Ruppersberger Issues Statement on Passage of COVID-19 Relief and Omnibus Spending Bill
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02) issued the following statement after Congress passed what may be one of the largest bills in U.S. history with enough funding to keep the government running through September 2021 plus $900 billion in COVID-19 relief measures:
“Today, seven months after the House passed its second round of COVID-19 relief legislation, we can finally tell our constituents and our country that help is on the way. This bill achieves our primary objectives of reducing the spread of this virus and putting money into the pockets of struggling Americans.
We can’t get our economy moving until we get the pandemic under control. This bill provides nearly $70 billion to accelerate the distribution of vaccines and implement a cohesive testing and tracing strategy – something that we have lacked since the outbreak began. It includes direct cash payments to families, relief for small businesses and support for schools and childcare facilities.
The bill is certainly not everything I wanted. I am very disappointed the bill does not include more aid for state and local governments, which cut the paychecks for tens of thousands of frontline workers including teachers, police officers and healthcare workers and are facing historic revenue losses amid unforeseen costs. As the pandemic continues to surge at an alarming rate, however, this bill will undoubtedly save lives and livelihoods.
The omnibus spending bill included in this package will directly benefit constituents in the Second District and Maryland. It provides more than $509 million for projects at Maryland military installations, $60 million to keep commerce moving through the Port of Baltimore and hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation and community development funding that will make its way to Maryland. As a House Appropriator, I proudly helped secure a record $87.5 million to protect the Chesapeake Bay and the jobs it supports.
It is beyond comprehension that Congress is writing, reviewing and passing legislation of this magnitude in a matter of hours – and we have no one to blame but Mitch McConnell. In the last seven months, the Senate has not passed a single appropriations bill or considered COVID-19 relief – neither its own bill nor the one sent to it by the House. It’s inexcusable and should never happen again. I look forward to doing more in the next year, when we have a new President in the White House who has unequivocally identified the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic fallout as his top priority.”