The ongoing crisis of COVID-19 has only added to the economic crisis that has been faced by many people. The Biden-Harris administration, being aware of this, pushed forward the American Rescue Plan which was recently passed by Congress. The American Rescue Plan is intended to address three main concerns that have been weighing on the minds of the nation: providing direct relief, safely reopening schools, and initiating a national vaccination program to contain COVID-19.
One of the principal upsides of the act pertains to health coverage. For those who lost coverage or are uninsured under this plan, healthcare coverage will be easier to afford for the majority of Americans. If this system were to become permanent, healthcare would become more affordable, leading to a healthier nation. There is, however, a con within this assumption. It doesn’t seem as though The White House has a desire to make this permanent; the provisions won’t extend past 2022. Past that point, the healthcare system may be in critical condition.
The American Rescue Plan also figures to facilitate the reopening of schools nationwide. On a phone call with The Knight News, Senator Schumer revealed that“We did get 2.6 billion dollars from the American Rescue Plan for New York colleges and universities.” Senator Schumer went on to mention that 25.8 million dollars of this sum was appropriated to Queens College, and that the money would be provided on the condition that half of it would go directly to student aid.
Another of the promises made by the plan is the promise to contain COVID-19. While the nation is hopeful that it will succeed, there are several issues that will prove difficult to conquer. The first is that Texas, Mississippi, and Iowa, along with a few other states, have lifted mask requirements. Experts including CDC Director Rochelle Walensky have opined that this is inadvisable. First, we are at risk of a potential resurgence and one of the new variants of COVID-19 may push us back to square one. Second, there are many in our nation who still refuse to recognize the reality of the pandemic and refuse to wear a mask or practice social distancing. However, this can be avoided while still allowing businesses to open if we continue to follow the CDC guidelines which state that masks and social distancing must be enforced.
Senate Democrats overall support the plan while Senate Republicans overall don’t see a point in the existence of the plan. Republican Senators Pat Toomey and John Thune. of Pennsylvania and South Dakota, respectively, have stated that, to them, the plan means nothing because the allotted money that will go to issues that don’t seem to have anything to do with COVID-19. However, Senate Democrats state that the plan is necessary as employment levels aren’t expected to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2024 and unemployment levels won’t fall until 2026. In the meantime, Americans need relief in order to support themselves and their families. However, different guidelines in each state suggest that the goal may not be achieved as fast as we hope.
Overall, the plan is promising yet we need to make sure that politicians are held accountable for the actions and promises that they make.