The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan was signed by President Biden Thursday, March 11. After weeks of congressional debate, we have a bill that includes much-needed relief for states and localities and some IT-addressable areas for states and localities.
As with the CARES Act in March of 2020 and the Supplemental Appropriations Act in December of 2020, there will be a lag time of weeks and even months for some of the money to be distributed. There is also a lack of complete details on where the money is going and what, exactly, it can be spent on. Here is a recap of a summary we pulled together earlier this month:
Fiscal Relief to Government
States, localities and tribal governments will receive $350 billion in fiscal relief. These funds can be used to provide aid to households, small businesses or impacted industries; fund government services that were cut due to pandemic-related declines in revenue; or make necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.
States (Based on share of unemployment): $195.3 billion
Local Gov (Counties based on population; Cities based on CDBG criteria): $130.2 billion
Territories: $4.5 billion
Tribal Governments: $20 billion
States will receive $2 billion from the Department of Labor (DOL) to support program integrity and timely and equitable access to benefits. The secretary of DOL will use these funds to develop systemwide improvements related to program integrity, remove access barriers and clear up backlogs. State departments of Labor will work to modernize their UI benefits systems with a focus on validating identifies and preventing fraud, waste and abuse.
K-12 Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
$128.5 billion in grants will go to local education agencies to support the reopening of schools and learning loss associated with the pandemic. This is a continuation of the funds originally included in the CARES Act. These funds will support the re-opening of K-12 including distance learning, networking and solutions to keep students safe (i.e., occupancy management).
Higher Education Relief Fund
$39.6 billion to institutions of higher education. Fifty percent of new allocations must be directed to students receiving financial aid. This is a continuation of the funds originally included in the CARES Act. These funds will support the reopening of higher education including distance learning, networking and solutions to keep students safe (i.e., occupancy management).
E-Rate Connectivity Fund
$7.59 billion in an Emergency Connectivity Fund for schools and libraries to provide eligible connected devices, Internet service and equipment to support teachers and students.
Vaccine Distribution and Communication
$7.5 billion in funding including grants to public health departments from the CDC to support vaccine-related activities to prepare, promote, distribute, administer, monitor and track COVID-19 vaccines.
These funds will help state and local governments address communications gaps related to vaccine eligibility and appointments.
$46 billion for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and mitigation including building more testing sites, enhancing IT, data modernization and reporting.
Public Health Workforce
$7.7 billion to expand the public health workforce; funds can also be used for data management and other technologies that support this mission.
State-Based Marketplace Modernization
$20 million to award grants to state-based marketplaces to modernize any system, program or technology utilized by state-based marketplaces, such as insurance marketplaces.
Federal Transit Administration Grants
$30 billion to prepare, prevent and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic expenses include payroll, operating costs and maintaining services.
$8 billion to airports to support operations and to combat the spread of pathogens at airports.
Joe Morris is the vice president of research for the Center for Digital Government, operated by Government Technology's parent company, e.Republic.
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