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March 23, 2021 | Political Action

Washington Sends Help


President Joe Biden has signed the American Rescue Plan Act. The legislation puts money in our members’ pockets, protects pensions, helps our communities recover from the pandemic and provides critical resources to build a better future for our country. It may be the most important piece of federal legislation in our lifetime.

We must be clear: this bill is the result of the work of our members, our council and the UBC to elect candidates who support carpenters’ issues and values. Elections have consequences, and because many of you worked and voted for our endorsed federal candidates, this bill was able to pass Congress. We are grateful to our own Chuck Schumer, who serves as senate majority leader as well as the many other senators and representatives from our council who stood up for working class Americans and passed this bill.

The American Rescue Plan will provide both broad-based support to vaccination and reopening America as well as targeted financial assistance to those most in financial need.

It includes:
A new round of direct cash payments of $1400 to individuals making less than $80,000 and couples making a combined $160,000 or less. These checks are per person, including dependents.

Extended unemployment, increased by $300 a week through Sept. 6. This includes the “Pandemic Unemployment Insurance” program for independent contractors. The first $10,000 of unemployment insurance will be exempt from federal taxes.

Stabilizing multi-employer Pension Plans: This has been a top UBC legislative priority. The bill provides funding to stabilize endangered funds and the benefits of more than a million retirees collecting pensions, allowing them to avoid overwhelming the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Failure of the PBGC would result in significantly increased fund insurance premiums for all healthy pension funds, like ours. In addition to providing relief to several Carpenters union funds, this measure protects employers who participate in them, including several that are signatory to our council.

Fully refundable child tax credits, increased for 2021 from the current $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age 6).

Increased child and dependent care tax credits for 2021, including the amount of child and dependent care expenses that are eligible for the credit to $8,000 for one qualifying individual and $16,000 for two or more qualifying individuals.

COBRA Subsidies of 100% for those who have lost or are at risk of losing their health insurance coverage.

Emergency assistance for homeowners and renters struggling to afford housing costs.

This is a significant and comprehensive response from the President and Congress and union carpenters should appreciate it. Please contact the political team at politicalteam@nasrcc.org if you have questions or need assistance.