A man waits to refill his medical oxygen cylinder for the Covid-19 coronavirus patient under home quarantine at a private refill centre in New Delhi on May 4, 2021.
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In response to the Senate passing the American Rescue Plan Act, Gina Cummings, Vice President of Alliances, Advocacy, and Policy for Oxfam America made the following statement:

By Oxfam

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed millions of lives and impacted countless others, Oxfam America welcomes the Senate’s urgent passage of the American Rescue Plan Act. We commend the Senate for moving quickly to provide badly needed relief to struggling individuals and families as soon as possible.

This new relief package offers an opportunity to build a more equal, inclusive economy that helps end poverty both domestically and globally by supporting underserved populations, helping families cope, addressing the growing hunger crisis abroad, and tackling the inequalities that have been severely exacerbated by this crisis. People everywhere are hurting, and we welcome this step forward.

Oxfam is deeply encouraged to see the United States work to earn back its position as a global leader by committing $11 billion in foreign assistance. This will help meet immediate global health needs including addressing the growing hunger crisis, increasing access to immunizations, strengthening severely strained health systems. The COVID-19 pandemic has already cost millions of lives and is pushing millions more into hunger and poverty across the globe. These funds will provide much needed support through humanitarian relief efforts as well as aid in mitigating the severe and lasting economic and social impacts like loss of wages, disruptions in education, and the concerning increase in gender-based violence. Once signed into law, we look forward to working with agencies providing US assistance to ensure that funds are spent in a way that best reflects the needs and priorities of the people most impacted.

Oxfam strongly commends the commitment of $39 billion in addition to the $10 billion pledged in December to help stabilize the child care industry and support struggling families. With 2.5 million women leaving the paid workforce since the start of the pandemic, this kind of investment is essential to our economy recovery, getting women back into the workforce, and maintaining the job security of child care workers, who are disproportionately women of color. Without this support now and as the economy reopens, women will continue to be overburdened and undervalued, reversing years of advancement toward gender equality.

Oxfam also welcomes the robust domestic stimulus that includes an extension of unemployment benefits, $1,400 cash payments, and an expansion of the Child Tax Credit. These measures are crucial to addressing the widening inequality gap and ensuring that those facing the greatest impacts also receive the greatest support.

The American Rescue Plan Act is an important step toward helping people recover from an economic crisis that has devastated the most underserved in the US and around the world. We welcome this swift action from the Senate and look forward to sustained support for those most in need well into the future. We urge the House and the Senate to finalize this legislation and send it to the President as quickly as possible, and for President Biden to sign this into law immediately.

Oxfam is grateful to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders, House Budget Chair John Yarmuth, Senate HELP Committee Chair Patty Murray, House Education & Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Robert Menendez, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Gregory Meeks, and President Biden for championing this effort. The American Rescue Plan Act is an important step toward helping people recover from an economic crisis that has devastated the most underserved in the US and around the world.

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