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U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, said the Ways and Means Committee backs a move by President Joe Biden to "go big" with the next pandemic relief and stimulus package in Congress.

Neal, chairman of the committee, spoke in support of a joint budget resolution for the current fiscal year that would advance new spending to combat the pandemic's economic, social and health effects.

U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, speaks on the floor of Congress on Feb. 3 about the next steps on addressing the pandemic. 

Neal's remarks on the floor of the House chamber follow:

The COVID-19 crisis is far from over. Record numbers of deaths and joblessness continue to plague our nation, with women and people of color disproportionately bearing the brunt of the hardship.

Fortunately, our nation has a new leader in the White House, who recognizes the severity of this emergency. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan contains the kind of bold policies congressional Democrats have sought to advance for months.

We understand that our economy will not truly recover without first crushing the virus and restoring safe working conditions.

Ending the public health emergency requires aggressive, science-based action, and it takes time. In addition to passing measures to eradicate the pandemic, we must also ensure families and jobless workers are able to afford life’s basic necessities until the economy is back on track.

Accomplishing these goals requires we go big. Economists and experts agree that not doing enough to address the crisis is far riskier than doing too much.

The Ways and Means Committee is ready to meet this challenge and beat the virus while putting money in people’s pockets, extending unemployment assistance, combatting child poverty, and supporting hard-hit families.

Passage of this budget resolution will provide us with an additional pathway to swiftly advance these priorities. In times as desperate as these, we must prepare any mechanism at our disposal that will get the American people the relief they need as quickly as possible.

For the millions of lives and livelihoods at stake, I urge all my colleagues, regardless of party, to support this critical measure.

 

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

Investigations editor

Larry Parnass joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, CommonWealth Magazine and with the Reuters news service.