"Oxfam America welcomes the House passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (H.R. 1319) as an opportunity to help countless people suffering from the impacts of COVID-19 in the US and across the world.
"This act has the potential to lift children out of poverty, provide critical assistance for working families, address racial and gender inequalities that have been severely exacerbated by this historic crisis, and address the growing hunger crisis at home and abroad.
Too often, the interests of the wealthy and business class are overly represented in sweeping economic legislation. The American Rescue Plan is a welcome departure from recent history and offers a refreshing glimpse at what government can do when properly directed to aid people.
Oxfam is especially pleased to see the United States restoring our leadership on the global stage with a commitment of $11 billion in foreign aid. If passed in the Senate, this rapid deployment of US aid will help address immediate global health needs, including access to immunizations. It will help mitigate severe and lasting economic and social impacts like loss of wages, disruptions in education, and the concerning increase in gender-based violence. At a time when 130 million more people could be pushed into severe hunger due to COVID-19, these funds will also provide emergency food aid, among other forms of humanitarian relief.
Oxfam also welcomes a robust commitment of $39 billion in funding to help stabilize the child care industry in the US. This investment will help ensure a more equitable and far-reaching economic recovery: it will enable women to remain in the workforce now, and to re-enter the workforce once the pandemic has ended; and it will ensure continuity in the employment of child care workers, who are disproportionately women of color. Without this support for child care providers and families now and as the economy reopens, Black and Latina women in particular will continue to be overburdened and undervalued, reversing years of advancement toward gender equality.
Oxfam also commends the House for passing a bill that expands the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which will lead to drastic reduction in child poverty rates in the United States.
Finally, Oxfam welcomes the fact that the House version included raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Millions of American workers have put their lives on the line during the pandemic simply by showing up to essential jobs. While the increase won’t be considered by the Senate as part of this Plan, Oxfam will continue to advocate for a long overdue boost in the wage.
It is urgent that the Senate move as quickly as possible to pass this relief package. COVID-19 has tested our systems and our values as a nation and global community. The death toll is continuing to rise across the world, and the economic crisis continues to devastate the most underserved. The US Senate must seize the opportunity to build a more equal, inclusive economy that helps end poverty in the US and around the world."