The Biden-Harris Administration has reached the halfway point of the first 100 days of the Biden Presidency. As promised, the American Counseling Association (ACA) will continue to update our members quarterly during the first 100 days on the progress of this Administration and the policies being implemented that are important to counselors.
ACA continues to approve of this Administration’s approach to working with Congress to implement policies that benefit our nation. We believe the efforts being made, in time, will positively affect the counseling community, and the clients you serve. There is undoubtedly work that needs to be done within the White House and the Halls of Congress in order to improve the mental health provider shortage, systemic racism and supporting school counselors, among other issues. ACA continues to remain available to the Administration to provide our expertise to support the profession.
Biden-Harris Administration actions during the 2nd quarter* of the first 100 Days:
- The American Rescue Plan fully passed on March 10th, 2021 with amendments and was signed into law by the President on March 11th. The plan has a variety of benefits, including:
- Public Health: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will receive $7.5 billion to administer and distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
- Direct Payments: $1,400 per person for individuals earning up to $75,000 or married couples earning up to $150,000. An additional $1,400 for each claimed dependent on their tax returns.
- Unemployment Benefits: Remaining at $300 per week for federal unemployment insurance payments until September 6, 2021.
- Child Tax Credit: Temporarily expands the child tax credit. $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17, and $3,600 for children under the age of 6.
- Paycheck Protections Plan (PPP): $7.25 billion for the small business loan program. This includes funds for groups that engage in advocacy and limited lobbying, and now larger not-for-profit organizations are eligible.
- Education: $128 billion in state educational grants, $39 billion in grants to higher education and block grant funding for child-care facilities.
- Low-Income Family Support: $4.5 billion for Energy Assistance (LIHEAP), increase in vouchers for the SNAP and WIC programs up to $35 per month, and $1.4 billion is authorized under the Older American Act that will support nutrition programs, community-based support programs and caregiver support.
- Small Business Support: $5 billion for businesses with less than $500,000 in revenue in 2019.
- Rental Assistance: $25 billon for emergency rental assistance. $5 billon of this is for survivors of domestic violence, homelessness and victims of human trafficking.
- The President issued an official statement in support of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021.
- Executive Order on the Establishment of the Gender Policy Council. (Fact Sheet)
- Executive Order on Educational Environment Free from Discrimination.
- Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting.
- Proclamation on Women History’s Month 2021.
- The President adds Health Care Policy expert Elizabeth Jurinka to his team, along with other hires.
The first 50 days of the Administration has shown promise to the counseling profession. The Administration has focused on issues relating to the nation’s workforce, health care, our schools and moving the nation forward through the COVID-19 pandemic. ACA will continue to monitor policy actions of this Administration, and we look forward to working with them on issues that are important for ACA membership.
We encourage you to communicate your concerns and offer your expertise to the White House. Also, sign up for the American Counseling Association’s Action Alerts to stay involved and take actions that support the counseling profession. The voice of counselors not only matters, it also makes a difference.
Look out for Part III of this four-part series in April 2021. If you have questions or comments, please contact the Government Affairs and Public Policy team by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Please note ACA has only focused on issues that were incorporated into the 2021 legislative agenda for the association. For more information, please visit the White House
official website. ACA does not endorse any candidate or elected official. We do however focus on the policy issues that affect our members and the client’s membership serves.