The cost will be steep if the nation doesn’t unite and invest resources in solving critical problems, warned House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-South Carolina).
On Tuesday, during the opening program for the 2021 Big “I" Virtual Legislative Conference, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) hailed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package and President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan as crucial investments in the future of the nation.
The COVID-19 relief legislation provided an additional $1,400 in stimulus checks to eligible Americans as well as an additional $50 billion for small businesses which included an additional $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.
“A lot of people call it a stimulus plan, but it's not a stimulus plan," Rep. Clyburn (pictured above) said. “This is a rescue plan, trying to rescue the lives and livelihood of thousands—millions—of people who have been ill-affected by COVID-19."
“It's a big number, $1.9 trillion," Rep. Clyburn continued, acknowledging that the costs may cause some hesitancy, but “the experts have looked at this plan and said, 'For every dollar that this plan spends, it will return a dollar and 25 cents.'"
Rep. Clyburn also emphasized how experts predict the relief will lift 12 million Americans out of poverty and described writing a letter to families in his congressional district to inform them what the plan will do for their community, state and country.
“This plan also does stuff for you, for each and every one of you and your businesses," he told conference attendees. “I'm particularly interested in the $10 billion program … that's there for small businesses, and many of you will fall into that category of being able to benefit from that money as well."
After a politically divisive election cycle, Rep. Clyburn warned that if Congress does not show solidarity by working across the aisle to invest in its future, the cost will be steeper in the long run. “We must preserve the integrity of this democracy," he said. “We must work to leave a flourishing democracy for our children and our grandchildren. We must come together in a bipartisan way."
Looking at plans to create a prosperous environment for families and small businesses, Rep. Clyburn emphasized that the American Jobs Plan, which is estimated to cost between $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion, is an investment in long-term recovery.
“A lot of people have said, 'That's mighty expensive,'" Rep. Clyburn said. “But let me ask you this question. What will it cost not to do it? What will it cost not to open our schools so children can get back to schools? And we cannot make the schools safe unless we clean up these HVAC systems, unless we restore the schools to safety for all of our children. What's it going to cost if we don't restore the housing market so you can have something to insure as you carry out your business?"
“Yes, it's going to be a big number, but it's a big problem, and you cannot solve big problems by clipping coupons out of the Sunday papers," he continued. “We've got to invest the resources of this country in making this place a place worthy of our children and grandchildren."
Rep. Clyburn concluded his address by thanking Big “I" members for their service to their communities. “I look forward to working with each and every one of you going forward," he added.
AnneMarie McPherson is IA news editor.