May 07, 2021

American Rescue Plan: Help is Here

By Rep. Lawson

For more than a year, the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis have devastated North Florida’s families and small businesses. I’ve witnessed lines of cars waiting hours to pick up food at local pantries and my Farm Share events. I’ve spoken to business owners who weren’t sure how to keep staff on payroll and their doors open. I have mourned with families who have lost loved ones and others struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

Through the recently passed American Rescue Plan, our community is finally receiving the help it desperately needs. I believe the plan is the first step in putting us back on track to normalcy. For the first time in a year, the GDP shows growth in the first quarter, adding nearly 1 million jobs in March -- proof the American Rescue Plan is working.

We are working to vaccinate as many people as possible, provide direct assistance to everyday Floridians, ensure businesses can reopen, and lay the foundation to revive the economy and create prosperity and opportunity for all.

The Centers for Disease Control reports more than 230 million vaccines have administered doses, with over 95 million Americans fully vaccinated. These numbers prove we are heading in the right direction, and if we continue this path and follow science, COVID-19 will be soundly in our rearview mirrors.  

Despite no Florida Republicans – U.S. House or Senate – voting in favor of the American Rescue PlanFlorida residents, businesses, frontline workers, schools, and first responders are seeing huge benefits from the package. The American Rescue Plan funds will give teachers, police officers, nurses, firefighters, correctional officers, and emergency medical technicians $1,000 bonuses. Our frontline heroes are owed a debt of gratitude for their work throughout the pandemic. 

The State of Florida is receiving $10.2 billion in funds. This is the fourth-largest allotment in the nation. It includes several priorities I worked to secure, including extended federal unemployment aid for laid-off workers, an expanded child tax credit that will be paid monthly, lowered health care premiums, and economic impact payments of up to $1,400 per person. A stunning 93.5% of children in my district will benefit from the expanded and improved Child Tax Credit. It will lift children in the area out of poverty which is fantastic news. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan includes more than $7 billion in funding for Florida’s K-12 schools.

I pledged real relief to the people and small businesses who need it most, and I believe our work is making good on that promise. 

In March, I had the honor to welcome Vice President Kamala Harris to our great state for the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Help Is Here” tour. We had the opportunity to discuss Florida’s vaccination outreach and the nation’s hunger crisis. 

I conveyed to the Vice President that one of my most significant concerns when schools closed during the pandemic was how our children who receive free and reduced lunches would eat. Sadly, schools in my district where 100 percent of the students are on free meal programs. 

Since that visit, the Administration announced expanding the USDA Pandemic EBT program to feed as many as 34 million schoolchildren during the summer months. Families of eligible children would receive $6.82 per child for each weekday. That adds up to $375 per child over the summer months. We need to recognize that food insecurity affects our children, our families, and our communities. 

I understand the burden COVID-19 has placed on our community, but I want you to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. As we continue to fight this pandemic, I remain committed to seeking and securing funding for the resources necessary to protect the lives and preserve the livelihoods of the people of North Florida.