On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), and the millions of frontline transportation workers represented by our 33 affiliated unions, we applaud members of the House and Senate for advancing the joint budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2021, which will provide desperately needed relief to workers and communities across this country. We urge you to support this package both through the committee process and on the House floor.
As you know, the reconciliation instructions in the budget resolution instructed committees in the House and Senate to report legislation that will have a significant impact on the workers represented by TTD’s affiliated unions. Of specific importance to TTD are provisions currently before the House Transportation and Infrastructure and Financial Services Committees, which include $15 billion to extend the Payroll Support Program, $3 billion to support aviation manufacturing, $30 billion for public transit, and $1.5 billion for Amtrak, along with the strong worker protections tied to the use of those emergency funds. Additionally, the bill ensures that rail workers will receive parity in unemployment benefits compared to other employees, and provides the Railroad Retirement Board with $28 million for long overdue IT modernization and increased staffing to better support the administration of its programs. TTD appreciates your hard work on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA). The enactment of CARES and CRRSAA served as a critical lifeline for America’s transportation system, its frontline workers, and the families that depend on them. Unfortunately, as we continue to grapple with the severity of this global pandemic, the needs of our country continue to exceed what has been provided in those relief packages.
Under the most difficult circumstances, transportation workers have done their part to see our country through this crisis. Now they need you to take the actions necessary to allow them to finish the job. Without the funding for transportation systems secured in this bill, our nation’s transportation workforce faces job loss and severe economic insecurity. These are the very workers who have risked so much to ensure our store shelves stay stocked, our hospitals have supplies, and essential workers can get to their jobs. Seeing millions of transportation workers hit the unemployment lines would spell disaster for our economy and hinder our chances of rebuilding once this crisis is behind us.
As committees in both chambers work to bring forward this vital economic relief package, we urge your strong support for our nation’s transportation system and its frontline workers. Support the package, and reject amendments that threaten its enactment.