Congressman DeSaulnier Hails Passage of Coronavirus and Government Funding Package

December 21, 2020
Press Release

DeSaulnier Effort to Protect Contra Costa Waterways Included

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) hailed passage of a bill that combines necessary relief for individuals and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and federal funding of our nation’s priorities through September 2021. The package passed the U.S. House by a vote of 359-to-53.

“This once-in-a-century pandemic has raged on for more than nine months now and Californians and people across America cannot wait any longer for the support they so desperately need. With passage of this bill, we provide direct assistance to individuals, extend unemployment benefits, and help small businesses while funding the federal government so we can put our focus on other pressing priorities,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “House Democrats worked hard to ensure this bill delivers needed relief for families in the short term and while it doesn’t go far enough – especially for state and local governments – it is a necessary down payment as we work on next steps with incoming President Biden in the new year.”

The package will provide up to $600 per person in direct payment survival checks based on an income threshold, $300 a week in supplemental federal unemployment benefits, and more than $250 billion for small businesses through a new round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding. The bill also creates the first-ever $25 billion federal rental assistance program.

The package also includes the Water Resources Development Act, the Energy Act, a fix for surprise medical billing, and the Intelligence Authorization Act. Included in the Water Resources Development Act section is a provision authored by Congressman DeSaulnier that would protect waterways in Contra Costa against harmful algal blooms. This provision allows all five California Delta counties – Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, and Yolo – to be eligible for a demonstration program that would determine the causes of, and implement measures to effectively detect, prevent, treat, and eliminate harmful algal blooms associated with water resources development projects. 

“Addressing our nation’s water infrastructure needs is critical to ensuring people have access to clean, safe drinking water,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “Both in Contra Costa and throughout the Delta region, the spread of algae could affect the health of both people and animals if ingested. This amendment will help to ensure our local water supply is protected from these harmful toxins.” 

“All of us who live in and around the Delta have seen harmful algal blooms arrive in larger areas and earlier in the season. Not everybody realizes, though, that their impact on boating and recreation extend to public health, as well,” said Contra Costa Supervisor Diane Burgis. “We are seeing the impact of harmful algal blooms, as Restore the Delta has stated, on local drinking water supplies, groundwater wells, irrigation, fish and wildlife, and the very air we breathe. We are so appreciative of the leadership of Congressman DeSaulnier in having the Delta and all of Contra Costa and the Delta counties included in a new Army Corps of Engineers demonstration program that will ‘detect, prevent, treat, and eliminate harmful algal blooms.’”