WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Kentucky Representative John Yarmuth, Chair of the House Budget Committee and sponsor of The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319), delivered remarks on the House Floor in support of the landmark relief package. Remarks as prepared and video are below:
Mr. Speaker, as the sponsor of this legislation I am immensely proud that we will soon send this bill to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. We have acted with the urgency this pandemic demands, while following every House rule and proper procedure required for a budget reconciliation package.
The American Rescue Plan is aggressive – no doubt about it. But researchers and health professionals have told us this is what is needed to scale up testing and tracing, to address PPE shortages, and to speed up equitable vaccine distribution. They have told us these investments are needed if we want to save lives and defeat this pandemic once and for all.
Economists have also made clear what is needed to generate a strong, inclusive economic recovery. And again, we listened. This bill provides direct financial relief to more than 80 percent of American families. It helps feed hungry Americans and provides financial support so families can afford health coverage during the greatest health crisis of our lifetimes. It prevents more than 10 million workers from losing lifeline unemployment benefits – while also making the first $10,200 of these payments tax free. It helps families facing eviction stay in their homes. And it expands the Earned Income Tax Credit, putting more money in the pockets of hard-working Americans.
The American Rescue Plan will provide the resources needed to open schools safely and make up for lost time in the classroom. It will cut the child poverty rate in half — in half. Just think about what that will mean for those children and their futures – and the future of our country.
This legislation has been called one of the most consequential pieces of legislation in modern history. Well I guess that depends – if you are measuring in terms of relief for nearly every American family and hard-working individual; if your yardstick is lifting millions of children out of poverty and giving parents the help they desperately need; if your metrics are a strong and inclusive economic future both in the short-term and long-term – then it’s easy to agree.
And the American people do. They get what we are doing. They know all too well the challenges facing our nation, and that is why the vast majority of them – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – support the American Rescue Plan.
Look, this is it. Congress’ work on this bill is almost done. In just a short time we will pass this legislation. We will send it to President Biden’s desk, and he will sign it into law. We promised relief. The President promised relief – and now help is on the way.
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