Statement from Senators Warren and Markey, Rep. Pressley on American Rescue Plan Funds for Massachusetts
Lawmakers had secured commitment from Commonwealth to swiftly distribute federal dollars to hardest hit communities
Boston, MA – Today, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement on the approximately $5.3 billion in federal funding provided under the American Rescue Plan for Massachusetts:
“Chelsea, Everett, Methuen, and Randolph have borne a disproportionate burden of the coronavirus pandemic and deserve financial support now,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “The flexible federal relief funding in the American Rescue Plan we helped secure is currently in the state’s coffers. While state leaders determine allocation of the rest of the $5.3 billion in funding, we should immediately distribute to Chelsea, Everett, Methuen, and Randolph the $100 million dollars committed to them. We must keep this promise now.”
In March, Senators Warren and Markey and Rep. Pressley secured a commitment from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to distribute $100 million in federally-provided American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars to hard-hit communities, specifically Chelsea, Everett, Randolph, and Methuen.
The commitment came after Warren, Markey, and Pressley and other members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation urged Governor Charlie Baker to use the discretion provided by Congress and President Joe Biden in the ARP to immediately target the $4.5 billion in the Commonwealth's direct federal aid to disproportionately impacted communities and secured a public commitment of $100 million. Given the limitations of the CDBG funding formula, the delegation specifically secured this commitment to disburse funds to communities that experience disparities under this formula. In a Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen confirmed that under the law, states have the authority to allocate ARP funds to communities hard hit by COVID-19.
Warren and Pressley also led a letter with seven other senators and 26 other members of the House of Representatives, requesting Secretary Yellen use discretion in issuing guidance for ARP funding to support non-entitlement cities that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawmakers also asked that the Treasury work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure that population and other relevant community data are accurate and up to date.
Last month, the lawmakers led their colleagues in the Massachusetts Congressional delegation reiterating their request for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide relief funds to disproportionately impacted communities that are in desperate need of relief to help them recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.
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