MADISON, Wis.— As Wisconsinites start to feel the benefits of the American Rescue Plan, today Opportunity Wisconsin and SEIU Wisconsin State Council spoke with Representative Mark Pocan and Badger State residents on Facebook LIVE, discussing how this historic law is helping Wisconsinites recover from the COVID pandemic. Last month, Opportunity Wisconsin launched a six-figure digital ad campaign holding Senator Ron Johnson accountable for fighting tooth-and-nail against the American Rescue Plan.
“We made sure that we got the bill that was needed to match the size of the problem we’re facing. And it was a $1.9 trillion bill. But that bill got people into jobs, it got shots into arms, it got kids back into school, and some of the funding is expended to help schools be safe, and it really is the bill that was needed probably a year ago, but it’s now done,” said Representative Pocan.
Representative Pocan continued, calling out Republicans in Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation for their obstruction of the American Rescue Plan, “Rather than provide votes for the survival checks, unemployment assistance, small business assistance, local and state government, reopening schools, getting shots in arms—every single Republican voted no…The most loud voice of all of them was Senator Ron Johnson.”
The American Rescue Plan provides direct payments of up to $1,400 per person (in addition to the $600 per person provided in December) for more than 3.8 million adults and 1.3 million children. This covers 89% of all adults and 88% of all children in the state.
“Nearly 4 million people in the state of Wisconsin received relief checks through the American Rescue Plan that put almost $7 billion into our economy, and that’s nothing to shake a stick at. That’s enormous,” said Carlene Bechen, Oregon, the event moderator and Opportunity Wisconsin steering committee member.
Additionally, the American Rescue Plan includes $20 billion for vaccine distribution, including $7.5 billion to set up vaccination sites across the country.
“I’m very glad to see the PPE and testing and vaccination provisions, not just for health care workers like myself that need them, but our whole communities so that we’re able to all recover,” said Peter T., a frontline healthcare worker from Madison and member of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin.
“[If the bill hadn’t been passed], I honestly feel like child care would no longer exist as we know it. We already had a child care desert – 1 slot for every 3 kids in almost 80% of our rural areas and 50% across the state. I know myself I probably would have left the field. I know several others who also would leave the field because you can’t pay your bills if you can’t keep open. I would have lost thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars and been bankrupted last year,” said Corrine Hendrickson, a New Glarus childcare provider.
Earlier this month, Opportunity Wisconsin released two new reports highlighting how the American Rescue Plan supports Wisconsin families and helps lower healthcare costs. Read more here about how the American Rescue Plan is working for Wisconsin.
Members of the media unable to attend, but wishing to speak with event participants, should email [email protected] to arrange interviews.