On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed his much-anticipated “American Rescue Plan Act” into legislation, following his pledge to supply robust relief to the American people within the first 100 days of his administration. From a bird’s eye view, the package mobilizes a dual-pronged effort, (1) to mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic and (2) to fight the virus itself.
According to the Security Industry Association (SIA), this relief and stimulus package is urgently needed and positioned to help businesses within the security who are struggling under the impact of the pandemic. One of the most expensive economic rescue packages in U.S. history, the $1.9 trillion rescue package appropriates funds to aid small businesses, public schools, state governments and government contracts affected by COVID-19—it will also fund areas of importance to the security industry.
Here are three ways integrators can use the American Rescue Plan to drive business and customer acquisition:
1. Aid for Businesses
Under the category of aid aimed at helping struggling businesses, the act offers benefits such as Employee Retention Credit, which extends earlier credit established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act through December 31st; Paid Leave Credits for employer-provided paid sick and family leave, previously established under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act through September 30th; and increased wages covered by the paid family leave credit up to $12,000 per worker, up from $10,000.
An added $7.25 billion has been distributed for the U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). And section 3610 authorities have also been extended to September 30th, which allows agencies to pay and reimburse federal contractors unable to work on-site, due to the pandemic.
2. Funds for Security Projects
On top of fund designed to aid businesses stay afloat, this law distributes funding to help businesses keep growing, as well. For example, $122 billion has been allocated to schools through 2023, and an additional $350 billion is provided for states, territories, counties, cities, and tribal governments through 2024 for a broad range of uses. This funding includes a $10 billion Critical Infrastructure projects program—all designed in part to help businesses procure safety and security products and services and related expenditures directly enabling work, education, and health monitoring.
For integrators, it would be advantageous to respond to project bids in these sectors to which this bill allocates money.
3. Technology Modernization
Funds allocated to the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF)—up from $100 million annually to $1 billion through September 2025—allow eligible federal agencies to use funds to replace aging, legacy IT systems. This means it’s time to educate customers to update IT and physical security infrastructure and recommend solutions, such as new audio monitoring technologies, to upgrade their security systems.
An additional $650 million is provided to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency through September 2023 for cybersecurity risk mitigation.
These funds aren’t only purposed with facilitating the United States’ recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic—they’re also part of President Biden’s plan to “Build Back Better.” For stakeholders in the security industry, this means investing in robust technology that keeps customers safe and raises the standard for security infrastructure across the board.