ICYMI: Warren Touts Historic Federal Investments for Massachusetts, Urges Action on Child Care and Housing | U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts

January 24, 2024

Warren: “In the past three years, Senator Markey and I—along with our fantastic partners in the House—have worked to secure nearly $8 billion in federal funding for infrastructure, public safety, research, transportation, and more for communities here in Massachusetts.”

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) delivered remarks at the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s (MMA) Annual Business Meeting, where she highlighted nearly $8 billion in federal funding for Massachusetts projects secured in the past three years under the Biden administration, including for expanded broadband access, improved public transit, and Cape Cod bridge replacement, among others. Senator Warren also urged action on the need to establish universal child care and drastically reduce the affordable housing gap in the Commonwealth and country. 

The full text of her remarks is available below.

Remarks – MMA Annual Business Meeting

As Prepared for Delivery

January 20, 2023

Hello, Massachusetts Municipal Association! Thank you Jill for that introduction. It’s wonderful to see so many friendly faces and to be together in the same room again. Thank you to Adam for inviting me to join you again.

There’s a lot going on in our country right now. So today, I want to take a moment to step back and take stock of where we are. I want to talk about where we’ve been in the past few years—and where I’m hoping we’ll go in the fights ahead.

If you take away one thing from this meeting, it’s that this moment is an historic opportunity for Massachusetts, and together we’re delivering much-needed investments in our communities.

So starting with where we’ve been. It’s been an historic few years with President Biden in the White House. 14 million jobs created. Over 150 diverse judges confirmed to the federal bench. A record 20 million people signed up for Obamacare in this year alone.

But here’s one number that I know you all will especially appreciate as local government leaders: in the past three years, Senator Markey and I—along with our fantastic partners in the House—have worked to secure nearly $8 billion in federal funding for infrastructure, public safety, research, transportation, and more for communities here in Massachusetts. 

This funding is only possible because of the work that you all put in to put together applications and advocate for your communities, and I can’t resist ticking through a few of the numbers:

We’ve gotten $185 million in federal funding to get affordable broadband to homes, schools, and businesses across the Commonwealth.

We’re investing in public transportation. $275 million for transit projects in Barnstable, Springfield, Worcester, and other cities and communities throughout the state.

After a long and hard fight, we’ve secured $372 million to replace the Sagamore Bridge—and we’ll keep on fighting until we get all the funding we need to finally replace the Cape Cod Bridges.

We’ve doubled down on our commitment to research and innovation, supporting the thousands of scientists who work in our Commonwealth’s great research institutions and bringing back nearly $12 million to UMass Lowell alone.

We’ve helped firefighters with over $270 million in federal funding.

Last year, we secured nearly $225 million in earmarks to support 160 community projects across Massachusetts. That funding went to Home Base and Massachusetts General Hospital for families of fallen veterans; to childcare for homeless families in Boston, to Cape Abilities’ work to support adults with significant disabilities—and so much more.

And we’ve done a lot to invest in a greener future.

More than $530 million for innovative battery manufacturing, recycling, and materials processing to two Massachusetts companies, 6K Inc. and Ascend Elements.

Over a dozen communities in the Commonwealth—from Berkshire to Springfield to Ware—getting federal grants to clean up polluted brownfields.

And just last week, grants from the EPA’s Clean School Bus program brought 85 new electric school buses to Boston, Fall River, New Bedford, and Worcester. That’s on top of the $30 million our communities have already gotten for electric school buses in the past year.

These wins were possible because of the Biden Administration’s historic run of legislation from the American Rescue Plan to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to the Inflation Reduction Act. And many of these wins came to Massachusetts because of Governor Healey’s new Federal Funds and Infrastructure Office, boosting the Commonwealth’s ability to compete for the historic federal funding made available under the Biden Administration. My commitment to you is that, for every day that I am your Senator, I will keep fighting for more federal investment for the communities you lead in Massachusetts.

So where do we go from here? There are so many things that I want to do for the people of Massachusetts, but I want to focus on two priorities today that I know are near and dear to your hearts: child care and housing.

During the pandemic, we secured more than $50 billion in child care relief funding. You all know: that was a game-changer for providers across Massachusetts. Providers were able to keep their doors open, and parents didn’t lose the child care they rely on to get to work.

But the vast majority of that funding expired at the end of September, and we’ve already seen classrooms forced to shutter across the country. Thanks to Governor Healey, the effects haven’t been disastrous in Massachusetts, and C-3 grants have continued to keep providers afloat. But we all know that child care providers are still woefully underfunded despite the critical work they do.

I often say, child care is infrastructure. It’s the work that makes all other work possible. Without roads, people can’t get to work. Without child care, parents don’t have a safe, reliable place to take their babies, so they can’t get to work. It’s long past time that we make big, bold investments in the child care industry.

So I’m pushing for two things.

In the short term, Congress must pass $16 billion in supplemental funding to ensure that providers can continue to receive the critical support they’ve relied on for the past few years.

And in the longer term, we need to make transformative investments in child care. That’s why I’ll keep fighting for universal child care.

I have a bill, the Child Care for Every Community Act, that would ensure that every parent can access high-quality, affordable child care. Under my bill, half of families nationwide won’t pay more than $10 a day—and all Americans would see their costs cut. My bill will also invest in child care workers to ensure they receive the benefits and wages they deserve.

It’s also long past time for us to tackle the country’s housing crisis. Nationally, we are at least 7 million units short of the homes we need to house our people. In Massachusetts, we need 300,000 new housing units for everyone to have a place to call home.

This crisis affects everybody. In the past few decades, housing prices have shot up, making home ownership an impossibility for too many families. Between 2020 and 2021, rent in the Commonwealth jumped a staggering 21%, while the average home sale price increased by nearly 30%.

But this isn’t a crisis that falls equally on everybody’s shoulders. Today, the gap between Black and white ownership is the same as it was during the Jim Crow era. Think about that for a moment. Fixing our country’s housing crisis isn’t just about giving everybody a home—it’s about correcting a legacy of racial discrimination, redlining, and predatory lending.

So what do we do about it? We need more housing—and of every kind. Housing for first-time homebuyers. Housing for renters. Housing for seniors. Housing for people with disabilities. Housing for students. Housing for people who have no homes. Housing for veterans. Housing for pretty much everyone who isn’t already rich and already a homeowner.

I’ve got a bill to do just that in Congress—and Governor Healey has one right here in the Commonwealth too. My pitch for our bills is simple: it’s about time we invested some serious money into tackling the housing crisis. My bill—the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act—would inject over $40 billion a year into the construction of affordable homes. Governor Healey has a $4 billion plan to jumpstart home building and make housing more affordable across Massachusetts. If we want to close our massive housing gap, we have to build more housing. It’s plain old econ 101.

I want to close by saying thank you. This work is hard. It can leave us a little bruised and beat up on some days. But one of the reasons I’m in this fight is because of you. I got into this work because I believe that government can be a force for good. And it’s you—our local leaders on the frontlines—who show that to our constituents every day. We have come a long way. We have a lot further to go. But with all of us in this fight, I am confident that we will build a better and brighter future for the people of Massachusetts together.

Thank you.


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