Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II (5th District Missouri)
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 133, an omnibus spending bill consisting of all 12 fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, emergency coronavirus relief, and authorizations. United States Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) voted in favor of the legislation, which would provide $900 billion in relief to American families, workers and small businesses that have been crushed by the simultaneous economic and public health crises caused by coronavirus.
“This agreement should be interpreted as a down payment on the costs of recovery from the coronavirus-induced recession. It extends enhanced unemployment benefits for laid off workers, provides families with another round of direct payments, administers additional lending to struggling small businesses, grants rental and housing assistance to prevent millions from falling into homelessness, strengthens nutrition assistance programs that have been strained like never before, and equips our nation with the tools necessary to distribute the vaccines that will end this national nightmare—all of which I strongly support, if not at the levels which I would prefer,” said Congressman Cleaver.
The bipartisan, bicameral coronavirus relief package brings desperately-needed support to Missourians and the communities of the Fifth Congressional District of Missouri. Congressman Cleaver advocated for several important provisions within the bill that would:
- Send direct payments to American families and workers, including another round of $600 to every adult making less than $75,000 that phases out as incomes get up to $99,000. Families will also receive an additional $600 for each child, meaning a family of four making less than $75,000 would receive $2,400.
- Extend enhanced unemployment benefits that would have expired with the new year. Because of efforts from House Democrats, millions of workers who have been laid off due to a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic will continue to receive an added $300 per week of unemployment benefits.
- Provide rental assistance for families struggling to stay in their homes and keep their utilities on as winter arrives. The $25 billion in rental assistance also comes with an extension of the federal moratorium on evictions.
- Support struggling small businesses by providing additional funding and making critical policy changes to ensure businesses most harmed by the pandemic, including minority-owned businesses, nonprofits, restaurants and live entertainment venues, get the federal assistance they need to stay afloat until the pandemic comes to an end. The package includes over $284 billion for forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, expanded PPP eligibility for nonprofits and local newspapers, TV, and radio broadcasters, and important modifications that ensure the PPP serves the smallest businesses and nonprofits as well as independent restaurants. It also include $15 billion dedicated to live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.
- Dedicate PPP funding specifically for CDFIs and MDIs that are critical to supporting minority-owned and very small businesses. $9 billion will go toward emergency U.S. Treasury capital investments in CDFIs and MDIs to support lending in low-income and underserved communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. It will also provide an additional $3 billion in emergency support for CDFIs through the CDFI Fund to assist underserved low-income and minority communities.
- Strengthen strained nutrition assistance programs with $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.
- Accelerate vaccine distribution which is critical to crushing the coronavirus, ending the pandemic, and reviving our national and local economies. $20 billion will go toward the purchase of vaccines so they can be given at no charge to those who need it as well as an additional $8 billion to implement the infrastructure and logistics needed to distribute the vaccines as quickly as possible around the country.
- Fund education and child care needs by providing $82 billion for colleges and schools, including for HVAC repair and replacement to mitigate virus transmission and reopen classrooms, and $10 billion for child care assistance to keep child care providers open and help parents get back to work.
- Bolster the Low Income Housing Tax Credit which helps to increase affordable housing construction and provide greater certainty to new and ongoing affordable housing projects.
“Although $900 billion is certainly no small sum, I will be the first to admit this relief package is not all the American people need in this dire moment—even if it was all we could get out of the Senate Majority Leader,” said Congressman Cleaver. “In the midst of an economic and health crisis that threatens 33% of Americans with eviction or foreclosure, and has already resulted in the largest surge in U.S. poverty in recorded history, it is abundantly clear that the public is drowning under the weight of this pandemic. While this is a comprehensive proposal that sends an immediate lifeline to those who are struggling to stay afloat, there is no question that more must be done.”
“We all must keep in mind that, in world history, no nation has collapsed because it acted to deliver recovery benefits to their feeble economy or financially frail citizenry,” Congressman Cleaver continued. “We must remember that there are lives on the other end of these decisions. I remain hopeful the incoming President and Congress will act with greater urgency in late January to further fund the needs of families and workers as well as small and minority-owned businesses. I will do everything in my power to ensure they do.”
The bipartisan omnibus spending bill increases non-defense spending by $12.5 billion above the budget caps, allowing for greater investment in Missouri families and communities. Some critical provisions supported by Congressman Cleaver include:
- Expanding access to housing by providing $43.4 million in new targeted vouchers to reduce homelessness among families with children, unsheltered veterans, and survivors of domestic violence.
- Tackling food insecurity by fully funding WIC, child nutrition programs, and SNAP
- Funding for gun violence prevention, including $25 million for federal research at the CDC and NIH into the gun violence epidemic plaguing our nation as well as $85 million for grants to improve the NICS firearms background check system.
- Combatting climate change by providing $2.86 billion for DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, $7 billion for DOE’s Office of Science to support energy innovation, and $182 million for NOAA Climate Research.
- Protecting our environment with $9.24 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure clean air and water and hold polluters accountable.
- Strengthening rural communities with more than $730 million to expand broadband service, which will spur economic development opportunities and improved education and healthcare services.
- Ending surprise medical billing by ensuring Americans are only responsible for their in-network cost-sharing amounts, including deductibles, in both emergency situations and certain non-emergency situations where they can’t choose an in-network provider.
- Extending critical public health programs, including Community Health Centers, National Health Service Corps, Teaching Health Centers, and Special Diabetes Programs.
- Honoring our responsibilities to veterans by giving $90 billion for VA medical care, including homelessness assistance, suicide prevention and outreach, and gender-specific care.
“I’m pleased that Congress was able to come to a bipartisan agreement on the FY21 budget that will end surprise medical billing, expand investments in affordable housing and nutrition assistance, intensify our battle against climate change, fund gun violence prevention programs, and expand rural broadband,” said Congressman Cleaver. “However, it remains extremely frustrating that Congress continues to wait until the last minute to pass enormous omnibus bills with little time to digest such critical decisions. I’m certain that the incoming Administration will provide more direction and involvement in such important spending decisions, and I think that will be a welcome addition to future negotiations.”
Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee’s Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. For more information, please contact Matt Helfant at 202-590-0175 or Matthew.Helfant@mail.house.gov A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.