O’Halleran Secures First District Priorities in American Rescue Plan
WASHINGTON — Early this morning, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) voted to pass H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion package to address the public health and economic fallout caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“This week, our country reached a devastating milestone—500,000 American lives lost to this deadly virus,” said O’Halleran. “With over 18 million Americans on unemployment, nearly 24 million struggling with hunger, and 40 million who cannot afford to pay rent, now is the time for action. I was eager to vote in favor of this important package that will provide a lifeline to families coping with the most acute public health crisis of our lifetimes and help to more rapidly get shots into arms.”
The legislation passed in the House of Representatives this morning includes new funding for vaccine infrastructure and distribution, schools, small businesses, tribes, unemployment benefits, broadband, and state and local aid. Specifically, under H.R. 1319, Arizona stands to gain over $7 billion in direct aid. For context, the city of Casa Grande stands to receive over $10 million. For a full breakdown of funds by city and county in Arizona prepared by the House Budget Committee, click HERE.
“American families spent much of 2020 struggling with no aid from Congress following the CARES Act, watching partisan politics take precedence over the real-life assistance they needed to keep food on the table or pay another month’s rent,” said O’Halleran following the House vote. “Now, with the historic rollout of not one, but several effective, safe vaccines, an end to this national nightmare is almost in sight. I stand firm in my support for this bill that is long overdue and urge the Senate to take up and pass our legislation as soon as possible.”
H.R. 1319 passed the House 219 to 212 and now awaits a vote in the Senate.
Within the American Rescue Plan is
- over $20 billion in additional funding to enhance the national COVID-19 vaccination program and improve the administration and distribution of vaccinations;
- an additional direct payment of $1,400 per person for all eligible Americans, bringing the total relief payment to $2,000 per person, including the $600 per person payments included in the relief package Congress passed in December;
- an extension and increase in the Federal Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (FPUC), extending the federal supplemental unemployment benefit through August 29, 2021 and increasing the weekly supplemental benefit from the current $300 per week to $400 per week;
- $49 billion to expand COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and mitigation;
- nearly $130 billion to help K-12 schools re-open safely;
- $7.6 billion in broadband investments to expand internet connectivity for students and rural, tribal, and underserved communities;
- $26 billion for emergency rental assistance;
- $350 billion in state and local Coronavirus Relief Funds, broken down into
- $195.3 billion for states;
- $130.2 billion for local governments;
- $20 billion to federally recognized tribal governments;
- $4.5 billion for U.S. Territories;
- $7.25 billion in additional funding for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), expanding eligibility of 501(c) nonprofits of all sizes and types, excluding lobbying organizations;
- $15 Billion for COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program;
- an extension of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) maximum benefits by 15 percent (through September 30, 2021)
- $1.1 billion in additional SNAP administrative funds to states;
- more than $5 billion in Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) so that low-income families have access to school meals and food assistance during both the school year and summer months;
- $39 billion through the Child Care and Development Block Grant for child care providers;
- and more than $13 billion for the VA to provide health care services
- provisions to ensure veterans will not have any copays or cost-sharing for preventative treatment or services related to COVID-19 going back to April 2020;
- and nearly $400 million for up to 12 months of retraining assistance for veterans who are unemployed as a result of the pandemic.
Arizona’s First Congressional District includes twelve sovereign tribal nations, several of whom experienced some of the highest per capita rates of COVID-19 during 2020. Under the legislation, federally recognized tribes will receive
- $20 billion in direct relief for tribal governments;
- $6 billion for the Indian Health Service;
- $850 million for grants to Bureau of Indian Education-operated elementary and secondary schools as well as Tribal Colleges and Universities;
- $900 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs;
- and $750 million to support the Indian Housing Block Grant and Indian Community Development Block Grant.
For a full list of provisions O’Halleran helped secure under the jurisdiction of the House Energy and Commerce Committee during the budget reconciliation process, click HERE.
For a full list of legislative packages Congress has passed to address the Coronavirus pandemic, visit O’Halleran’s COVID-19 Legislative Action page, HERE.