McCollum praises passage of stimulus payments
As 2020 ends, Congress has passed – and the president finally signed – a massive $2 trillion bill that combined an emergency COVID relief package along with an omnibus appropriations bill to fund the federal government for Fiscal Year 2021.
While this funding is absolutely necessary, the refusal of Senate Republicans and the Trump administration to reach an agreement months ago have caused profound damage to millions of American households and businesses. The absolute lack of urgency demonstrated by the White House and Republicans in responding to this health and economic crisis had made the pandemic more deadly and almost certainly extended the damage inflicted on the economy.
President Trump’s delay in signing the bill caused millions to be cut off from unemployment benefits the day after Christmas, further prolonging suffering and uncertainty for so many Americans.
This emergency COVID relief package must be viewed as a short-term step to keep struggling families and businesses afloat until a comprehensive COVID response plan can be implemented by the incoming Biden-Harris administration. I am ready to get to work on the next aid package to help America build back stronger.
COVID-19 Aid Deal
When the pandemic hit, Congress took swift action and passed three aid bills to help American families, front line workers, businesses, and more stay afloat. As time wore on, it became evident that absent a federal strategy to contain the virus’s spread, that more sustained federal assistance would be needed to weather this storm.
In May, House Democrats passed the Heroes Act (and another compromise version in October) to take action to help people, communities, and our economy. But Senate Republicans, faced with the greatest crisis our nation has seen in a century, chose not to join us – and in fact worked every step of the way to undermine our efforts.
Finally – months and months overdue – last week, we voted to approve a $900 billion COVID aid deal that will provide some immediate relief. Click here to read a summary of the COVID-19 aid deal and here to read my full statement.
This deal is an intermediate step until the Biden administration gets into office and we can work to build a bipartisan consensus for action to address the public health crisis, the economic crisis, the state and local government crisis, and the crisis facing our small businesses – providing a glimmer of hope in a time of great darkness for our nation.
Omnibus Appropriations to Fund the Federal Government for Fiscal Year 2021
Last spring, the House of Representatives took action to adapt to the pandemic and continue working on behalf of the American people. In July, the House passed its 12 Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations spending bills, including the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill that I led.
The GOP Senate passed zero of its 12 bills, however, and failed to take any action at all to advance these must-pass spending bills until the very last minute.
The spending package included these funding bills, and the final version of my Interior-Environment bill will invest $36.11 billion in our environment and our communities – the largest commitment in a decade and a reflection of our shared priorities: Clean air and water, wildlife preservation, protecting public lands, funding the arts and humanities, and increasing funding for tribal nations’ education and health care systems.
Click here to read a summary of the important investments within the FY 21 Appropriations bills, and here to read my full statement on the passage of the FY 21 Interior-Environment bill.
Our recovery from the many crises we face is not going to happen quickly, but I am committed to this fight and to continue working hard on your behalf. With the new Biden-Harris administration upon us, we are going to comprehensively take on these challenges and transition to a stronger, safer, healthier, and more prosperous America.
Like many of you, I am looking forward to 2021 and the renewed hope it brings. I wish you all a safe and happy New Year!
As always – stay safe, wash your hands, practice physical distancing, and stay home when you’re sick – and thank you for being an engaged constituent.
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