Hispanic Federation Statement on Passage and Signing of the American Rescue Plan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 11, 2021
Hispanic Federation President and CEO Frankie Miranda issued the following statement on the enactment of the American Rescue Plan:
“President Biden has signed into law one of the most important and urgent pieces of federal legislation in a generation. The American Rescue Plan is a landmark accomplishment that will improve the lives of millions of Americans at the moment when they are most in need. As the nation begins the slow and painful process of regaining its footing after a full year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden Administration and Democrats in the House and Senate have given the economy a jumpstart and increased the safety net for the most vulnerable Americans.
Hispanic Federation joins with Latino communities across the United States in celebrating this accomplishment. As a people that have borne the brunt of this pandemic, Latinos know how important this legislation is for us to get back on a path of healing and recovery. Our infection, hospitalization, and mortality rates are the highest in the nation and the economic impact of pandemic-related shutdowns and business closures has increased unemployment, threatened housing, and caused food insecurity to climb. No other event in the last fifty years—including the Great Recession of 2008—has had a more devastating impact on Latino families as has COVID-19.
The American Rescue Plan includes several important and immediate impact provisions that will help our community including direct relief payments of $1,400 to individuals and families covering 85 percent of American households, an expansion of both the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits, an extension of unemployment benefits, increased access to food benefits, expanded eligibility for Obamacare, and support for worker pensions. This is to say nothing about the critical support that the law provides for state and localities to increase COVID-19 testing capacity and vaccination.
We were especially pleased that the law also specifically addresses long-term, devastating disparities in the Earned Income and Child Tax Credit programs for Puerto Rico. The island has been devastated by COVID-19, and a host of other structural problems and natural disasters in recent years, and the new law provides direct increased aid to families on the island.
Given the national scope of the COVID-19 pandemic, one would have hoped that elected officials, irrespective of political party, would have joined together to support this bill. That was not to be and that is a shame. For now, we are left to thank one side of the aisle and those in Congress that understand that American families of modest means are struggling and need our federal government to stand with them. On that note, we want to offer a word of thanks and admiration for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Long before he rose to lead the Senate, those of us who have worked closely with Senator Schumer in New York understood his relentless advocacy for working families. But in the face of obstinate opposition and a dispiriting public campaign of misinformation and obfuscation, Senator Schumer kept his eyes on the prize and negotiated for the American people, not against them. Elections matter and all the more so when political power rests in the hands of those who know that our nation can only be as strong as the most vulnerable among us."