Committee Reacts to House Passage of American Rescue Plan

For Immediate Release

The House today approved a COVID relief bill to continue combating the pandemic and supporting the economic recovery, which will now go to President Biden for his signature. While the final bill includes important COVID-related provisions, a substantial portion is not well targeted to the needs of the economy. Below is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

Congress has now dedicated almost $6 trillion to fighting the pandemic and supporting the economy. But the fact is we should’ve and could’ve designed this latest bill better.

The final legislation was amended to add safeguards around the state and local aid and a more reasonable weekly unemployment supplement, but it still dedicates hundreds of billions of dollars where it isn’t needed. Some cities and states with budget surpluses will still get aid. Many six-figure households that lost no income will still get $1,400 per person in rebate checks.

Meanwhile, other long-standing policy priorities have been squeezed into an emergency bill on a temporary basis, even though lawmakers clearly intend to make them permanent. This is a poor way to make policy and ensure new programs are vetted carefully and financed responsibly.

If those temporary provisions are extended or made permanent, the plan could add $4 trillion to the debt over a decade, more than double the publicized price tag.

For all of its flaws, we are hopeful this package will help end the pandemic and will restore the economy to its prior strength. At that point, we’ll need a plan to tackle our high and rising national debt.


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