As our nation recovers from a global pandemic, the American Rescue Plan is our guiding light. This big, bold package is just what the doctor ordered – vaccine shots in arms, money in taxpayers’ pockets, our children back in schools and Americans back to work.

This pandemic has spared no one – every single one of us has been touched by it over the last year and every corner of our communities has faced a tremendous amount of grief and struggle. The American Rescue Plan is an opportunity to deliver the help the American people need to defeat the COVID-19 virus and build our economy – our nation – back better.

Here’s what this relief package means to our corner of Illinois:

Help for Every Town, City and County: An estimated $7.4 billion in help will be delivered to Illinois, with $399,450,000 of that funding reaching the 14 counties across Illinois’ 17th Congressional District to support cities, towns and counties in need. A full breakdown of what each county, city and town is estimated to receive can be found here.

Lifting Children Out of Poverty: In Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, 143,000 children, or 92 percent, will benefit from the American Rescue Plan’s expansion of the Child Tax Credit to give our children and families a better shot at success.

On my Instagram, I hosted a Q&A on everything you need to know about the Child Tax Credit. For an FAQ, to learn if you qualify, how to apply and additional details about this transformative program click here.

Supporting Small Business: $7.25 billion for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding and expanded eligibility for the program. As of February, 10,005 small business have applied for PPP loans and $613,172,281 has been disbursed to support 84,912 jobs in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District. Congresswoman Bustos also supported legislation to extend the Paycheck Protection Program, which was set to expire at the end of March, through the end of May, giving local businesses more time to access this lifeline.

The package also established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), to deliver funding to restaurants and other eligible businesses to help keep employees on payroll and doors open. The RRF provides restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.

Getting Our Kids Back in School: $122 billion to help K-12 schools safely reopen and return to the classroom. In Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, approximately 113,000 K-12 students were participating in a blend of learning virtually and in-person when the American Rescue Plan was passed.

The package also included $98 million in funding for colleges and universities across the district to help local schools cope with the severe financial fallout from the pandemic and continue serving their students safely. At least half of the funding each institution receives will be distributed in the form of emergency cash assistance grants to students who are facing hunger, homelessness, and other hardships as a result of the past unprecedented year.

Supporting Desperately-Needed Child Care: $39 billion for child care providers through the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program. Currently, there are 1.8 million fewer women in the workforce than before the pandemic.

Helping Our Farmers, Producers and Food Banks: $16 billion for the United States Department of Agriculture, including nearly $4 billion for commodity purchases that will be distributed to those in need by way of restaurants and nonprofits like the Northern Illinois Food Bank, River Bend Food Bank and Peoria Area Food Bank.

Getting Shots in Arms with Vaccines, Testing and Tracing: $400 billion in sweeping measures to support a national vaccine campaign, mobilize 100,000 health care workers and ramp up testing, contact tracing and mitigation efforts.

Delivering Direct Relief: $19 billion in emergency rental assistance. Provides $1,400 in direct relief payments to the American people, increasing the amount of direct relief payments to the American people to a total of $2,000. If you would like to track your payment, please visit the IRS’ “Get My Payment” page here.