Georgia Congressional Democrats discuss COVID-19 relief bill – Decaturish
By Zoe Seiler, contributor
Washington DC – On March 10, the United States House of Representatives gave its final passage to the American bailout, a $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan that will provide stimulus checks of $ 1,400, will extend the improved unemployment benefits and will increase funding for vaccine distribution and schools.
Shortly before the vote 220-211, Democrats in Georgia held a press conference on Wednesday morning to share their enthusiasm for the bill and explain some features.
“It provides daylight, spring for the American people. We have gone through a long winter of an international pandemic, a global pandemic, and this country has been hit the hardest among the countries suffering from this pandemic, ”said Representative Hank Johnson, while noting that Georgia was one of the Hardest-hit states.
Lawmakers also expressed their gratitude to Georgians and said the passage of the relief bill was due to voters going to the polls in November and January and turning the state blue.
“I just want to thank God for Georgia,” Senator Raphael Warnock said. “The nation is in a very different place than it would be if Georgia had not stood up and made the historic decision to send Jon Ossoff and I to the United States Senate.”
The relief bill has two main elements: direct economic relief for the population and an investment in the fight against the coronavirus, Senator Jon Ossoff said.
The stimulus checks will go to most Americans, including children and, for the first time, dependent adults. The bill also increases the child tax credit, Ossoff said.
“This bill will invest in vaccine production and supplies so that every Georgian has access to the COVID-19 vaccine for free by mid-summer, if not before,” Ossoff said.
Johnson added that a total of $ 130 billion will go towards reopening schools and a total of $ 350 billion is allocated to state and local governments across the United States to ensure frontline workers are employed and paid.
Of these total amounts, Georgia is expected to receive $ 4.5 billion to safely reopen public schools and more than $ 8 billion will go to state and local governments. Aid will go directly to cities of less than 500,000 inhabitants, Ossoff said.
The three counties of Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District will receive $ 700 million to provide resources for teachers, staff and students to return safely to classrooms, said Representative Lucy McBath.
The legislation further expands access to safe and reliable child care and saves the child care system by providing the state with more than $ 1.5 billion through the Block Child Care Grant. ‘child and caregiver development and financial relief for families, said Representative Nikema Williams.
“The US bailout includes more than $ 26 million for Georgians and critical funding for a head start by providing $ 1 billion for a head start to equip the facilities with the resources to stay open in safe through PPE, technology and hiring more staff, and also ensuring that families can continue to access quality early learning opportunities that we all know are so vital, ”he said. she adds.
The US bailout includes $ 2 billion for the state to expand Medicaid. Georgia is currently one of 12 states that have not done so. The scaling up of Medicaid has been the center of Warnock’s attention throughout his campaign and it’s something he has been advocating for years.
“My position was that we couldn’t afford not to expand Medicaid,” Warnock said. “And so I hope our leadership at the state level now intensifies, refuses to leave $ 2 billion on the table, expand Medicaid, and pull 500,000 Georgians out of the Medicaid gap.”
Warnock has also worked to push forward the Farmers of Color Emergency Relief Act, as part of the stimulus package, which will provide $ 5 billion in debt relief to farmers of color.
“One of the things COVID-19 has done is that it has illuminated and exacerbated long-standing disparities,” Warnock said. “We have all been affected by this pandemic, but communities of color have been disproportionately affected by the number of deaths and the amount of debt. So this part of the bill addresses this problem. “
Johnson agreed and added that the pandemic has exposed systemic racism in the country.
“It has manifested itself disproportionately in the disease and death of blacks and browns and even now with the rollout of the vaccine, which brings daylight and spring to America, we are still below the numbers. vaccinated, ”Johnson said.
Overall, the stimulus package will greatly help the Georgian people, Ossoff said.
“This is an economic stimulus from the bottom up and from the middle, not from the top down,” Ossoff said. “It stimulates and recovers economically by bringing aid directly to working and middle class people and investing in the public health effort to defeat COVID-19. ”
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