Ways & Means Committee begins process of approving components of COVID-19 relief package
Unemployment extension & expansion among measures approved
Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, announced the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee has begun its work on the American Rescue Plan, passing several components of the COVID-19 disaster relief package in committee.
During the hearing, Higgins spoke about the urgent need to act, saying in part, “The role of Congress and the federal government in times of national emergency is to marshal its resources to ensure that states and localities have the resources to respond on the ground. Whether it’s a snowstorm, a blizzard, a flooding, a hurricane or forest fires, the federal government’s role in times of national emergency is to do one thing: Protect its people. But this response did not work for the first 11 months. This plan … will deal with the disease and also deal with the economic damage that has been done to this economy. We should move and we should move fast.”
Among the measures approved by the committee on Wednesday was a component of the relief package expanding pandemic unemployment insurance from $300 to $400 per week and extending the program through Aug. 29.
Higgins’ team said, “Families are struggling due to pandemic-related job losses. Approximately 18.3 million Americans are currently receiving unemployment benefits. There are 9.8 million fewer jobs in the U.S. this February than there were in February 2020, prior to the pandemic.”
On Thursday, Feb. 11, the Ways and Means Committee will reconvene to continue with consideration of the nine components of the package that fall under the committee’s jurisdiction.