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March 11, 2021

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan brings help to Illinois


President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan, the much-anticipated COVID-19 relief legislation, on March 11. AFSCME played a key role in ensuring the allocation of nearly $700 billion in investment in public services, including $360 billion in flexible aid for struggling states, cities, counties and schools. Illinois will receive some $13 billion in unrestricted funds for state government, counties and municipalities.

“This measure is a remarkable achievement that will shore up our middle class and help the most vulnerable in our communities while ensuring our state and local governments can meet the needs of their residents,” Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “We can be proud of the part AFSCME played in securing these sorely needed investments. As usual, our union never gave up until the job was done.”

“This is a historic victory for public service workers and working families across the country,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “The American Rescue Plan is a bold and comprehensive expression of our values. Among many other things, this landmark legislation will deliver families a vital economic lifeline in the form of $1,400 checks, protect health care coverage for those who have lost their jobs and invest in the public services we need to finally crush this virus.”

Throughout the past year, AFSCME members generated calls and letters to Congress and the White House calling on the nation’s leadership to Fund the Front Lines. When the previous administration and Senate majority tried to walk away from their responsibility to the American middle class, AFSCME organized and mobilized, helping elect President Biden and end Mitch McConnell’s barricade of the legislation in the Senate.

“President Biden’s American Rescue plan will improve Illinois’ public health and jumpstart our economy by investing billions of federal dollars in our state,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said. “I was proud to help secure provisions with Senator Duckworth to ramp up vaccine distribution efforts; provide a lifeline to workers, small businesses, and families; avoid devastating cuts in state and local government operations; get our kids back to school safely; and much more. We are close to finally putting this pandemic behind us.”

“Relief is coming to hardworking families all across Illinois because of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan,” U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth said. “Working together, Senator Durbin and I helped secure billions in investments that will boost our state’s vaccination efforts and testing availability while also delivering the support our working families, childcare programs, transportation systems, schools and small businesses need to get through this pandemic. These investments meet the moment and will help end this deadly pandemic.”