Rep. Eshoo Opening Remarks at Full Committee Markup of COVID-19 Relief Budget Reconciliation Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, delivered opening remarks today at the Full Committee markup on legislative recommendations for its budget reconciliation instructions. A video of her opening remarks can be found HERE and her written remarks as delivered are below:
At our Health Subcommittee hearing, which was held last week, we discussed the American Rescue Plan, I stated that we’re in a race against death. In the single week since our hearing, about 20,000 Americans have died due to COVID-19, including a fellow Member of Congress, Congressman Ron Wright.
In total, we’ve lost nearly 470,000 of our fellow Americans to this disease.
This crisis must be met with an all-of-America wartime plan:
First, the American Rescue Plan provides $20 billion for a national vaccination and treatment strategy to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of this summer. This is an ambitious plan and the legislation provides the resources necessary to accomplish that.
Second, it invests $50 billion to scale up testing by buying rapid tests, expanding lab capacity, and coordinating the genetic sequencing needed to detect the troubling new variants of the virus of the virus.
Third, the American Rescue Plan ensures Americans can access the treatment and health care needed to defeat the virus without out-of-pocket costs. That is going to help all of our constituents. This includes a record investment to encourage the 12 hold-out states to finally expand Medicaid coverage to 2 million Americans and offer Medicaid coverage to new mothers for a full year. We have had extensive hearings and discussions on that issue.
The legislation also includes $7.6 billion to shore up the FCC’s E-Rate program. Prior to the pandemic, the 17 million American students who lacked high-speed internet at home were part of what now-Acting FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel phrased the “Homework Gap.” Now, many of these students can’t even participate in classes. This funding is critically necessary.
My colleagues, I believe that we have the moral and economic duty to take this on. The United States of America today is on her knees, both economically and really hit so hard by this pandemic. So yes, this is legislation with a price tag that matches the needs of the people of our country. So obviously, I support it. I look forward to working with all of you. And I’m proud of the work that the Health Subcommittee members have done to date and will continue to do.