On March 11, President Biden signed his administration’s first major piece of legislation, the American Rescue Plan, which appropriates $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 relief to aid small businesses, public schools, state governments and government contractors impacted by COVID-19. President Biden’s latest stimulus follows his pledge to provide robust relief to the American people and business owners within the first 100 days of his administration. The Security Industry Association (SIA) strongly supported passage of this relief and stimulus package as urgently needed to address the COVID-10 pandemic and help businesses struggling under its economic impact.
The American Rescue Plan includes the following funding areas of importance to the security industry:
- Paycheck Protection Program: An additional $7.25 billion is allocated for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Note that this does not extend the PPP’s current application period, which is scheduled to close March 31.
- Federal Contractors: Section 3610 authorities are extended to Sept. 30, which allows agencies to pay and reimburse federal contractors unable to work on site due to the pandemic. In a Feb. 25 letter, SIA and other business groups representing contractors urged Congress to extend Section 3610 in this legislation.
- Employee Retention Credit: The law extends the employee retention credit established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act through Dec. 31.
- Paid Leave Credits: The American Rescue Plan extends tax credits for employer-provided paid sick and family leave established under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act through Sept. 30. The measure would also increase the wages covered by the paid family leave credit to $12,000 per worker, up from $10,000.
State and Local Government Aid
- $350 billion is provided for states, territories, counties, cities and tribal governments through 2024 for a broad range of uses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Conference of State Legislatures has provided an estimate of how this funding will be allocated across jurisdictions. This funding includes a new $10 billion Critical Infrastructure Projects program to carry out capital projects directly enabling work, education and health monitoring. An additional $122 billion is allocated for public schools through September 2023. Similar to expenditures by government entities through the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund in 2020, the significant new funding provided under the American Rescue Plan is expected to impact procurement of safety/security products and services related to these purposes.
- $1 billion is allocated to the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) through September 2025. This program allows eligible federal agencies to use funds to replace aging, legacy IT systems with updated IT solutions. Previously, the program received $100 million annually. The increased funding for TMF will expand the scope and speed up the timeline for critically needed upgrades to federal IT systems, which could include video surveillance, access control and other security systems defined as federal IT. In February, SIA partnered with other technology industry leaders to support this effort.
- $650 million is provided to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency through September 2023 for cybersecurity risk mitigation efforts throughout the federal government, in part to respond to the SolarWinds cybersecurity incident first revealed in December.
The title-by-title summary of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 can be found here. (Provided by Senate Democrats)
SIA will provide additional analysis of the American Rescue Plan and the expected impact of this legislation on the security industry. Additionally, note that SIA expects the next COVID-19 relief measure to focus considerably on infrastructure improvements.