Justice in Aging: Senate Expected to Pass COVID Relief Bill

This week the Senate took up the American Rescue Plan (H.R. 1319), which was passed by the House last weekend. The Senate is expected to pass an amended version by the end of the week and send it back to the House to work out the differences. The Senate’s amendments include cutting off the stimulus payments for individuals with adjusted gross incomes above $80,000 ($160,000 for couples); however, it keeps the provision of $1,400 stimulus payments for adult dependents as well as children. It also adds $510 million for the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program. The Senate bill maintains the House bill’s more than $9 billion in funding to enhance Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS); critical housing, utility, and nutrition assistance; enhanced federal funding for states newly expanding Medicaid; increased premium support for Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace coverage; funding to enhance vaccination efforts in underserved communities; support for vaccination outreach, education, communication, and transportation targeted to older adults; and funding for long-term care ombudsman and other Older Americans Act programs.