Relief for the country and Georgia: the potential package via Schumer, Ossoff, and Warnock
On Friday, February 12th (2021), the press conference held by Majority Leader (and Senator) Chuck Schumer, along with newly elected Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, provides insight on the work taking place given the now-normal (created mainly by the pandemic). During our invitation to cover the press conference (virtually/live), the focus is on health and related relief. The goal of the potential $1.9 trillion package is to have a long-lasting impact in getting a number of immediate areas of concern addressed with improved problem-solving efforts.
Senator Schumer opens the press conference acknowledging the efforts of his fellow senators (Ossoff and Warnock), as well as the efforts of Georgia voters. He emphasizes without robust action, recovery would be a long and painful process, especially given the effects of the most severe pandemic in a century and financially, the Great Depression.
Senator Ossoff's remarks echo similar sentiments. His statements reference additional funding for Medicaid expansion (in Georgia), and addressing a number of related concerns with fighting Covid, including the need to ramp up efforts for distribution of vaccines.
Providing relief is the operative theme for Senator Warnock (click HERE to refer to our coverage of his press conference earlier this week). Ranging from mandates to better address the current public health crisis to helping people get back on their feet, taking bold and strategic action is the order of the day. He and Senator Ossoff note the additional 5% allocated for Georgia (as it relates to FMAP and the related need to expand Medicaid) should provide more than enough incentive and support to do the right thing as it relates to public health.
The following are key focus areas of the current proposal/package:
The current proposal is a $1.9 trillion package.
$20 billion is earmarked for vaccine procurement (this is for the entire country to enhance efforts for distribution and access).
$2 billion is earmarked to expand Medicaid and related expansion (as efforts in Georgia have been lagging behind relative to other states).
$4 billion is earmarked for resources for K-12 personnel.
Additional financial resources for equity funding (specifically for HBCU's - Historically Black Colleges and Universities) are provided.
$5 billion is earmarked for debt relief, with specific allocations for Black farmers displaced due to discrimination in funding access and related practices.
Additional measures for rental and mortgage assistance.
$9 billion is allocated for further assistance for essential workers.
Even in the midst of related areas concerning the impeachment trial and cabinet confirmation, Majority Leader Schumer notes their goal of being on track and task with these matters and importance of Covid relief., along with the broad support from the Democratic caucus for their proposed relief package. All note it's hard not to see the gravity of things taking place within these and related areas of concern, so acting swiftly and soundly is of the utmost importance.
The pending actions at this juncture include the larger discussions (and negotiation) within Congress, structuring, and implementation.