December 18, 2020

Duckworth, Durbin, Senate Dems Announce Significant Additions To The Economic Justice Act

The historic proposal now provides more than $435 Billion to address systemic racism and historic underinvestment in communities of color


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), along with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Democrats, today unveiled new additions to the Economic Justice Act, a major legislative proposal that now provides more than $435 billion in immediate and long-term investments in communities of color to address systemic racism and reverse decades of historic underinvestment.

“This deadly pandemic has laid bare the overwhelming inequities in our healthcare, economic and environmental protection systems that have plagued communities of color for far too long,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud to join Leader Schumer in introducing the Economic Justice Act, a critical piece of legislation that would help address generations of injustice by increasing access to child care and community healthcare, confronting the maternal mortality crisis and investing in infrastructure in communities of color in Illinois and across our nation.”

“The substantial additions to the Economic Justice Act make an even larger investment in Black and Brown communities across America that have been underfunded for generations,” said Durbin. “The bill not only provides funding to help child care providers, expand public health care and access to affordable housing, address maternal mortality rates, improve job training, support at-risk youth, and increase access to capital for minority-owned businesses, but it also helps build back the communities that have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.  If we are serious about lifting up communities of color that have faced generations of inequalities, it starts by putting our money where our mouth is and passing this bill.” 

Through eleven key initiatives, the Economic Justice Act aims to immediately help communities of color respond to the pandemic by investing over $135 billion in underfunded critical priorities, including child care, mental health and primary care, growth of minority-owned businesses, and job creation. This legislation also seeks to build long lasting wealth and health in these communities over the next five years by investing over $300 billion for infrastructure, a homeowner down payment tax credit, Medicaid expansion, and more.

Additionally, the bill makes key policy changes to better target federal assistance to high-poverty communities and to implement local hiring provisions to ensure more federal infrastructure spending translates into job opportunities for disadvantaged workers and underrepresented populations. The Economic Justice Act is not the conclusion of efforts in this space, but an initial down payment for communities of color and the first in many focused investments and policy initiatives to begin dismantling systemic racism.

Significant additions have also been made to Senate Democrats’ Economic Justice Act to further invest in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recession. The new additions to this legislation include increased infrastructure investment, robust labor standards and policies to improve pay, benefits and worker power, and a new $15 billion Community Justice Initiative to begin to right the wrongs of past federal policy that displaced, physically isolated, and stripped wealth from communities of color.

Joining Duckworth, Durbin and Schumer in introducing the Economic Justice Act include Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senate Committee on Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senate Committee on Armed Services Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI), Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE), Senate Committee on Small Business Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senate Committee on Budget Ranking Member Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senate Committee on Rules Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Senator Udall (D-NM), Senate Committee on Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA), Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senate Committee on Homeland Security Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA).

Some key endorsements of the Economic Justice Act include the National Urban League, Conference of National Black Churches, NWLC, National Black Worker Center, PolicyLink, US Hispanic Chamber, CDFI Coalition, UnidosUs and Prosperity Now. A comprehensive list of endorsements can be found here.

A summary of Senate Democrats’ Economic Justice Act can be found here. A section by section summary of the bill can be found here.