In 2021, DARES will focus on advancing the Biden Administration’s priorities for Relief and Recovery that will:
Stabilize the Economy, Support Working Families and (Real) Small Businesses
- Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $15 per hour, eliminating the sub-minimum wage, and equalizing the tipped minimum. Raising the minimum wage is a highly effective macroeconomic tool for economic stimulus. We can jumpstart our consumer-driven economy by giving 40% of working Americans a raise;
- Provide regular cash payment to every US resident of $1,400 including tax-paying residents filing under ITIN numbers. (We will be encouraging Congress to include a full $2,000 that was promised in the Georgia Senate elections);
- Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) to make the benefits both more generous and more accessible;
- Extend the $400 weekly addition to Unemployment Insurance (UI), and extend the PUA program for self-employed and gig economy workers who are ineligible for traditional UI benefits;
- Extend the Paycheck Protection Program and provide $15 billion to provide over 1 million grants to the hardest hit small businesses;
- 14 weeks of paid sick and family medical leave through the end of September, eliminate exemptions for employers of over 500 or less than 50, include federal workers, and reimburse employers with fewer than 500 employees as well as state and local governments;
- Provide housing assistance by extending the eviction moratorium until the end of September, providing $25 billion in rental assistance, $5 billion for utilities, and $5 billion to secure housing for people experiencing homelessness;
- Extend the 15% increased benefit for SNAP through the summer. Invest $3 billion in WIC funding to help feed women, infants, and children.
Support/Expand Essential Institutions
- Provide $350 billion for state and local governments that are facing critical budget shortfalls that could result in mass layoffs and cuts to critical support services;
- Provide $130 billion to help schools reopen by hiring additional staff to reduce class size, modify spaces, and update facilities to meet public health standards;
- Expand the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, and provide $35 billion in funding to public institutions, community colleges, and HBCUs;
- An additional $15 billion to the Child Care and Development Block Grant to help those who experienced job interruption afford child care.
Expand Critical Health Initiatives
- Provide $50 billion for testing;
- Set a goal of 100 million vaccine shots in the first 100 days;
- Funding for 100,000 new public health workers to do vaccine outreach and contact tracing in the short-term, and improve long-term public health capacity in underserved communities;
- Identify and address emerging strains of SARS-CoV-2. The president’s proposal includes funding to dramatically increase our country’s sequencing, surveillance, and outbreak analytics capacity at the levels demanded by the crisis.
Each of these priorities enjoys widespread support among everyday Americans across the political spectrum. It is essential to our long term stability that common sense ideas like this are implemented in the next phase of relief and recovery.