Congressman Al Green delivers billions for small businesses, fair housing, more in American Rescue Plan
U.S. Congressman Al Green.

U.S. Congressman Al Green (D-TX, 9), played a major role in the recently passed American Resuce Plan, to the tune of delivering billions earmarked for small businesses, grants for emergency fair housing enforcement and more.

On Wednesday, Green released a statement that said, “I am pleased to announce that the American Rescue Plan – which passed the House for a final time today – includes two pieces of legislation I proposed at the request of House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters. H.R. 1669 reauthorizes and funds at $10 billion the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), which will unleash $100 billion in low-cost capital to small businesses. H.R. 1674, cosponsored by Chairwoman Waters, provides grants for emergency fair housing enforcement for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP).”

Green, who serves as Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, added, “The impact of this pandemic on small businesses has been devastating, with more than 160,000 closing their doors since April 2020. As Chairwoman Waters has recognized, H.R. 1669 ‘provides $10 billion to support small businesses, including minority-owned businesses that are closing their doors at historic rates.’ Black-owned businesses have been forced to close at more than twice the rate of businesses owned by White Americans, underscoring the exacerbated effects of this pandemic on minorities.

“The SSBCI lending program was a pivotal component of our national economic recovery from the Great Recession.  Reauthorization during this time of severe financial hardship with emphasis on minority- and women-owned small and very small businesses, is economically the right thing to do.”

Fair housing enforcement was another target for funding and support.

“The need for fair housing enforcement has increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Fair Housing Alliance found that – as Asian Americans endure an alarming spike in hate crimes related to the coronavirus – 8% of fair housing organizations have experienced upticks in complaints based on national origin of Asian-Americans or Pacific Islanders,” shared Green. “The inclusion of H.R. 1674 in the American Rescue Plan will provide a much-needed $20 million in grants for emergency fair housing enforcement to help mitigate this upsetting trend.”

The Houston-area Congressman continued, “The American Rescue Plan also includes monies for states and municipalities that have been hard hit by the pandemic due to dwindling sales tax revenue. Localities within my congressional district will see nearly $1.7 billion combined in relief funding. That includes $914.12 million for Harris County, $615.44 million for the City of Houston, $157.42 million for Fort Bend County, $7.4 million for the City of Missouri City, and $3.79 million for the City of Stafford – which has also endured a lack of property tax revenue due to a pre-pandemic benefit Stafford residents enjoy. This influx of funding will help these municipalities work to recover from and continue fighting the coronavirus crisis.”

In his released statement, Green concluded, “When the deadly novel coronavirus reached the United States more than a year ago, many of us would have never imagined the severe health and economic toll it would take on our nation. However, it has been and continues to be my priority to ensure all my constituents – including those who have suffered from contracting the virus themselves or losing a loved one to it, job loss, inadequate access to health care, hunger, risk of eviction or foreclosure, or business closure – receive the necessary relief to weather and recover from this storm.

“This is why I voted for the American Rescue Plan and look forward to its enactment. I will continue working with Chairwoman Waters, my colleagues in both chambers, and the Biden Administration to ensure that we meet many of the needs of suffering Americans.”