RICHMOND, Va.—Today, the House Democratic Caucus announced their priorities for the 2021 Special Legislative Session called to allocate billions in American Rescue Plan funding. This federal aid was proposed by the Biden administration to provide COVID-19 relief to Americans throughout the country but was opposed by every single member of Virginia’s Congressional Republican delegation as well as GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin.
Democrats are looking to use the funds in the American Rescue Plan to help small businesses hurt by the pandemic, assist Virginians struggling through the recovery and improve the state’s critical infrastructure needs by expanding broadband service throughout the Commonwealth and providing more funding to improve air quality in Virginia’s public schools.
This allocation effort involves creating a standalone budget bill that amends HB 1800, the FY 2021-2022 biennium bill.
The House Democrats’ priorities include:
- Fortifying our health care systems
- Investing in small businesses, including through Rebuild VA grants
- Improving public school infrastructure
- Accelerating broadband expansion
- Expanding access to clean water
- Replenishing the Virginia Employment Commission’s unemployment insurance trust fund
- Funding financial aid for higher education
Virginia Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, House Democratic Majority Leader Charniele Herring, House Democratic Caucus Chair Rip Sullivan, and House Appropriations Chair Luke Torian released the following statement in response:
“Democrats at the local, state, and federal levels are working together to build a better Virginia. With the funding from the American Rescue Plan, we will provide relief for the thousands of Virginians who have faced hardship because of the COVID-19 health crisis. These critical investments in our state’s health and safety, in our infrastructure, in our education system, in our workforce, and in our businesses will help move the Commonwealth forward.”