Washington, DC — This evening, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) joined a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives to approve a $1.4 trillion government funding package in addition to $900 billion in COVID-19 relief. The latest package will continue to fund the government and includes crucial provisions to support small businesses, accelerate vaccine distribution, bolster our public health response, and send relief to American families, students, and workers. The plan includes McBath-led provisions to invest in health data modernization at the Centers for Disease Control, help make college more affordable and accessible for students, and protect those who have been misled by predatory institutions.
“Our hard-working neighbors across the country need our help. Their small businesses are struggling, they have empty seats at their tables, have lost loved ones, and are grappling with the economic reality that our nation continues to face in the midst of this pandemic,” said McBath. “This is not the time to back down. We must continue to deliver timely support, and I look forward to continuing our work to provide necessary aid to American families in the new Congress.”
H.R.133 includes a $900 billion coronavirus relief package in addition to the $1.4 trillion in funding for FY2021. Among the key provisions incorporated, this legislation:
- Supports Accelerated Vaccine Distribution with billions in urgently-needed funds to accelerate the free and equitable distribution of safe vaccines to as many Americans as possible as soon as possible, as well as implementing a strong national testing and tracing strategy with billions reserved specifically for combating the disparities facing communities of color and supporting our heroic health care workers and providers.
- Provides Direct Payments to Americans and Support for Rent, Food, and Unemployment with direct payments worth up to $600 per adult or child, averting the sudden expiration of Unemployment Insurance benefits for millions and adding a $300 per week UI enhancement for Americans out of work, a critically needed emergency rental assistance and an eviction moratorium, and makes robust investments in WIC, child nutrition programs, and SNAP.
- Keeps Our Communities Safe and provides $3.3 billion for state and local preparedness grants, training and exercises, an increase of $131.4 million above the fiscal year 2020 level, including: $180 million for non-profit security grants, an increase of $90 million above the fiscal year 2020 level.
- Supports Small Businesses while authorizing critical funding and policy changes to help small businesses, including minority, women and veteran owned small businesses. The agreement includes over $284 billion for first and second forgivable PPP loans, dedicates set-asides for very small businesses and lending through community-based lenders like CDFIs and MDIs, key modifications to PPP to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits and better assist independent restaurants, $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions and $20 billion for targeted EIDL Grants which are critical to many smaller businesses on Main Street.
- Fights the Gun Violence Epidemic with $25 million split evenly for federal research at the CDC and NIH into our nation’s gun violence epidemic.
- Supports and Provides a Pay Raise for Servicemembers and Military Families with programs directly impacting the quality of life for servicemembers, their families, and military communities, and by fully funding the 3.0 percent military pay raise.
- Honors Our Responsibilities to Veterans, providing $90 billion for VA medical care, including funding to provide homelessness assistance, suicide prevention and outreach, and gender-specific care.
- Funds Education & Child Care and Invests in Students while providing $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools, including support for HVAC repair and replacement to mitigate virus transmission and reopen classrooms, and $10 billion for child care assistance to help get parents back to work and keep child care providers open. The package includes the largest expansion of Pell Grant recipients in over a decade, reaching 500,000 new recipients and ensuring more than 1.5 million students will now receive the maximum benefit.
- Ends Surprise Billing because patients deserve the peace of mind to know that, whether in an emergency or a planned in-network procedure, they will not be hit with crushing, surprise medical bills for out-of-network treatment beyond their control. The agreement includes bipartisan legislation that will end surprise bills for emergency and scheduled care, so patients are only responsible for their usual cost-sharing amounts and deductibles. With patients protected, the legislation establishes a fair process for health care providers and health plans to sort out the out-of-network costs between themselves, without the patient stuck in the middle.
- Expands Access to Housing by, for the first time, providing $43.4 million in new targeted vouchers to reduce homelessness among families with children, individuals, the unsheltered, veterans, and survivors of domestic violence.
- Supports the Global Fight Against COVID with an additional $3.36 billion for a total of $4 billion for GAVI, the international vaccine alliance, recognizing that we are not truly safe until the whole world is safe from the coronavirus.
- Protects Our Environment by including $9.24 billion, a $180 million increase, for the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure clean air and water and to hold polluters accountable. This funding level is the highest in ten years, and the second highest level of all time.