State and Local Aid Part of New Relief Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan legislation.

The $1.9 trillion bill contains an array of coronavirus relief measures championed by the National Association of REALTORS®, including new aid for struggling state and local governments; the creation of a homeowners assistance fund and a small-business grant program; and a fresh round of funding for rental assistance, expanded unemployment, stimulus checks, vaccines, and testing.

“Perhaps the biggest component of this bill is state and local aid, which was left out of previous legislation,” says Shannon McGahn, NAR’s chief advocacy officer. “Nearly nine in ten cities expect a budget shortfall this year. No local government could really prepare for something like what we have lived through the past year, and this new assistance was needed to keep our economic recovery from suffering a relapse.”

The American Rescue Plan would be the sixth major coronavirus relief package passed by Congress. “It now moves to the Senate, where we don’t expect it to change too much,” McGahn says. “The White House is hoping for final passage by mid-March, when current unemployment benefits expire.”

Specifically, the plan would provide:

$1,400 stimulus checks to most Americans, phased out for higher earners

An extension through Aug. 29, 2021, to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and an increase of Pandemic Unemployment Compensation from $300 to $400 weekly

$20.3 billion in new money for rental assistance (on top of the $25 billion allocated in December)

An extension of the eviction and foreclosure moratorium and forbearance for federally guaranteed mortgages through Sept. 30, 2021

A one-year increase from $2,000 to $3,000 in the child tax credit

Expanded Paid Sick and Family Leave through Sept. 30

$10 billion for a Housing Assistance Fund that will allow state housing finance agencies to help homeowners with COVID-19 hardships

$100 million for housing counseling services

$15 billion for a new small business grant program

$350 billion in state and local aid

$130 billion for schools

Read NAR’s letter to Congressional leadership about provisions important to REALTORS®.