation and Infrastructure

  • $50B to FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund (reimbursement for activities including vaccination efforts, deployment of the National Guard, providing personal protective equipment for critical public sector employees, and disinfecting activities in public facilities such as schools and courthouses)
  • Economic Development Administration: $3B to provide economic adjustment assistance to help prevent, prepare for, and respond to economic injury caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Transit: $30B to help assist with operating costs, including payroll and personal protective equipment
  • Airports: $8B, including $800M for airport concessionaires
  • Aerospace manufacturing: $3B for a temporary payroll support program to retain or rehire workers

Locations in bill - Transit (Sec. 3401), FEMA (Sec. 4005), EDA (Sec. 6001), Airports (Sec. 7102), Aerospace manufacturing (Sec. 7202)

*Click here for FEMA DRF estimates

*Click here for transit relief estimates for urbanized areas

*Click here for rural transit relief estimates

Low-income water and energy assistance

  • $4.5B to HHS for home energy assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • $500M available to HHS to provide financial assistance to low income and other consumers adversely affected financially by COVID-19 to assist with payments for drinking water and wastewater expenses

Locations in bill text - Secs. 2911 and 2912

Emergency paid sick leave credits

  • Grants state and local governments as well as Federal governmental instrumentalities that are tax-exempt 501(c)(1) organizations the ability to access the paid sick time and paid family leave credits under the FFCRA
  • Access to credits for leave provided March 31, 2021 through September 30, 2021

Location in bill - Title IX (Committee on Finance), Subtitle G, Part 5

Direct stimulus payments

  • Provide $1,400 for each taxpayer in addition to $1,400 per dependent
  • Phases out between: $75,000 and $80,000 of AGI for single filers; $112,500 and $120,000 of AGI for head of household filers; $150,00 and $160,000 of AGI for joint filers)

Location in bill - Subtitle G, Sec. 9601

*Click here for state-level estimates of direct payments

Implementation Guidance and Resources

On April 15, 2021, Treasury released its guidance on pre-award requirements that outline immediate steps recipients need to take in order to receive Recovery Funds. This information may be especially important to smaller governments or government that have not received federal funding, so we ask that you please distribute to your networks.

Submission instructions to the US Treasury will very likely follow soon, but as of now those instructions are not yet available. Though we would suggest that as a part of this preparation process your executive or authorized officer is prepared to certify the submission.

 GFOA will continue to post updates here as they are announced.

Submit Questions to GFOA Staff