On March 11, 2021 President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion relief package known as the American Rescue Plan. The Plan narrowly advanced from the U.S. House of Representatives with a 220 to 211 vote, with only one Democrat (Rep. Jared Golden, D-ME) joining all Republican House members in voting against it. The Plan passed the U.S. Senate with a 50-49 vote before being presented to the President for his signature. Major components of the Plan include:

  • $1,400 in direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000
  • $300 billion in supplemental unemployment benefits
  • $350 billion of financial relief to state and local governments
  • $130 billion to assist schools in re-opening
  • $50 billion in small business aid, including $7 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program
  • $49 billion for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and personal protective equipment
  • $25 billion for small- and mid-sized restaurant support
  • $14 billion to aid vaccine distribution

The plan also includes $500 million to assist low-income wastewater and drinking water customers. This builds on $638 million in water affordability assistance provided to these customers by the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed by the 116th Congress. The Act allocates $638 million for a Low-Income Household Drinking Water and Wastewater Emergency Assistance Program to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Coronavirus. However, this is one-time funding for this Program and does not permanently establish or fund it. Additionally, the Plan also explicitly makes wastewater infrastructure needs eligible to access the $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.