Spanberger Votes to Pass COVID-19 Emergency Relief Package & Government Funding Deal, Includes Spanberger’s Priorities to Support Central Virginia Families, Healthcare Providers, & Small Businesses
Upon Passing the Legislation, the Congresswoman Called for Congress to Take Additional Actions in the Coming Weeks & Months to Support the Nation’s Economic Recovery
Washington, December 21, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today voted to pass a bipartisan, bicameral emergency relief package in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, Spanberger helped kickstart relief negotiations and craft the bipartisan proposal that led to this legislation.
The bipartisan relief package includes many Central Virginia priorities that Spanberger pushed to incorporate into the bill – such as extended unemployment benefits, strong funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, additional loans for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), direct payments to individuals, telehealth investments, and assistance to independent entertainment venues. Additionally, the legislation extends the deadline for state and local governments to use Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) awards beyond the end-of-year deadline, allowing Central Virginia communities to continue ongoing COVID-19-related projects.
“This emergency relief legislation has the opportunity to provide Central Virginia families, businesses, healthcare workers, and schools with some degree of peace of mind as we approach the holidays. While additional relief is long overdue, today’s progress should be a sign of hope that Congress can move forward – including under the next administration – in rebuilding our economy, ensuring the swift distribution of vaccines, and safely reopening schools and businesses,” said Spanberger. “I’d like to thank my fellow Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus – as well as our colleagues in the U.S. Senate – for coming together as leaders, hammering out our differences, and refusing to accept complacency in the face of a once-in-a-generation pandemic. This package is just a first step in putting our nation back on a pathway toward recovery, and I’ll be pushing in the coming weeks and months for additional measures that will strengthen our economy, stamp out hunger, protect our most vulnerable neighbors, and combat the continued spread of this deadly virus.”
“ChamberRVA, Greater Richmond’s Regional Chamber of Commerce, enthusiastically endorses additional federal support for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brian Anderson, President & CEO, ChamberRVA. “Small businesses across our Nation and specifically in the Richmond region have borne the brunt of the economic distress created by the pandemic. Our small businesses want to be open, and they want to safely and responsibly protect their employees and their customers. To do that, they need continued federal support until our economy is back on its feet – and we thank Rep. Spanberger and her colleagues for their efforts.”
“We are excited to have additional funding opportunity in the Chesterfield region, as we still have businesses that are hanging on by a thread throughout the Commonwealth,” said Danielle MW Fitz-Hugh, President & CEO, Chesterfield County Chamber of Commerce. “The first round of PPP funding allowed businesses to open back up after initial shutdowns, and the second round of PPP funding will help keep them open. The pandemic has created incredible challenges for business but this stimulus package will help us step up to the challenge and be resilient.”
“As a small business owner, I saw firsthand that the PPP loan program served its purpose in helping us stay in business and keep our workers employed,” said David Ogburn, President, Ogburn Construction, Henrico County. “A second round of PPP loans provides us a clear path forward for continued recovery and puts our businesses into a position to once again contribute to our economy. I am grateful to Representative Spanberger for her work in pushing this issue forward.”
“We appreciate the work done by Rep. Spanberger and Congress to recognize the critical shortcomings of broadband access in rural areas that has been even more emphasized during the pandemic,” said Gary Wood, President & CEO, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative & Firefly Fiber Broadband. “With the funding provided in this stimulus package, many more families will have access much sooner to virtual classrooms, remote work, and telemedicine. Broadband access is being recognized as the necessity it has become for all Americans.”
“The CARES Act funding and additional resources sent to localities during the COVID-19 pandemic has been critical to the work we do. We would not be able to work to contain transmission and outbreaks, build relationships with the communities we serve, and provide accurate information to empower our communities,” said Dr. Melissa Viray, Deputy Director, Richmond City & Henrico County Health Departments. “The COVID-19 vaccine brings so much hope to our communities and we are grateful for the additional resources to make them accessible to our communities with the haste the situation deserves.”
"Virginia Loggers Association is grateful to Representative Spanberger and other lawmakers in the House and Senate who supported the relief provision for timber harvesters and timber haulers,” said Ron Jenkins, Executive Director, Virginia Loggers Association. “Our nation's loggers provide the essential products, made from natural, renewable, trees - truly our best and cleanest green energy material. Our loggers in Virginia and across our nation have received a great Christmas gift."
“COVID has demonstrated that broadband is absolutely essential for healthcare, education, and economic development,” said Beth O’Connor, Executive Director, Virginia Rural Health Association. “While telehealth may not be the cure-all for rural healthcare access issues, it can help lower the barriers of transportation and lack of providers in a cost-effective manner.”
“Richmond International Airport (RIC) is thankful for the support of our Congressional delegation in ensuring that the current COVID-19 relief package includes funding to assist airports in dealing with our Nation’s public health emergency,” said Perry J. Miller, A.A.E., I.A.P., President & CEO, Capital Region Airport Commission. “This funding is greatly appreciated and is essential in enabling airports to continue their critical role in the movement of people and cargo during the pandemic.”
The emergency COVID-19 relief package passed today in the U.S. House contains several provisions Spanberger pushed to include, such as:
Spanberger has consistently pushed for a negotiated COVID-19 relief package that can make it to the President’s desk and be signed into law. Earlier this month, she called on the Trump Administration and congressional leadership in both parties to recommit to the passage of a negotiated COVID-19 relief package before the end of the year.
In October 2020, Spanberger voted against the partisan Heroes Act 2.0 and called for leadership in both parties to come to an agreement on COVID-19 relief that could be approved by the U.S. Senate and be signed into law by President Trump. Additionally, she pushed House Democratic leadership to accept a relief offer from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that would provide much-needed assistance to working families, coordinated testing efforts, state and local governments, and small businesses.
And in September 2020, Spanberger joined her fellow Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus to unveil the caucus’ bipartisan “March to Common Ground” framework to help break the gridlock on the latest COVID-19 relief package.