Statement from Pressley, Warren, Markey on MA Legislature’s Plans to Move Federal American Rescue Plan Dollars to Segregated Fund

June 2, 2021
Press Release
Lawmakers Had Secured Commitment from Commonwealth to Swiftly Distribute Federal Dollars to Hardest-Hit Communities

BOSTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) issued the following statement on the announcement by Massachusetts State House leadership that the Legislature would move the approximately $5.3 billion in federal funding provided under the American Rescue Plan into a "segregated fund" to be appropriated separately from the state budget process:

“Chelsea, Everett, Methuen, and Randolph have borne a disproportionate burden of the coronavirus pandemic and deserve financial support now. The flexible federal relief funding in the American Rescue Plan we helped secure is currently in the state’s coffers. While state leaders determine allocation of the rest of the $5.3 billion in funding, we should immediately distribute to Chelsea, Everett, Methuen, and Randolph the $100 million dollars committed to them. We must keep this promise now.”

In March, Rep. Pressley and Senators Markey and Warren secured a commitment from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that it would follow the intent of federal law and the intention of the federal delegation to distribute $100 million in federally-provided American Rescue Plan dollars to hard-hit communities, specifically Chelsea, Everett, Randolph and Methuen.

The commitment came after Pressley, Warren and Markey and other members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation urged Governor Baker to use the discretion provided by Congress and President Biden in the ARP to immediately target the $4.5 billion in the Commonwealth's direct federal aid to disproportionately affected communities and secured a public commitment of $100M. Given the limitations of the CDBG funding formula, the delegation specifically secured a commitment to disburse funds to hard hit communities that experience disparities under this formula. In a Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing, Secretary Yellen confirmed that under the law, states have the authority to allocate ARP funds to communities hard hit by COVID-19. 

Pressley and Warren also led a letter with seven other senators and 26 other members of the House of Representatives, requesting Secretary Yellen use discretion in issuing guidance for ARP funding to support non-entitlement cities that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawmakers also asked that the Treasury work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure that population and other relevant community data are accurate and up to date. 

Last month, the lawmakers led their colleagues in the Massachusetts Congressional delegation reiterating their request for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide relief funds to disproportionately impacted communities that are in desperate need of relief to help them recover from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recession.

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