Rep. Peter DeFazio Votes in Support of Additional COVID-19 Relief
Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today voted in support of legislation to provide additional COVID-19 relief to struggling working families and small businesses.
“This bill will provide a critical lifeline to millions of Americans, but we need to do more,” said Rep. DeFazio. “Much more needs to be done in the new Congress to secure additional relief for working families, small businesses and frontline workers, provide a comprehensive plan to develop and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, and finally get our country back on track. Over the last ten months, more than 300,000 Americans have been killed by COVID-19 and more than 17 million Americans have been infected with the virus. Too many businesses have been shuttered and too many jobs have been permanently lost. Our nation has been mired in a massive public health and economic crisis, and yet congressional Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump showed absolutely no urgency in providing relief to struggling families. Despite repeated efforts to pass relief legislation for the last nine months, they instead chose to keep their heads in the sand until the eleventh hour, while millions of Americans were pushed into poverty. This deal is by no means perfect, and it is not the bill I would have written, but it will provide desperately-needed relief to millions.”
The legislation includes:
- Funding for additional stimulus payments of up to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for married couples;
- $285 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) for a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses hardest-hit by the economic impacts of COVID-19;
- $300/week in enhanced unemployment payments as well as an extension of all pandemic unemployment insurance programs by 11 weeks, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA);
- Over $19 billion to bolster manufacturing and procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, as well as $9 billion to support federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments in COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration;
- $25 billion to support testing, contact tracing, and provide additional relief to healthcare providers;
- A temporary increase in individual monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by 15 percent for four months and increased support for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC);
- $25 billion in rental assistance for those struggling to pay rent as well as an extension of the eviction moratorium;
- $82 billion for education, including $54 billion for K-12 education and $20 billion for higher education grants;
- $10 billion in childcare grants and $7 billion for broadband grants and investments to support internet access in rural and underserved $10 billion for the United States Postal Service; and
- An extension of student loan forbearance until April 1, 2021.
As Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, DeFazio negotiated the following provisions into the bill:
- $15 billion to extend the Payroll Support Program for aviation employees through March 31, 2021, a workers-first program that puts tens of thousands of workers back on the payroll with benefits, while prohibiting the use of funds for stock buybacks or executive compensation.
- $2 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, as well as some assistance for individuals and households to cover funeral expenses for COVID-19 deaths.
- The Aircraft Certification, Safety and Accountability Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) aircraft certification process in the wake of the Boeing 737 MAX tragedies.
- The Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2020, bipartisan legislation to help ensure that the millions of miles of pipelines in the U.S. are safe, reliable, and environmentally-sound; also includes provisions to require leak detection and repair programs to reduce methane pollution, as well as resolves the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s bureaucratic inability to protect coastal waters and the Great Lakes as previously mandated by Congress.
- The Water Resources Development Act of 2020, legislation essential to our country’s ports, harbors, and inland waterways, as well as to ecosystem restoration and flood mitigation; the WRDA Act of 2020 also finally unlocks the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, freeing up to billions of dollars of already-collected fees to be used for operations and maintenance of the country’s ports. DeFazio also successfully pushed for a 50 percent increase in funding for small harbors, like the Port of Gold Beach and the Port of Siuslaw, and for a provision that allows harbor maintenance funds to be seamlessly spent on the maintenance of adjacent marinas. This funding will be put to immediate use paying for planned projects such as the Coos Bay North Jetty rehabilitation and maintenance dredging along the coast.