Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) released the following statement after she voted to pass H. Con. Res. 11, Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Resolution. Passing this budget ensures that Congress can act quickly and decisively in the weeks to come to deliver the robust relief that American families, workers and communities need to combat the coronavirus pandemic and strengthen the economy.
“For over a year, the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis have destroyed American lives and livelihoods, and the people of Washington need to know that help is on the way. Tens of millions of Americans have been infected, nearly half a million have died and tens of millions remain unemployed as well as food and housing insecure. Our most vulnerable communities in the South Sound and across the country are bearing the disproportionate impacts of these crises. We must act now, which is I why I was proud to join my colleagues in passing this bold budget resolution to allow us to move forward, in a hopefully bipartisan way, to deliver urgently needed relief for our communities without delay.”
“For the hard-working families in the South Sound, the cost of continued inaction is too high. I hope to work with Members on both sides of the aisle to meet the urgent needs of our communities, but I will not sacrifice more time or the health and well-being of Washington families at this critical moment. Only with the big, bold action that these crises require can we destroy the virus now, and deliver progress to Build Back Better, and Built Back Equitably, for all Americans,” said Strickland.
In Congress, there is strong precedent for reconciliation bills, which have been passed on a bipartisan basis 17 times in recent years, including for the bipartisan, landmark Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Passing this budget does not preclude adopting Republican suggestions that would strengthen the package. But it does ensure that Congress can move forward in a timely way and meet Washington families’ urgent needs.
Reports indicate that without immediate action, an entire cohort of young people in Washington and across the country may have lower lifetime earnings because they were deprived of another semester of school. Millions of Washington parents, particularly mothers, could be forced to stay at home, reducing their wages and future job prospects because they have no choice but to care for their kids. With interest rates at historic lows and the return on smart investments in the economy having never been higher, numerous top economists are saying that now is the time for bold action.
The budget resolution passed yesterday is an essential first step in Congress’ efforts to deliver the comprehensive, strategic and science-based relief laid out in President Biden’s robust American Rescue Plan:
- Beat the virus and safely reopen schools – The plan will mount a national vaccination program that includes setting up community vaccination sites nationwide. It will also take complementary measures to combat the virus, including scaling up testing and tracing, addressing shortages of personal protective equipment and other critical supplies, investing in high-quality treatments and addressing health care disparities. The plan will also make the investments necessary to safely reopen schools.
- Deliver immediate relief to working families bearing the brunt of the crisis – The plan will provide direct assistance to households across America by $1,400 per person, bringing the total (including the $600 down payment enacted in December) to $2,000. The plan will also provide direct housing and nutrition assistance to families struggling to get by, expand access to safe and reliable child care and affordable health care, extend and expand Unemployment Insurance so American workers can pay their bills and give families with children as well as childless workers a boost through enhanced tax credits.
- Support communities struggling with the economic fallout – The plan will provide crucial support for the hardest-hit small businesses, especially those owned by entrepreneurs from racial and ethnic backgrounds that have experienced systemic discrimination. The plan also provides crucial resources to protect the jobs of first responders, frontline public health workers, teachers, transit workers and other essential workers that all Americans depend on.