Schakowsky Statement on Passage of American Rescue Plan
WASHINGTON - Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and a senior member of the House Budget Committee, released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1319, President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act, by a vote of 219-210:
“Today I voted for and helped pass President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act to provide urgently needed COVID-19 relief. Our states, counties, cities, and municipalities are in crisis – starving for aid just to cover their most immediate needs and close massive budget shortfalls brought on by this pandemic. In Illinois, we see cities, counties, and towns whose health care systems, emergency services, sanitation, water treatment, schools, and other essential public services are on the verge of collapse. In Chicago alone, we’re facing a $1.2 billion shortfall for fiscal year ‘21 as a direct result of this pandemic.
“The help that this package will provide to the American people cannot be overstated. The bill includes over $46 billion to help implement a national strategy for COVID-19 testing, diagnosing, and tracing the COVID-19 virus. It will increase manufacturing and purchases of personal protective equipment, a vital public health tool to make sure Americans are protected against the virus while we scale up vaccinations. There is also $7.5 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to scale up vaccine distribution activities and support our state, local, tribal, and territorial public health departments and community vaccination centers.
“Our seniors, long-term care residents, and communities of color have borne the brunt of this pandemic. I am thankful that the American Rescue Plan Act emphasizes improving vaccine distribution for high-risk and hard-to-reach populations. This bill contains $250 million for nursing home strike teams to help manage COVID-19 outbreaks when they occur, and $7.6 billion in funding to support the COVID-19 response and Community Health Centers.
“We also know that our public health workforce is struggling. They need help and this bill is coming to the rescue with $800 million for our National Health Service Corps, $200 million for our Nurse Corps, and $331 million for Teaching Health Centers that operate Graduate Medical Education Programs to train up primary care physicians and dental care providers.
“The President and House and Senate Democrats also know that we cannot have true relief without addressing the need for economic justice. The pandemic has laid bare the systemic injustices in America and with this legislation our struggling families will finally receive long overdue relief. $100 million is allocated to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds are vital to serving our communities of color and those who are most vulnerable to pollution and environmental hazards. Additionally, $4.5 billion is allocated for energy improvements to low-income housing, upgrades which are desperately needed to make homes safer and more efficient for so many of our American families.
“The pandemic has magnified risks associated with household consumer products. This bill provides $50 million for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to protect American consumers through increased surveillance of consumer products at ports of entry, enhanced monitoring of internet websites for unsafe products, and improved communication with the public of risks related to consumer products.
“The American Rescue Plan Act includes urgently needed housing assistance, including $26 billion for emergency rental assistance, $10 billion to help homeowners make mortgage, property tax, property insurance, and other housing related payments, and $4.75 billion to help Americans experiencing homelessness. The bill also provides $5 billion to ensure low-income Americans can keep their lights on, the heat working, and their water running.
“The American Rescue Plan Act puts money in people’s pockets. The bill provides $1400 in direct stimulus payments; $3600 in tax credits for children under 6; and $3000 for other children up to 17 years old. It extends unemployment benefits, helps small businesses, and funds vaccine distribution.
“While we continue fighting to end this pandemic once and for all, please know that you can reach out to my office for assistance anytime. We will do our best to get you the help that you need. And please know that I will continue working to ensure that our families and communities in the Chicagoland area and across the country are able to fully recover from this devastating pandemic.”
For more information on the American Rescue Plan Act, please see this useful fact sheet.
Information on accessing these programs will be available on the Congresswoman’s website at https://schakowsky.house.gov/coronavirus, as they become available in the coming days and weeks.