March 10, 2021

Chair DeFazio Statement on Final House Passage of the American Rescue Plan: “Help is Truly on the Way”

Washington, DC- Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives approved the American Rescue Plan and sent the legislation to President Biden to be signed into law.

“With this final vote in the House to approve the American Rescue Plan, the American people can rest assured that help is truly on the way,” Chair DeFazio said. “I am proud of the role my Committee and our Members played to make sure this legislation keeps frontline transportation workers on the payroll and out of unemployment lines, ensures essential infrastructure projects are kept on track, and helps FEMA get vaccines into arms. Once President Biden signs this legislation to finally crush this virus and deliver immediate relief to families and workers, then we can turn to a jobs-creating infrastructure package that provides the foundation for our long-term economic recovery.”

On February 10th, following an all-day markup, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee advanced, on a bipartisan vote, nearly $100 billion in much-needed aid to the American people—including transportation workers whose jobs are at risk due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The final version of the American Rescue Plan that is headed to President Biden for his signature includes the following provisions that were championed by Chair DeFazio:

  • 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.
  • Transit: $30.5 billion 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 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.
  • Economic Development Administration: $3 billion to provide economic adjustment assistance to help prevent, prepare for, and respond to economic injury caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including a set-aside for communities that have suffered job losses in travel, tourism, or outdoor recreation activities.
  • Aerospace manufacturing: $3 billion for a temporary payroll support program to retain or rehire workers.
  • Amtrak: $1.7 billion to recall and pay employees furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic through the end of fiscal year 2021 and to restore daily long-distance service; includes a set-aside to help states cover lost revenue in state-supported routes.

More information on the American Rescue Plan can be found here.