From a global pandemic and wildfires to near economic collapse and racial injustice, the past year has been incredibly hard on Oregonians. The pressures and crosscurrents of so many events hurtling toward us have at times been more than we can comprehend or bear.
As someone who has been an elected policymaker virtually my entire adult life, I know the feeling. I’ve devoted my career to solving problems by listening to people, and working with them to create solutions, then enacting these solutions into law, and ensuring they work.
This year, in the face of continued pain and suffering, it was clear to me that only a comprehensive and historic relief package would meet this moment. After months of work, and an election that finally changed our political realities, we are well on our way.
Earlier today, the House of Representatives sent the American Rescue Plan to President Biden for his signature. This is one of the biggest relief packages in history that will deliver unprecedented relief to American workers and families. =
I’m immensely proud of the resources and support that this legislation provides to crush the virus, get money to working families, put vaccines in people’s arms, and give local communities the funds needed to keep schools, hospitals, and other critical services up and running.
With additional direct cash payments, food and rental assistance programs, and extended unemployment benefits, this legislation will boost incomes of the bottom 20 percent of Americans by 33 percent, lifting nearly 13 million people out of poverty.
Even more staggering, it will cut child poverty rates in half through an enhanced child tax credit plan which I fought to include through my position on the Ways and Means Committee.
In order to speed-up the vaccine rollout in Oregon and across the country, our legislation provides over $20 billion to establish a national COVID-19 vaccination program. This will help us get shots in people’s arms (and fast).
Our legislation will also tackle our racial wealth gap. A new study today from the Urban Institute found that poverty will fall about 42 percent for Black people and 39 percent for Hispanic people.
Additionally, Black and other minority farmers, who have lost 90 percent of their land over the past century due to a combination of systemic racism, biased government policy, and social and business, will receive $5 billion in assistance.
I’m particularly proud that my legislation to provide $28.6 billion to local restaurants across the county is about to become law. This will be the difference between survival for some of our most cherished local restaurants and losing them forever.
There are countless additional provisions that will help ensure struggling families, workers, and small businesses get the help they need.
While much more work remains, I see a ray of light emerging with the historic passage of the American Rescue Plan.
In the coming days and weeks, more information will soon be available about how this legislation will help you and your family. Please remember, we are here to help.