Statement from Rep. Pressley on Commonwealth’s Disbursement of Federal Dollars to Hardest-Hit Communities

March 25, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement on the announcement today that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will follow the intent of federal law and distribute $100 million in federally-provided American Rescue Plan funding to hard-hit communities like Chelsea, Everett, Randolph and others.

“We knew from the onset of this pandemic that communities in the Massachusetts 7th, including Chelsea, Everett and Randolph, would be among the hardest-hit by this public health and economic crisis due to decades of under-investment, systemic racism, and other structural inequities. That is why, in addition to direct aid to individuals and families, and an initial round of direct municipal aid through the Community Development Block Grant formula, my federal colleagues and I proactively fought to secure $4.5 billion in flexible federal relief for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the American Rescue Plan.

“Since the legislation’s passage, my federal partners and I have been in constant communication with the Baker administration and local officials and have consistently pressed the Governor to allocate this additional $4.5 billion in federal funding in line with Congressional leaders’ intent when they passed the bill—swiftly and in a manner that reflects the disparate impact of the pandemic on communities like Chelsea, Everett, and Randolph, and ensures those communities receive resources that meaningfully address their needs.

“Today’s announcement is a critical step toward delivering these communities the relief they need and deserve, and we appreciate the Governor for heeding our calls to target these federal dollars to our most impacted communities.”

“With workers and families in the Massachusetts 7th and all across the Commonwealth continuing to struggle amidst this ongoing pandemic, we must continue delivering robust relief that meets the scale and scope of this crisis and sets us on a path to a just and equitable recovery.”

Last week, Congresswoman Pressley, Senators Warren, Edward J. Markey (D-MA), along with members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, urged Massachusetts Governor Charlie 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. 

In a Senate Banking Committee hearing yesterday, Secretary Yellen confirmed that under the law, states should have the authority to allocate ARP funds to communities hard hit by COVID-19. 

Congresswoman Pressley and Senator 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 group includes Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Ways & Means Chairman Richie Neal (D-Mass). 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.

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