VIRGINIA (WAVY) — Elected officials across the Commonwealth responded Saturday to the Senate’s passage of the American Rescue Plan.
The Senate gave President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package its stamp of approval with a 50-49 vote after an all night session.
The bill will now return to the House of Representatives, but it’s expected to pass and head to Biden’s desk before current benefits expire in just over a week.
Governor Ralph Northam says the American Rescue Plan will “provide much needed relief to working Virginians, help us safely reopen schools, accelerate our vaccination program, and boost our recovering economy — this has been a difficult year, but we can all be hopeful that brighter days are ahead.”
Senator Tim Kaine applauded the Senate’s passage and said it includes “numerous critical wins for Virginia.”
“Because of this bill, millions of Virginians will receive a stimulus check, unemployment benefits will last through the summer, and 85,000 of the Commonwealth’s children will be lifted out of poverty,” said Kaine. “The past year has been dark, but with this much-needed relief and the acceleration of vaccinations, a brighter, healthier, more prosperous America is on the horizon.”
Senator Mark R. Warner released the following statement after voting for the American Rescue Plan legislation.
“This legislation will help our country defeat COVID-19 and get back to normal. It includes desperately needed resources to get vaccines into arms; help schools reopen safely and provide much-needed lifelines to the communities hardest-hit by this virus.
“I will be the first to acknowledge that this bill is not perfect. I am glad that as the Senate considered this legislation, we made some important changes to target aid where it is most badly needed as millions of Americans remain out of work, state and local governments continue to lay off workers, and small businesses struggle to keep their doors open.
“I’m especially proud that I was able to work with President Biden and my colleagues to add funding to expand access to high-speed internet, which is a necessity, not a luxury, during COVID-19. The $17 billion we secured to help expand broadband infrastructure and affordability represents the largest-ever federal investment of its kind and will be a significant boost to our economy as we work to rebuild and recover from COVID-19.”
Warner also says that according to current estimates, nearly 700,000 Virginians still don’t have access to high-speed internet — an essential during the COVID-19 crisis for telecommuting, distance learning, telemedicine, and more.
Representative Elaine Luria said, “I am pleased the Senate passed the American Rescue Plan, which will help end the pandemic, provide a lifeline to our small businesses, and ensure our country and our economy emerge from the pandemic stronger than before.”
Provisions of the American Rescue Plan include:
- Aid for unemployed workers
- Assistance for struggling households
- Health care provider mental health
- Supporting public health data modernization
- Aid for vaccine distribution and virus tracking
- Funding to safely reopen schools
- Child care
- State, local, and tribal aid
- Helping restaurants and other small businesses
To read the full breakdown with updates, click here.