Chairman McGovern Opens Debate on the American Rescue Plan
Urges passage to crush the coronavirus, return children to the classrooms, get more vaccines to more people, and help struggling Americans
WASHINGTON, DC — Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA) today opened debate on the rule for the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This urgently needed legislation will help crush the coronavirus, return children safely to the classroom, get vaccines to the people, put dollars into families’ pockets, and put people back to work. Consideration of this bill on the House Floor today comes after committees spent more than 100 hours debating more than 400 amendments.
Chairman McGovern’s remarks are below, video of his remarks is available here:
“M. Speaker, since the emergence of the coronavirus, our nation has been in a perpetual state of mourning. The number of Americans killed by this pandemic is nearly equal to one death a minute, every minute, for a year.
Every corner of society has been impacted:
“More than 18 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits; nearly 24 million Americans are going hungry with roughly 12 million children living in households with food insecurity; up to 40 million Americans cannot afford to pay rent; eight of ten minority-owned businesses are on the brink of closure; and I could go on and on, M. Speaker.
“This is a time to act and act boldly. That’s why we began work on the American Rescue Plan nearly one month ago. Nine committees have now marked up portions of the bill, spending more than 100 hours debating more than 400 amendments.We have acted swiftly, M. Speaker, but we have also acted deliberately - guided by the reality that the American people need us to act urgently.
“More vaccines need to get to more people, so this plan will set up community vaccination sites nationwide. Our schools need to safely reopen, so this bill will deliver new resources to help them do so. Working families need more immediate relief, so the American Rescue Plan also provides an additional $1,400 per person in direct assistance. That will bring the total amount of direct assistance recently provided to $2,000 per person.
“This bill also extends unemployment benefits and boosts the federal minimum wage so that 27 million workers get a raise. Sadly, the Senate rules will cause this provision to be removed when it’s considered there. I want the American people to know this: we will not stop fighting to make a minimum wage increase a reality. No one who works full time in the richest nation on the planet should live in poverty.
“There’s also nutrition assistance included to combat the growing hunger crisis and support for local communities on the frontlines of this health emergency. There’s aid here for small businesses, expanded PPP eligibility, and resources for our first responders, teachers, transit workers, and more.
“This is what it looks like when Congress acts in a way that matches the scale of the problems we face.
“Nearly 7 in 10 Americans support this plan. More than 150 leaders of our nation's top businesses came out this week in support of it. Republican officeholders like the governor of West Virginia have encouraged Congress to go big here, and local Republican leaders like the Mayor of Miami support our president’s proposal.
“This is a bipartisan response to the COVID crisis.
“We all joined together on the Capitol steps on Tuesday to mark the 500,000 lives lost to coronavirus in this country. We didn’t stand as Democrats and Republicans, but as one Congress. We mourn the empty seats at dinner tables, and the missed graduations and weddings the same way - not from our partisan corners, but as one American family.
“Through our grief, we should respond here the same way - united in our purpose to defeat this pandemic and rebuild our nation. I urge all my colleagues to stand together and with the American people in support of this plan.
“Let’s act big, let’s act bold, and let’s crush this virus.”