CounselorsEmpowerACA Government Affairs Blog

The ACA Government Affairs team strives to keep the counseling community connected with important legislative news, updates, and announcements that affect the profession. Questions? Want to get involved in our advocacy efforts? Email us at 


Mar 9, 2021

U.S. Senate Passes the American Rescue Plan Act

On Saturday, March 6, 2021, the Senate passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), as amended, by a vote of 50-49. The $1.9 trillion relief package includes direct payments of up to $1,400 to most Americans, a $300 weekly boost to jobless benefits into September and an expansion of the child tax credit for one year. It also provides additional funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and testing, rental assistance for struggling households, reopening costs for K-12 schools and $14 billion in payroll support for U.S. airlines.

Senators passed the bill through budget reconciliation, a process that required no Republican support but every Democratic vote. Although the Senate version of the legislation has gained approval, there were a few changes from the House version of the bill.

Notable changes between the two relief bills include dropping a provision that would gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour and reduce the number of people who will qualify for a $1,400 stimulus payment. The bill keeps many provisions from the House version and added a provision to make student loan forgiveness passed between Dec 31, 2020 and Jan 1, 2026 tax-free.

The ARP will now go back to the House for a vote on the bill as amended by the Senate. The Democratic-held House would like to pass the bill on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, and send it to the President for his signature before a March 14, 2021 deadline to renew unemployment aid programs. We will keep you updated as things progress and provide bill details once the legislation is passed by the House.

If you have questions about the American Rescue Plan Act or would like to become involved in ACAs advocacy efforts, please contact us at

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Guila Todd

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Government Affairs Manager

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