Berkeley Talks: Labor lawyer reviews the American Rescue Plan Act


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President Biden signs the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 with Vice President Harris standing next to him

President Joe Biden, joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, signs H.R. 1319, the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021,” on March 11, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)

In this episode of Berkeley Talks, Bay Area labor lawyer Bill Sokol discusses the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021.

Bill Sokol talking

On May 12, Bay Area labor lawyer Bill Sokol discussed the American Rescue Plan Act, as part of a lecture series sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Center (OLLI). (Screenshot from OLLI video)

“What I want to talk about,” began Sokol, “is what I think is an incredibly spectacular piece of legislation, perhaps the largest, deepest, broadest piece of social legislation since the New Deal. And certainly, since the LBJ Great Society more than half a century ago.”

During his May 12 talk, sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), Sokol outlined the ways the act builds a bridge towards economic recovery, invests in racial justice and addresses intergenerational inequities that have worsened in the wake of COVID-19.

“Anyone who knows someone who’s unemployed, who’s been through COVID in their family or friends, who has problem with rents, mortgages, their small businesses, there’s something here for all of them,” said Sokol, a Berkeley Law alumnus and OLLI faculty member. “I know it’s been a terrible time, but it’s also a very exciting time. As they say, you can’t let a good crisis go to waste. The people in Washington, I think, are not letting this go to waste. And it’s going to be a very thrilling time for us to maybe watch major changes happen in our country that many of us have wanted to see happen for a long time.”

Listen to the full lecture in Berkeley Talks episode #116: “Labor lawyer reviews the American Rescue Plan Act.”

Watch a video of Sokol’s talk, and see past and upcoming events on the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s website.