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Rep. Peter DeFazio Votes in Support of Additional COVID-19 Relief, Says “Help Is on the Way”

Mar 11, 2021
Press Release
American Rescue Plan will increase vaccines and testing, provide economic assistance to individuals and families

Rep. Peter DeFazio today voted in favor of the American Rescue Plan, legislation to provide urgently-needed COVID-19 relief to the American people.

“Now that the American Rescue Plan is on the way to President Biden’s desk, Oregonians and the American people can rest assured that robust help is truly on the way,” Rep. DeFazio said. “I’m proud to have helped draft and vote for this critical legislation that will provide desperately-needed resources to millions of struggling Americans. This bill will help increase access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing, provide direct financial assistance to Oregon’s families, extend and expand unemployment insurance, cut child poverty in half, bolster funding to allow schools to safely reopen, support small businesses, and finally crush this virus.”

The American Rescue Plan will:

  • Deliver $1,400 in direct economic assistance to working families, including 1.9 million Oregon families;
  • Extend enhanced unemployment assistance programs for more than 200,000 Oregonians through September 6, 2021;
  • Make robust investments to accelerate vaccine distribution and expand COVID testing access;
  • Invest nearly $130 billion in school re-opening, including an estimated $1.1 billion for Oregon schools;
  • Deliver the most significant investment in childcare since World War II, with an estimated $406 million for Oregon childcare assistance; and
  • Provide tens of billions for struggling renters, homeowners, and unhoused individuals, including more than $220 million for Oregon renters.

As Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Rep. DeFazio was a key negotiator and authored several critical provisions of the American Rescue Plan, including:

Transit: $30.5 billion total—nearly $410 million for Oregon communities— to assist with operating costs, including payroll and personal protective equipment. Includes dedicated funds to support rural transit agencies, transit service for the elderly and individuals with disabilities, and transit on Tribal lands.

Airports: $8 billion total—nearly $95 million for Oregon airports—to cover costs of operations, personnel, and cleaning, including a set-aside for rent relief and other costs of airport concessionaires primarily directed toward small businesses and minority-owned firms.

FEMA: $50 billion to reimburse state, local, tribal, and territorial governments dealing with ongoing response and recovery activities from COVID-19, including vaccination efforts, deployment of the National Guard, providing personal protective equipment for public sector employees, and disinfecting activities in public facilities such as schools and courthouses. Also directs FEMA to continue providing funeral assistance for COVID-19-related deaths.

With our economy still down 9.5 million jobs since February 2020 and facing a very real threat of lasting economic scars, the American Rescue Plan is ambitious and robust relief  that will support the wellbeing of America’s families and put us on a path to eliminate the virus and save lives. While congressional Republicans have railed against this bill and its process, it is supported by a majority of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats. The reality is congressional Republicans used the same process to enact tax cuts that disproportionately benefitted the wealthiest Americans and corporations. The American Rescue Plan, meanwhile, will ensure that roughly 70 percent of the tax benefits go to those households making $90,000 or less, while helping us crush the virus and promote an inclusive recovery.

For more information on the American Rescue Plan, including resources on direct relief payments, enhanced unemployment insurance benefits, and more, please visit defazio.house.gov/coronavirus-recovery-resources.