Today, Rep. Lois Frankel (FL-21) issued the following statement after voting for the bipartisan, bicameral emergency coronavirus relief and government funding package, which passed the House this evening. Once it passes the Senate it will go to the President's desk for signature.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis have made this year painful for so many: over 315,000 families have lost loved ones, millions of workers have lost their jobs, and countless households are unable to make ends meet,” said Rep. Frankel. “This emergency relief package is critical to helping us crush this deadly virus and put money in the pockets of struggling families. I look forward to working with the new Biden-Harris Administration to meet the remaining needs of the American people and our local governments during this historic health and financial crisis.”
The emergency coronavirus relief package includes $900 billion in urgently needed funds to help save the lives and livelihoods of the American people. Provisions include:
- Accelerating Free Vaccine Distribution: Provides 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, to implement a strong national testing and tracing strategy with billions reserved specifically for combating the disparities facing communities of color, and to support our heroic health care workers and providers.
- Enhanced Unemployment Insurance Benefits: Averts the expiration of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for millions and adds a $300 per week UI enhancement for Americans out of work.
- Direct Payments to Families: A new round of direct payments worth up to $600 per adult and child, up to $2,400 per family.
- Strong Support for Small Business: Includes over $284 billion for first and second forgivable PPP loans, expanded PPP eligibility for nonprofits and local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters, key modifications to PPP to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits and better assist independent restaurants, and includes $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.
- Rental Assistance: Secures $25 billion in critically needed rental assistance for families struggling to stay in their homes and an extension of the eviction moratorium.
- Supporting Paid Sick Leave: Provides a tax credit to support employers offering paid sick leave, based on the Families First framework.
- Nutrition Assistance for Hungry Families: Includes $13 billion in increased SNAP and child nutrition benefits to help relieve the historic hunger crisis that has left up to 17 million children food insecure.
- Education and Childcare: Provides $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools, including $7 billion to increase access to broadband for students, families, and unemployed workers.
- Global Health: Includes 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.
With this compromise, Congress reached a $1.4 trillion agreement to fund the government for the remainder of the FY21 Fiscal Year. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Frankel advocated for an array of programs, many of which will positively impact South Florida, including:
Labor-Health and Human Services-Education
- $7 million in funding for Veterans Student Service Centers, which provide resources and give a boost to student veterans transitioning from military to civilian life.
- $42.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a more than $1.25 billion increase over FY20 to this agency that provides life-saving research and care, including:
- $3.69 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research
- $195 million for the Cancer Moonshot project
- $25 million for firearm injury and mortality prevention research, divided evenly between the NIH and the Center for Disease Control.
- $5.91 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, an increase of $85 million from FY20 that will help low-income families afford quality childcare.
- $10.75 billion for Head Start, an increase of $135 million from FY20 to provide comprehensive early childhood education for low-income families.
- $13 million for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
- $5.1 million for the Violence Against Women health initiative, state partnerships.
Energy and Water
- $250 million for Everglades Restoration, a $50 million increase from FY20 levels.
- $50 million for Beach Restoration, maintaining funding from FY20 levels.
- Language ensuring the best available science is used when determining Lake Okeechobee water levels.
- $1 billion for infrastructure grants.
- $2 billion for highway projects.
- $25.8 billion for affordable housing assistance.
- $3 billion for homelessness assistance grants.
- Continued funding to reimburse local law enforcement for overtime when protecting the President.
- $90 million for physical security enhancements to churches, synagogues, and other non-profit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack.
Financial, Services and General Government
- $425 million for Election Assistance Grants, to help states protect elections.
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs
- $420 million to supportive service programs for veterans’ families.
- $815 million for medical and prosthetics support.
- $3.3 billion commitment for security assistance to Israel.
- $$130 million for Women, Peace, and Security efforts to empower women as equal partners in conflict prevention, peace building, transition processes, and reconstruction efforts in countries affected by conflict or in political transition.
- $2 million for the US and Israel to jointly advance water, agriculture, and energy projects in developing nations.
- $165 million to combat gender-based violence.
- $15 million for combatting child marriage.
- $20 million for the Office of Global Women’s Issues the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.
- $500 million for Israeli missile defense programs, including the Iron Dome.
- $8.5 million to fight citrus disease.
Commerce, Justice, Science
- $513 million for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs administered by the Department of Justice.
Several important bills were also attached to the final agreement, including:
- Ending Surprise Billing: Includes bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will end surprise billing for emergency and scheduled care.
- Fighting the Climate Crisis: Contains sweeping clean energy reforms, research and development enhancements, efficiency incentives, and extends clean energy tax credits to create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the clean economy.
- Securing Florida’s Water Resources: Includes the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020, which expedites Everglades restoration projects, seeks to reduce discharges from Lake Okeechobee into coastal estuaries, and will create good-paying jobs strengthening and improving the vital water infrastructure that Americans rely on.
The bill package was split into two sections for voting. The first included Appropriations bills for Homeland Security, Defense, Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Subcommittees, and Financial Services, and passed by a vote of 327-85. The second bill combined both the emergency coronavirus relief package and the rest of the eight Appropriations subcommittee bills and passed by a vote of 359-53.