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Biden Administration Unveils the American Rescue Plan

Jan 15, 2021
Behavioral Health is included in the proposal for the next iteration of COVID-19 relief.

On January 14th, President-elect Joe Biden unveiled the American Rescue Plan, his proposal for Congress’ next iteration of COVID-19 relief. The plan includes $1.9 trillion in additional spending to fund a number of COVID-19, health, economic and national security priorities. Included in the plan are $1,400 in additional stimulus checks for Americans and a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 nationally. The plan includes the following provision of note:

  • Behavioral Health: The proposal includes $4 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to expand access to behavioral health services.

The plan is a serious bid that will now kickstart negotiations with Congressional leadership. The proposal is likely to receive broad support among Democrats in both chambers, but passage of the President-elect’s proposal is far from assured. The HEROES Act contained many provisions not included in the President-elect’s proposal, and with tight margins in the House, only a few progressive members who may oppose the proposal for not “going far enough” could potentially block passage. We expect that Senate Republicans will object to the $1.9 trillion price tag of the proposal, which could leave Democrats with the budget reconciliation process as the only viable path to passage.

While it should be expected that President-elect Biden will actively engage with his former Congressional colleagues to reach a deal, we are likely months away from anything resembling a deal that could achieve final passage.

The American Counseling Association is committed to working with the White House Administration and the United States Congress to secure funding that will support Mental Health Care and Substance Abuse Programs. We are asking all counselors to join us in working to increase funding and programming for Behavioral Health. Please sign-up to become an advocate today.

If you have questions, please contact the ACA Government Affairs team at advocacy@counseling.org.

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