Congressional Leaders on Environmental Justice Issues Respond to Republican COVID-19 Proposal that Ignores the Needs of Communities of Color during this Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, joined fellow co-founders of the Environmental Justice Caucus, Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and leaders of the House of Representative’s United for Climate and Environmental Justice Task Force, Representatives A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), released a joint statement in response to the Republican COVID-19 proposal, the HEALS Act.


“The COVID-19 pandemic has raged on across this country, killing more than 150,000 Americans and causing unprecedented crises—one of public health and one of economic devastation. And sadly, yet unsurprisingly, the most fatal impacts fall on our lower-income communities, communities of color, and Tribal and indigenous communities.  


“After months of inaction, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans finally proposed a plan, the HEALS Act, which lacks compassion, resources and support for environmental justice communities. Not only does this proposal fail to extend enhanced unemployment benefits, it also lacks emergency drinking water funding and adequate funding for the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program. During a national crisis like this, no family should have to worry about their utilities being cut off, but without investing in these programs that is what will happen in households across this country.


“We stand in strong opposition to the HEALS Act and will fight to ensure that the needs of environmental justice communities are centered in any future COVID-19 recovery package.”