Statement of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) On Senate Passage Of The American Rescue Plan
Saturday, March 6, 2021
Across our country, in every state, in every community, Americans are suffering. It doesn’t matter if they are represented in Congress by Republicans or by Democrats, or whether they live in rural communities or in urban centers. All have suffered under an unprecedented health and economic crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 520,000, and of more than 2.58 million people around the world. Families are living under the tremendous burden of not knowing how they will pay their rent, feed their families, return to work fulltime, or when their children will be able to safely return to school. This afternoon, the Senate met this crisis by passing bold and urgently needed relief that was long overdue.
While the distribution of vaccines has finally begun to turn the page on the pandemic, this crisis is far from over, and the American Rescue Plan will provide the resources we need in the weeks and months ahead. It provides new resources to state and local governments, supports vaccine distribution, invests in students’ safety, provides a targeted round of additional support directly to qualifying Americans, and includes a needed extension of unemployment benefits for the millions of people who are still out of work through no fault of their own.
It is disappointing that Republicans – after months of delay last year – again put partisan politics ahead of the needs of the American people. The American Rescue Plan supports American families in every corner of the United States – whether those states are represented by Republicans in the Senate, or by Democrats. All will benefit from this bold plan. It supports small communities and large cities. It is not a partisan bill, and poll after poll suggests it has broad support. It is a popular bill.
As we inch closer to moving beyond this pandemic, we must, too, move beyond the partisan rancor, and get to work to meet the real needs of the American people.
Sanders Statement on Passage of American Rescue Plan
WASHINGTON, March 6 – Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) on Saturday issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate voted to pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package:
“As Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, I am proud that we passed the American Rescue Plan, which, in my view, is the most significant piece of legislation to benefit working families in the modern history of this country. This package, among many other things, increases direct payments by $1400, extends unemployment benefits, reduces child poverty by half, ensures we are vaccinating as many people as possible, and puts us on a path to safely reopen schools.
“Working together with Sen. Leahy, we increased funding for Vermont in the state and local portion of the bill to a total of $1.35 billion. We also included an additional $152 million in funding to Vermonters for rent relief, $50 million for mortgage assistance, and $27 million for vaccine distribution. Vermont will also benefit from new education funding for afterschool and summer programs, a doubling of funding for community health centers, and a significant increase in funding for the needs of our veterans.
“Vermonters are hurting, and this comprehensive plan goes a long way to addressing the myriad crises that we face.”