At Hearing, Bipartisan State and Local Leaders Describe Positive Impacts of American Rescue Plan’s Recovery Funds

Mar 1, 2022
Press Release
Federal Funds Helped Boost the Economy, Improve Public Health, and Reduce Inequities

Washington, D.C. (March 1, 2022)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, held a hearing to examine the contributions of the American Rescue Plan’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to record economic growth, historically low unemployment, and healthier communities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

 

“According to independent experts at Moody’s Analytics, if Congress had not passed the American Rescue Plan, the country could have plunged into a double-dip recession instead.  That would have meant lower growth, and millions more people without jobs,”  said Chairwoman Maloney in her opening statement.  “Of course, economies around the world have faced many challenges in the last year, including supply chain issues and inflation, which have been made worse by recent Russian aggression.  But the American Rescue Plan has put America in the best position to manage these headwinds.”

 

The Committee heard testimony from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker; Ms. Fawn Sharp, President of the National Congress of American Indians; Mayor Victoria Woodards, City of Tacoma, Washington, serving as Vice President of the American League of Cities; Judge-Executive Gary Moore, Boone County, Kentucky, serving as Immediate Past President of the National Association of Counties; Dr. Michael Leachman, Vice President for State Fiscal Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Mr. Marc Joffe, Senior Policy Analyst for the Reason Foundation.

 

One year after the law’s enactment, witnesses and Committee Members highlighted how the American Rescue Plan contributed to record economic growth and historically low unemployment, setting the United States on pace for a faster and stronger recovery than other nations.

 

  • Asked by Rep. Raskin whether the Recovery Funds contributed to the country’s economic recovery, Judge Moore, a Republican county executive, said:  “Yes, I would say it has contributed to the economic recovery.  It has been wonderful gap funding for those needs in our communities that otherwise would not have been funded ….  I do believe that it is creating jobs, it’s creating economic investment, it’s supplying a need that would not have been addressed without the Funds.”

 

  • After Rep. Davis pointed out that 6.6 million jobs were created during President Biden’s first year in office, Governor Pritzker explained how the Recovery Funds supported workforce development:  “As we were trying to get people back into jobs that were available, some of those jobs came back faster than others, and some of them required skills development—upskilling as I would like to say—at our terrific community college system.  So we made investments in programs at those community colleges to allow people to gain new skills to get the kind of job they were hoping to get.”

 

  • Dr. Leachman emphasized that the American Rescue Plan and the Recovery Funds have “been a huge success helping to make the recession the shortest on record and creating much less hardship than we otherwise would have seen.”

 

Witnesses shared how communities successfully used the Recovery Funds to invest in a wide array of projects to save jobs and small businesses, support families, protect public health, and help recover from the economic harm of the coronavirus crisis.

 

  • In response to a question from Rep. Brown, Mayor Woodards said:  “The federal dollars have supported, really, the continued revitalization of our small businesses.  Here in Tacoma, we were able to support our most vulnerable local business ….  These grants went to small businesses owned by residents not exceeding 80% of the area medium income and with 15 or fewer full-time employees.  This means that we were providing support to our smallest of businesses who struggled the most.”

 

  • When Rep. Bush asked why the Recovery Funds were critical to local governments, Judge Moore said:  “Many of these funding needs were on the radar for capital plans or other funding requests, but probably would not have been met as quickly—or many times not at all—without the assistance and the flexibility that counties received across the country.  I do believe it was critical.  It was a critical time, and it did create jobs and provide resources for local governments.”
  • Asked by Rep. Wasserman-Schultz about how the importance of the Recovery Funds for children, Mayor Woodards responded:  “We still don’t know—and won’t know for quite some time—the effects of COVID-19 and this pandemic on our young people, so a rush to spend that money quickly would be devastating to all of our communities. ­We need the time to make sure that as we recover from COVID, that we can make those investments where they are needed.”

 

Witnesses and Committee Members underscored how the coronavirus pandemic disproportionately affected vulnerable communities and how the Recovery Funds were instrumental in getting more Americans vaccinated and addressing the economic disparities laid bare by the global health crisis

 

  • Responding to Rep. Kelly’s question about the impact of the Recovery Funds on Tribal communities, President Sharp said:  “We are disproportionately impacted and already vulnerable prior to the pandemic….  We can only dream of having the resources and opportunity to even get to a base level of providing for our citizens.  But with this investment, we’re not only able to meet the needs, but now we’re in a position to look long term to make strategic investments in our communities.”

 

  • When Congresswoman Norton pointed out that the District of Columbia is allocated $900 million of its Recovery Fund allocation for services to disproportionately impacted communities, Dr. Leachman said:  “The impact of the pandemic has been very unequal by race, by gender, and by community, and so directing resources in ways that help those communities particularly is a really central part of what the response needs to be.”

 

Click here to watch the hearing. 

   

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117th Congress