March 25, 2021

Warren Statement on Baker Decision to Follow the Law and Allocate Federal Funding to Communities Hard Hit by COVID-19

Washington, D.C. - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released the following statement after Governor Baker heeded the calls from the delegation to follow the intent of the federal law and allocate some of the $4.5 billion federal funding he was given from the American Rescue Plan to communities hard hit by COVID-19:

"I am glad that Governor Baker is now listening to the calls from the delegation, as well as Secretary Yellen's reaffirmation yesterday, that he both can and should use the authority and the funding granted by the American Rescue Plan to provide needed funds to Chelsea, Everett, Methuen, and Randolph.  But other communities in Massachusetts need help too. This relief should be used as Congress intended -- to fully support the communities that have been on the frontlines on this pandemic, including our communities of color hit hardest by this public health emergency."

Last week, Senators Warren, Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), and Congresswoman Pressley along with members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, urged Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to use the discretion provided by Congress and President Biden in the ARP to immediately target the $4.5 billion in the Commonwealth's direct federal aid to disproportionately affected communities. In a Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing yesterday, Secretary Yellen confirmed that under the law, states should have the authority to allocate ARP funds to communities hard hit by COVID-19. Senator Warren and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) 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 group includes Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Ways & Means Chairman Richie Neal (D-Mass). 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.