Today, President Biden's $1.9 trillion "American Rescue Plan Act of 2021" passed the House of Representatives. He will sign the bill into law on Friday.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is pleased with the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, which will provide much needed support to zoos and aquariums. In response to its passage, Dan Ashe, President and CEO, released the following statement:
Zoos and aquariums have continued to operate during the pandemic despite extremely reduced revenues. Animal care has not suffered, but AZA-accredited facilities, like many segments of our economy, need help. The American Rescue Plan Act will provide:
$30 million for care of captive species listed under the Endangered Species Act, rescued and confiscated wildlife, and federal trust species in facilities that lost revenues due to COVID–19;
An additional $1.25 billion for the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant Program;
An additional $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program; and
$350 billion for state, territorial, tribal, and local governments.
These provisions will provide additional avenues for financial support to many zoos and aquariums. In particular, the $30 million in the bill for the care of captive endangered and threatened species is very important. This funding recognizes the essential work that zoos and aquariums do, in partnership with the federal government, to save species.
On behalf of our members, we would like to thank Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, Representative Velazquez, Senator Cardin, Representative Grijalva, Senator Carper, Representative Pingree, and Senator Merkley for their tireless advocacy on behalf of zoos and aquariums. We look forward to President Biden quickly signing this critical legislation.