Getting reacquainted with hope
Getting reacquainted with the feeling of hope is strange in the best way. It's been a long, hard road... With the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act signed into law last week, there are a few glimmers. Several of these affect me and members of my family directly. According to the latest news: So, ARP has ensured distribution of $1,400 stimulus checks throughout the U.S. (I received mine last night.) It also provided much-needed relief to small businesses hardest hit by Covid; expanded access to emergency paid leave and unemployment benefits; extended critical financial assistance to help secure housing for people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness; and bolsters programs like SNAP (which some of my family members need). The ARP will reduce overall poverty by nearly one-third and cut child poverty nearly in half, largely due to a major expansion of the child tax credit (CTC). As we approach the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act's introduction (which some of my family members still benefit from), the ARP will increase tax credits for health insurance, ensuring that no one pays more than 8.5% of their household income toward the cost of benchmark or less expensive plans. We're now seeing the U.S. step into a leadership role, with increased testing, a national vaccination plan that includes equitable distribution plans (most of my family has now received their doses of the vaccine), and funding to safely reopen schools. I don't know about you and your family. But, I'm grateful, at this time.