Pallone Floor Remarks in Support of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan
Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following remarks on the House Floor today in support of H. Con. Res. 11 – Establishing the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2021 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2022 through 2030:
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this legislation, which will give Congress the ability to swiftly enact President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
Our nation and our people are hurting. While we have made historic progress developing lifesaving vaccines in record time, we are now in a race to get these vaccines into the arms of Americans as new variants of the virus spread.
Unfortunately, the Trump Administration left President Biden a mess to clean up. President Trump refused to develop a national strategy to crush the virus and said it was the responsibility of the states. This led to a sluggish and flawed vaccine rollout, a disjointed patchwork of state testing plans, and supply chain constraints on essential medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE).
In December, Congress made a down payment to help jumpstart our nation’s recovery. However, our work is far from done. Congress must provide the new Biden Administration the additional resources and support necessary to implement a national strategy.
The American Rescue Plan is a comprehensive, multipronged, national approach. It is robust because we need a big plan to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Rescue Plan will invest billions to speed up the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines across the country. It will support the development of community vaccination centers, as well as mobile vaccination units that can go into hard-to-reach areas that are often underserved.
The American Rescue Plan invests in a national testing strategy, with funding for rapid tests, expanding lab capacity, and assisting states. Expanded testing will ensure that schools can support safe reopening, that vulnerable settings like long-term care facilities can regularly test their populations, and that any American can get a test for free when they need one.
We will also provide specific funding for health services in underserved communities. This includes funding to hire 100,000 new public health workers. They will perform vital tasks like vaccine outreach and contact tracing for underserved populations.
The American Rescue Plan provides additional investments in Community Health Centers and health services on tribal lands. These funds will support the expansion of COVID vaccinations, treatment and care, to underserved populations.
This plan delivers bold relief to the American people, it deserves strong bipartisan support here in the House. I urge my colleagues to act with the urgency of the moment and support this resolution.
Thank you, I yield back.