The Senate passed by a vote of 50 to 49 the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package containing nearly $50 billion in essential housing and homelessness assistance, including $27.4 billion for rental assistance and $5 billion to assist people who are homeless. These investments will help prevent millions of low-income people from losing their homes during the pandemic and will provide cities and states with the resources they need to help people experiencing homelessness find and remain safely housed throughout the duration of the pandemic and beyond.
The floor vote was preceded by a debate and “vote-a-rama,” during which senators had the opportunity to offer an unlimited number of amendments to the bill before the final vote. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) began the “vote-a-rama” by offering an amendment to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, despite the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling that the provision violates the strict rules governing budget reconciliation. The amendment was not ultimately adopted. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) proposed an adopted amendment targeting $800 million of the $12.8 billion for school funding included in the bill to support the identification, enrollment, and school participation of children and youth experiencing homelessness, including wrap-around services.
The Senate bill allocates $21.55 billion for emergency rental assistance, up from the $20.25 billion included in the House bill, including a $2.5 billion set-aside for high-need communities. The differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill require the House to vote again on the American Rescue Plan Act before it can be sent to President Biden for his signature. The House will likely hold a floor vote on the Senate’s version of the bill as soon as March 9, with the goal of enacting the legislation before expanded unemployment provisions expire on March 14.
Read NLIHC’s analysis of the housing provisions included in the American Rescue Plan Act at: https://tinyurl.com/dakk3mk
Contact your representatives and urge them to vote to approve the relief package through NLIHC’s Legislative Action Center: https://nlihc.org/take-action