Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick has issued this statement following a vote on the American Rescue Plan:
In a time of such desperate need for targeted COVID-19 relief, the House Majority has decided to rush a nearly $2 trillion, untargeted spending package. Here are the facts:
- House Leadership is forging ahead with their incredibly expensive partisan relief plan while over $1 trillion in funds from previously-enacted laws remain unspent to fight COVID and reopen our economy.
- Less than 1% of the American Rescue Plan would be spent on vaccine-related activities and programs, which should be the #1 top priority.
- Less than 9% of the $1.9 trillion plan goes to combatting COVID-19 through public health spending such as national vaccination program, tracking, and more testing.
- This bill would extend eligibility for some benefits to those in this country illegally.
- This bill spends $100 million on the Silicon Valley Underground Transit Expansion and other pet projects like $1.5 million for the Seaway International Bridge, which connects New York to Canada. This has zero connection to COVID relief.
- This bill spends over $10 billion on overseas, non-domestic items.
One thing we can all agree on: there is a significant need to quickly disseminate adequate resources to the many Americans in need in a targeted and direct fashion. Along with a number of my bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus colleagues, I am insisting that this, and any COVID-19 relief package moving forward, be a product of bipartisan compromise. Any COVID-19 relief package must also guarantee that assistance is given solely to those in need and in no way diverted to wasteful, non-COVID related spending. We must work together and deliver real relief to the struggling American families and workers who need it most.
To do so, we must have individual, stand-alone votes on each aspect of the plan: individual, stand-alone votes for a national vaccination program, the safe reopening of schools, direct stimulus payments, funding for our local governments, and an upgrade to our federal information technology infrastructure to specifically address the recent breaches of government data systems. Each of these individual bills must be targeted and efficient. Currently, more than $1 trillion of the American Rescue Plan is unrelated to providing assistance to impacted families and workers across our nation. Under no circumstance should the next COVID-19 relief package include anything that is not direct, targeted relief for the many Americans impacted by the pandemic.
For months, the calls for unity and bipartisanship have been hopeful and encouraging. But of the hundreds of amendments submitted by House GOP members for the COVID-19 relief package, only two have been accepted. Now, more than ever, it is of the utmost importance that both sides come together, as we did in December, and unite on putting together the best possible package for our constituents. It’s my hope and aim that my colleagues take this opportunity to reach across the aisle and unite to best serve the people of our country. No more purely ideological proposals, we must quickly come to a unified solution together.