Chairman McGovern Opens Debate on Comprehensive Appropriations Measure that Includes Emergency Funding to Confront the Coronavirus & Promote an Economic Recovery
Six-bill package includes McGovern-led priorities including the creation of a nationwide pilot program to help grandparents raising their grandchildren, and his amendment increasing funding for radon testing and mitigation
**Video of his remarks is available here**
WASHINGTON, DC — Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA) today opened debate on a comprehensive appropriations package that includes strong emergency funding to confront the coronavirus and promote an economic recovery, with investments in our public health system and aging infrastructure. The measure contains six FY 2021 spending bills: Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Service and General Government, Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development.
McGovern secured several priorities in the legislation, including language to establish a nationwide pilot program to help grandparents who are raising grandchildren. He also crafted an amendment to the legislation to increase funding for radon testing and mitigation. This follows a national investigation that uncovered this harmful chemical in public housing units across the country, including in Worcester. With passage of this rule, his amendment will be considered on the House Floor later this week.
Excerpts from Chairman McGovern’s remarks are below, video of his full remarks is available here:
- “M. Speaker, the measure before us is what it looks like when you don’t take an axe to our priorities, as the president has advocated – but instead, you invest in what’s important to the American people. This is what it looks like when we actually lay the groundwork for a real recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, instead of just wishing it away as this president has done.”
- “There are billions and billions of dollars in emergency funding here to build and repair water projects, to modernize energy infrastructure, and rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure in this time of COVID-19. These projects will help get Americans back to work and kickstart our economy. The bills included in this underlying package also make long-term investments in our nation: in food safety, curbing tobacco use, and combating domestic abuse and sexual assault. All at levels that exceed the president’s budget request.”
- “This bill also includes provisions to stop costly, endless wars by sunsetting the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), repealing the 2002 AUMF, and prohibiting funds for the use of force against Iran.”
- “340 amendments were made in order under this rule, many of which will make this strong bill even stronger. Among them is an amendment I authored to provide more money for radon testing and mitigation. A national investigation recently uncovered this harmful chemical in public housing units across the country — including in Worcester. This administration - and HUD in particular - has an obligation to act. This language will help ensure more funding is there to help protect people’s health and safety.”
- “I’m also proud that the underlying bill sets aside $10 million here to create a new, nationwide pilot program to help the many grandparents who are raising their grandchildren today. This funding will provide more access to safe, affordable, and appropriate housing.”
- “M. Speaker, there are two policy ideas put forward during this process that I especially want to highlight. The first was an effort led by my good friend, Congressman Bobby Rush, to create a more 21st century approach toward Cuba. This president has taken us back to a failed Cold War policy that held our country back for more than 50 years. A policy that hurts the Cuban people and a policy that denies American farmers and American businesses the opportunity to engage with their counterparts in Cuba. In short, our policy, M. Speaker, is an embarrassment.”
- “The gentleman from Illinois wanted to mitigate some of the pain U.S. policies impose on the Cuban people by providing easier access to food and medicine, and by making it easier for families in the United States to send support to their relatives still on the island, especially during this time of the pandemic. Although the gentleman from Illinois has withdrawn his amendments, I want to recognize his leadership. He has shined a bright light on a failed policy that badly hurts the Cuban people and urgently needs to change.”
- “I also want to thank my colleague from Massachusetts, Representative Ayanna Pressley, along with Representatives Lee, Ocasio-Cortez, Schakowsky, Chu, DeGette, Tlaib, Omar, Pocan, and Speier. Together, they led an important effort to repeal the Hyde Amendment. This disastrous policy prevents so many, particularly low-income women and women of color, from deciding their own future.”
- “Constitutional rights should not belong to just the wealthy or the privileged. They belong to every single American – regardless of where they get their health insurance. Although this amendment wasn’t able to be made in order here because of to several budgetary points of order, I want to say loud and clear here today that they are right. We need to end this discriminatory policy, and I look forward to working with them to do just that. This is a fight that we must have.”
- “M. Speaker, getting this broad package here today was a herculean effort by so many in this chamber. I urge all my colleagues to support this rule and the underlying measure. Let’s get our communities the resources they need and let’s get our economy back on its feet. “