WASHINGTON, D.C. -
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is delighted with the priorities and proposed investments President-Elect Biden announced during a Jan. 14 speech. The American Rescue Plan reflects a deep understanding of the many measures that are needed to fully meet the massive scope of the economic and public health crisis.
Among other things, it scales up the national vaccination effort, with a key focus on vulnerable populations, including incarcerated individuals. It also calls for Congress to appropriate $4 billion to enable the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Health Resources and Services Administration to expand access to these vital services.
In addition, the plan would enhance and extend at least through September (or beyond, if that is needed) numerous critically important relief measures:
- Unemployment insurance benefits
- Federal eviction and foreclosure moratoria
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits
- Paid sick days and family/medical leave for workers affected by COVID-19
We especially applaud the proposed direct $1,400 cash payments to working families, increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, boost in childcare supports, and temporary expansion of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit and increase in Economic Impact Payments. All of these will cushion the impact of the pandemic on a broad swath of the nation.
NASW urges Congress and the administration to swiftly enact legislation based on this robust proposal to create a path toward a just, complete recovery.