Duckworth, Calling for Passage of Biden’s American Rescue Plan, Highlights Provisions to Vaccinate More Americans and Expand Access to Affordable Healthcare During the COVID-19 Pandemic
American Rescue Plan would boost vaccinations and testing, ensure access to health coverage, promote health equity and invest in behavioral health
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) this afternoon joined a press call where she discussed the urgent need to pass the American Rescue Plan and address the major public health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) also participated in the press call.
- “As each of us knows, this past year has been full of impossible days… mornings rife with tragedy… afternoons filled with families being forced to say goodbye… nights marked by too many tears, too much horror. But in the days ahead, as we inch closer and closer to enacting the American Rescue Plan, we have the chance to take another step toward making those awful days part of our past… a step toward making sure that unlike 2020, this year is filled with more hope than heartbreak.”
- “But in this moment, I’m feeling hopeful—and everyone else should, too. After all, we’re vaccinating more Americans by the hour, and mass vaccination sites like the one I was fortunate enough to help launch last week at Chicago’s United Center are becoming more and more common. Now, we must all come together to pass this legislation. And in the process, we will prove that Americans are tougher than this virus… and that it is possible to get through these impossible times when we work with each other and for one another.”
This week the U.S. Senate is taking up a comprehensive package of legislation that will increase vaccinations and testing, ensure access to health coverage, promote health equity, and invest in behavioral health. The American Rescue Plan contains billions in funding to get vaccines into Americans’ arms more quickly and provide crucial supplies, testing, and staffing to stop the spread of COVID-19. It also lowers or eliminates health insurance premiums for millions of Americans and addresses systemic inequities through investments in underserved communities and communities of color.
Duckworth’s full remarks as delivered are below:
- I was just thanking you Chris and thanking the Chairwoman of the Tammy caucus in the Senate for pulling us together.
- Hi everyone.
- As each of us already knows, this past year has been full of impossible days… … afternoons filled with families being forced to say goodbye… too many tears, too much horror… People losing their businesses.
- But in the days ahead, as we inch closer and closer to enacting the American Rescue Plan, we have the chance to take another step toward making those awful days part of our past… a step toward making 2021 so much unlike 2020. This year is going to be filled with more hope than heartbreak.
- I won’t list out all the details of the bill here, but I do want to touch on and highlight a few of its pieces that I am especially proud of that are included.
- Because the bill does everything from supporting health centers in communities of color to mental health initiatives… It will keep older Americans and people with disabilities safe by increasing funding for home and community-based services… Something so absolutely critical to those with disabilities. It will also help fund everything from vaccine distribution to more vaccine research… And it will prioritize lowering healthcare costs for millions of Americans while bolstering maternal health programs.
- Let’s take just a second to think about the effect that a couple of these measures would actually have.
- Thanks to a $20 billion investment in a more efficient vaccine administration and distribution process, it would mean that every day, countless mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, brothers and sisters would be better protected against the awful impacts of this virus.
- Thanks to more affordable healthcare—including lowered or eliminated premiums and subsidized coverage for those who’ve lost their employer-sponsored coverage recently—single moms who get up before dawn every morning wouldn’t have to stay up all night, too, trying to figure out how in the world they’ll be able to afford their premiums…
- They’ll know that if they get sick, they’ll have the care they need to be around tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that, to take care of their young kids.
- Thanks to billions in increased support for home and community-based services, we can help also older Americans and people with disabilities receive the care they need in safer environments like their homes, instead of putting them in a place that is much more susceptible to the spread of COVID, such as institutional settings.
- Thanks to $10 billion dedicated to the Defense Production Act for procuring PPE and other essential equipment, frontline workers—from the heroes sweeping up our hospitals at night to the folks re-stocking the aisles of our supermarkets during the day—would be able to clock in more confident that their livelihoods will not cost them their lives, because they’ll have the PPE they need to proceed with their jobs.
- And thanks to a much-needed, long-overdue investment in communities of color, such as home visiting, diapers, postpartum care, health centers and nursing homes, those hardest hit by this virus would actually be able to get the services they need when they need because people of color in America need our support today, not tomorrow.
- Look, we still have a long, long way to go to beat this virus. To come out the other side. To return to any sort of “normal life” like what we were used to just a little over 12 months ago.
- But in this moment, I’m feeling hopeful—and everyone else should, too. I was just on the phone with the Mayors of Bloomington and Normal talking about our future, and they are optimistic that we can proceed into the future after we pass this plan.
- Now, we must all come together to pass this legislation. And in the process, we will prove to America that we are tougher than this virus… and that it is possible to get through these impossible times when we work with each other and for one another.
- Thank you again for having me!
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