On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress one day earlier, into law. ARPA is the sixth major COVID-19 response legislation to become law since the spring of 2020. The Act is notable in that it passed Congress without any support from Senate and House Republican lawmakers, who serve in the minority party in both chambers. It also clocks in as one of the most expensive government spending bills in history with a price tag of $1.9 trillion. The total cost of all major COVID-19 laws to date is $5.5 trillion. To put that in perspective, $5.5 trillion is more than the GDP of all but two countries: the United States and China. Historically, it is one of the biggest government outlays that exceeds one of the only comparable efforts: World War II, which in 2020 dollars cost the federal government approximately $4 trillion.
Critics of the Democrat-only bill decried it for containing extraneous government spending and/or temporary provisions that Democrats will attempt to make permanent in order to expand the government’s social safety net and advance the party’s agenda. (One high profile example was the push to include a $15 Federal minimum wage as part of the COVId-19 package; it was ultimately ruled non-germane by the Senate parliamentarian and stripped from the bill.) Federal debt and concerns of potentially overheating the economy were also cited by those opposing the Act. Proponents of ARPA contended that time was of the essence (and, indeed, unemployment benefits were scheduled to expire on March 14, 2021), and that such spending was critical to the next phase of the economic and societal pandemic recovery.
The comprehensive ARPA also addressed funding and programs related to vaccines, school re-openings, small business funding, and state and local financial support, unemployment benefits, and health insurance, among other provisions. Special recovery programs aimed at economic sectors, such as the restaurant and live events venue sectors, were also included. An overview of ARPA provided by House Democrats can be found here (PDF). A more extensive summary of ARPA provided by the law firm Holland + Knight can be found here (PDF).
PRINTING United Alliance is committed to helping the industry learn how ARPA will affect the industry and member companies, their employees, and their customers. Please see our ARPA Break Out blog posts by topic to learn more. We will continue to update member companies with details of the implementation of ARPA as they roll out in order to help the printing industry best understand the new law’s applicability and requirements.
- American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Targeted Assistance to Key Print Verticals
- American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Small Business Funding
- American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Employee Benefits Provisions
- American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Tax Policy
In this article, Lisbeth addresses the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. More information about ARPA can be found at www.sgia.org or reach out to Lisbeth should you have additional questions specific to how these issues may affect your business: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To become a member of PRINTING United Alliance and learn more about how PRINTING United Alliance subject matter experts can assist your company with services and resources such as those mentioned in this article, please contact the Alliance membership team: 888-385-3588 / email@example.com.
Lisbeth Lyons is Vice President, Government & Political Affairs, PRINTING United Alliance, the largest, most comprehensive graphic arts trade association in the country. With more than 20 years of experience representing the voice of business on Capitol Hill, Lisbeth advocates for public policies that protect and advance the economic future of the printing and packaging industry. She oversees PRINTING United Alliance’s legislative, political, and grassroots advocacy initiatives, and has served in executive leadership of multiple successful advocacy campaigns, such as Coalition for Paper Options, Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, and Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers Coalition.
Prior to representing PRINTING United Alliance, Lisbeth served in similar roles at Printing Industries of America, US Telecom, and the National Federation of Independent Business. She also spent three years as a K-12 teacher in the Chicago Public Schools system, where she was on the forefront of urban education reform in the mid-1990s.
Lisbeth is Midwestern born and bred, having grown up in the St. Louis metropolitan area and attended college at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, before starting her career in Washington, DC. She holds a B.A. in English/Sociology and a professional graduate certificate from The George Washington University School of Political Management. She lives in the historic Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC.
An avid leader and learner in professional development, Lisbeth was a founding member of the Government Relations Leadership Forum, and is an active participant in organizations such as Council of Manufacturing Associations, Women in Government Relations, and National Association of Business PACs, among others. Lisbeth is often a featured speaker at premier industry conferences; she has spoken to Boards of Directors, corporate executive management teams, and state and regional trade associations across the country from coast to coast.