Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following opening statement at a markup to consider legislation to carry out President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
Today this Committee convenes for a mark up to consider legislation to carry out President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
I am so thankful that we have President Biden providing real leadership in the White House, and providing a real plan to tackle this pandemic crisis. With millions of individuals, families and small businesses across the nation struggling, it is essential for Congress to swiftly pass the American Rescue Plan Act into law.
I and my Democratic colleagues have been sounding the alarm for many months about the urgent need for the federal government to provide COVID-19 relief and save the economy, which continues to be in a state of crisis. The United States economy has contracted by the largest amount since 1946. Over a million small businesses have closed. Millions of individuals and families are on the brink of eviction or foreclosure as back rent or mortgage payments pile up through no fault of their own. Across the nation people are struggling to make ends meet, and hunger is growing. Communities of color continue to be the hardest hit. The nation needs the $1.9 trillion in relief the American Rescue Plan would provide.
Economists and experts widely agree on the clear benefits of this plan. Analyses have shown that the plan would increase U.S. gross domestic product by 4 percent by the end of the year, and create 7.5 million jobs this year.
The measure we are considering today to carry out President Biden’s plan provides a total of $75 billion towards programs under this Committee’s jurisdiction, and builds upon the work of many of our colleagues. So today we will consider $10 billion to support the production of emergency medical equipment using the Defense Production Act, a measure offered by Mr. Vargas. The package also includes $25 billion to provide rental assistance, including $5 billion towards 70,000 emergency vouchers and funding directed to rural and tribal communities, building off of the legislation offered by Ms. Axne, Mr. Vargas, and myself. The legislation includes language offered by Ms. Pressley to provide $5 billion to support people experiencing homelessness, who are often the most vulnerable to the pandemic. The package also includes language by Mr. Scott to provide $10 billion to support struggling homeowners, who face a looming foreclosure crisis. And, it includes Mr. Green’s legislation, which provides $10 billion to support small businesses, including minority-owned businesses that are closing their doors at historic rates. In addition, the Committee Print also includes a provision that would provide $15 billion to further extend the Payroll Support Program through September 30, 2021 to protect our airline industry by directly supporting its employees. All of these funds are critical for our communities.
The Trump Administration was more than willing to spend money hand over fist to give a massive tax cut to the rich, with the help of my colleagues across the aisle. But now that we are talking about providing relief to Americans who really need it, it seems some Republicans are happy to stand in the way and suddenly raise concerns about deficits. The greatest threat to our economy is the pandemic and the inequality it has exacerbated. Now is the time for us to make the investments in programs that will provide relief, which is so badly needed in all of our districts, and ensure that everyone in America can live, go to school and work safely and with dignity.
Committee Democrats have been working around the clock to respond to this crisis since it begun. And so, I look forward to us getting down to business today and doing what we need to do.