American Rescue Plan
Thanks to passage of the American Rescue Plan, help is on the way to the American people. The American Rescue Plan will jolt our economy back to life, put money into the hands of struggling Americans, get our children back to school safely, move COVID-19 vaccinations out more swiftly, and deliver nutrition assistance to millions of food insecure Americans.
Visit this space to learn how the American Rescue Plan benefits your family and community.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many as 25 million adults and 10 million children may not always have access to nutritious food. The American Rescue Plan provides bold solutions that work toward the goal of ending food insecurity by providing:
- Access to the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program available for the duration of the health emergency, including through the summer, to allow families with children receiving school meals to purchase healthy food more easily during the pandemic.
- An extension to the 15 percent increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for all participants through September 30, 2021, or about $28 per month per person, with $1.15 billion allocated for the cost of state administrative expenses.
- Investments in technological improvements to expand access for families to use their SNAP benefits to purchase groceries safely online.
- $880 million to deliver expanded access to more fruits and vegetables for moms and babies and investments in innovation to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
- $37 million for senior nutrition through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.
- $1 billion in nutrition assistance (PDF, 130 KB) for the territories.
To respond to disruptions in the food supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Rescue Plan makes long-term investments to increase the resiliency of the food supply in the future:
- Increases food available for distribution through food banks, nonprofits, or restaurants to help feed families in need and at the same time supports farmers by purchasing their products.
- Provides grants and loans to reimburse or purchase personal protective equipment, test kits, and other measures to keep essential food workers safe.
- Invests in infrastructure and retooling support for food processors, farmers markets, food banks, local food systems, and producers to build resiliency in the food supply for the long term.
- Funds the monitoring of COVID-19 in animals and reduces overtime inspection fees paid by small meat and poultry processors, supporting livestock and animal health.
For generations, underserved farmers have struggled to fully succeed due to systemic discrimination, USDA programs that do not adequately meet their needs, and a cycle of debt. This struggle is exacerbated by a disproportionate amount of COVID-19 infection rates, loss of property, hospitalizations, death, and economic hurt amongst marginalized communities. The American Rescue plan takes key steps in assisting marginalized communities through a different approach with:
- $4 billion toward debt relief to pay off burdensome debts that have prevented many underserved farmers from making a living, acquiring land, gaining meaningful market access, or taking advantage of opportunities to grow or explore value-added strategies. Three federal district courts have issued preliminary injunctions requiring the Farm Service Agency to stop issuing payments pursuant to ARPA Section 1005. The U.S. Government continues to vigorously defend this program in the courts.
- $1.01 billion in funding to address the effects of longstanding historical discrimination across USDA programs by investing in land access and heirs’ property programs; by making grants for outreach, education, and technical assistance programs to overcome barriers to access to USDA programs; by supporting the next generation of agricultural leaders through unprecedented investments in minority-serving institutions; and by supporting the work of the USDA Equity Commission to ensure fair treatment in all USDA programs.
- $550 Million in American Rescue Plan Funding for Projects Benefiting Underserved Agricultural Producers and Minority Serving Institutions that Create Career Development Opportunities for Next Generation Leaders
- FAQ (PDF, 140 KB)
- Fact sheet – Equity at the Center of All USDA Activities (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- Fact sheet – FSA: Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access Program (PDF, 381 KB)
- Fact sheet – NIFA 1006 Components (PDF, 105 KB)
COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on Rural America. Families have lost their homes, students have resulted to unconventional solutions to access schoolwork online, the need for food has been at an all-time high, and access to COVID-19 testing and vaccinations have been limited. The American Rescue Plan implements funding that invests in the people of Rural America:
- $500 million in Community Facility Program funds to help rural hospitals and local communities broaden access to COVID-19 vaccines & food assistance.
- $100 million through September 2022 in rental assistance for low-income and elderly borrowers.
- $39 million through September 2023 to help refinance direct loans under the Single-Family Housing Loan Program and the Single-Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants.
In addition to programs facilitated by USDA, the American Rescue Plan provides significant investments into rural communities by expanding internet connectivity and establishing a homeowner assistance fund to assist struggling homeowners with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities and other housing related costs.