July 29, 2021
Pressley Secures Passage of Key Priorities in House Floor Vote
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) applauded House passage of H.R. 4502, which includes funding for several key priorities and community projects championed by the Congresswoman.
“In this moment of overlapping crises, we have a mandate to center equity and justice in all of our policymaking. This sweeping bill makes critical investments that will support our most vulnerable communities and lay the groundwork for an equitable and just recovery. “By making these historic investments, we can begin to finally tackle the longstanding health disparities exacerbated by the pandemic, support our students, and invest in our communities. “I am also proud that for the first time in more than four decades, the House of Representatives advanced funding bills without the discriminatory Hyde Amendment, a reproductive justice priority that I have been working on since my City Council days. For too long the Hyde Amendment has prevented access to abortion care for low-income people who receive health insurance coverage through Medicaid. These abortion bans have disproportionately impacted Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other communities of color, perpetuating cycles of poverty and economic inequality. It is long past time we affirm that abortion care is health care and that health care is a fundamental human right guaranteed to all. Today we are one historic step closer to doing just that.”
H.R. 4502 includes the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education; Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA; Energy and Water; Interior; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; Transportation-Housing and Urban Development; and Financial Services and General Government appropriations bills.
During debate on the House floor, Rep. Pressley spoke in favor of her amendment requiring a comprehensive study on the ways that discriminatory exclusionary discipline practices and the pushout crisis continued to manifest in remote learning settings. The amendment is inspired by her Ending PUSHOUT Act, which would combat the punitive pushout of girls of color from schools and disrupt the school-to-confinement pathway. Her full remarks are available here.
Congresswoman Pressley was also successful in securing inclusion of the following notable items in the legislation:
- Repealing the Discriminatory Hyde Amendment and Affirming Reproductive Justice for All. Rep. Pressley has consistently led Congressional efforts to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from being used to cover abortion care and disproportionately impacts people of color, low-income people, immigrants, transgender and gender non-conforming people. H.R. 4502 is the first package of appropriations bills to pass the House free of Hyde abortion restrictions in over 40 years.
- Investing $10 million in Public Health Community Grants to Root Out Structural Racism. Modeled after her Anti-Racism in Public Health Act, the legislation establishes a $10 million pilot program to support anti-racism in public health community grants. The bill also requires a report on the federal government’s plans to establish a National Center on Anti-Racism and Health Equity within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
- Supporting Nurturing Learning Environments that Support All Students. Rep. Pressley secured a $10 million pilot program to support states and school districts aiming to create safe and nurturing school climates by utilizing alternatives to discriminatory exclusionary discipline practices and policing alternatives. Rep. Pressley has championed legislation to bring an end to the over-policing of our nation’s K-12 schools and combat the pushout crisis disproportionately impacting Black girls.
- Securing Historic Investments in School-Based Health Centers. Rep. Pressley requested and was successful in securing a historic $50 million investment for School-Based Health Centers—an increase of $45 million over the previous fiscal year. She has been a steadfast and unapologetic champion for community health centers throughout her time in Congress.
- Supporting Grandfamilies Through Fully Funding for the Grandfamily Housing Program. The legislation fully funds the Grandfamily Housing Program at $10 million to support grandparents raising their grandchildren in accessing safe, affordable and appropriate housing. This is a continuation of her work introducing the Grandfamily Housing Act with Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-02), which would provide additional resources for grandfamilies.
- Supporting Unbanked and Underbanked Communities by Expanding Postal Banking Services. The legislation includes $6 million for a postal non-bank financial services pilot program through the United States Postal Service to demonstrate the usefulness of postal banking in underbanked communities. Rep. Pressley has consistently advocated for postal banking throughout her time in Congress.
- Combatting the Housing Crisis. The bill provides more than 125,000 new housing vouchers targeted to individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness, survivors of domestic violence, and veterans, includes over 4,000 new units for seniors and persons with disabilities, and protects housing assistance for more than 4.8 million individuals and families. The bill also includes $3.4 billion for Homelessness Assistance Grants, over $11.3 billion in funding to construct new and repair old affordable housing an improve critical health, safety, and maintenance of public and low-income housing, and $150 million in support of the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, which helps to support public housing residents build savings and reach financial stability.
- Supporting Public Health Response to Opioid Crisis. The bill includes more than $5.5 billion to fund opioid prevent and treatment, including $69.5 million – a $56.5 million increase over the previous fiscal year – to support Syringe Services Programs, community-based prevention programs that provide a range of services to treat substance use disorder. The bill also invests in opioid abuse harm reduction strategies by removing a prohibition on federal funds being used to purchase syringes.
H.R. 4502 also includes direct funding for several projects in the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District, which Rep. Pressley has been advocating for through Congress’s Community Project Funding initiative. The projects that would receive funding under this bill are the City of Boston’s Tuition Free Community College program; the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology’s Clean Energy Certification Program; La Colaborativa’s COVID Employment Recovery Program; substance use disorder programming at the Dimock Center; a school-based health center at Randolph High School; culturally relevant learning resources for Milton and Randolph Public Schools; separated bike lanes in Cambridge, MA; and the City of Somerville’s Poplar Street Pump Station and Art Farm project.
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