Monitoring Infrastructure and Announcing Legislative Wins
This week, I monitored the progress of the infrastructure package and announced several legislative wins in the bipartisan infrastructure framework that passed in the Senate. I introduced bipartisan legislation to expand educational opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals at HBCUs. I called attention to the second round of monthly child tax credits and provided an update about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Lastly, I offered a health tip and an opportunity to receive Biden-Harris inauguration memorabilia in a lottery-type drawing. Keep reading and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what I’m doing as it happens.
Infrastructure legislation continues to work its way through Congress. This week, the Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure framework, known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and approved the budget resolution that outlines $3.5 trillion in Budget Reconciliation instructions to enact President Biden and Congressional Democrats’ Build Back Better agenda. I am pleased several bills I authored to make our roads safer for all users were passed as part of the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure framework. Although the Senate’s bill does not go as far as the INVEST in America Act passed earlier this year in the House, I hope the Senate will pass the larger $3.5 trillion infrastructure package through reconciliation in order to make a once-in-a-generation investment in a greener, fairer and more prosperous future. I look forward to reviewing both measures when they are considered by the House of Representatives. See my statement about the passage of the Senate bill here.
Today, I introduced the Shift Back to Society Act with Representatives French Hill, Terri Sewell and Mike Turner. This bipartisan legislation would establish a five-year grant pilot program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to provide educational programming for formerly incarcerated people. To reduce recidivism and allow those who have returned from prison to fulfill their potential, we must remove unnecessary barriers and expand educational opportunities. By expanding access to education at HBCUs, this bill will provide people with opportunities to not only survive but thrive after leaving prison. See my release on the bill here.
Starting today, I would like to encourage those of you who have children to be on the lookout for the second advance monthly payment of the newly enhanced Child Tax Credit. As you may know, President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which I was proud to support, expanded the Child Tax Credit to provide up to $3,600 for children under the age of 6 and $3,000 for children under the age of 18. The bill also allowed the tax credit to be paid monthly. The first payments were distributed on July 15th. Today the second round of monthly payments will begin going out. Your family could receive up to $300 per month for children under the age of six and $250 per month for older children. In July alone, the monthly Child Tax Credit payments pumped an estimated $18.6 billion into local economies. It is estimated that $400 million was added to Tennessee’s economy and the same amount will continue to be added each month. See my release on this study here.
A majority of families should have received the monthly payment automatically, with no further action required. If you have not received the tax credit and believe you are eligible, please use the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to check on the status of your payment. You can also update information such income, number of children, and marital status in order to ensure you receive the correct advance payments.
I have been closely monitoring Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance programs such as the EIDL program, which helps small businesses meet financial obligations and operating expenses that they would not have otherwise missed if not for the pandemic. The SBA recently announced they cleared a massive backlog of EIDL applications. If you own a small business and applied for an EIDL, please keep an eye out for an update on your application. The SBA is also urging small business owners who originally received a rejection, to apply for reconsideration, as they now have the capacity to re-review applications. If you have not applied for an EIDL, but believe you qualify, then please be aware that the program has funding available, and I encourage you to apply. You can find more information on the EIDL program here. If you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (901) 544-4131.
Offering Biden-Harris Inauguration Memorabilia
As I noted in this newsletter a couple weeks ago, far fewer people than is normal were able to attend this year’s historic inauguration of a new President and Vice President. As a result, many of the printed programs, tickets, invitations and other memorabilia associated with the Biden-Harris inauguration are still available, and I would like to put them in good hands via a raffle. I ask constituents to make your request using the survey below and someone from my office will be in contact if you are a winner. If you previously submitted an entry, there is no need to or advantage in resubmitting.
Would you like to enter for an opportunity to receive inauguration memorabilia?
The situation with the Delta variant of the coronavirus has me increasingly concerned for my constituents who have not yet been vaccinated, especially children who are too young to receive the vaccine. We are seeing much higher transmissibility rates and hospitalizations in Memphis, including among younger and healthy people. In Tennessee, over 99 percent of hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated. These infections and deaths could be prevented by a simple shot, which is the best way to protect yourself and your community from the virus, including the Delta variant.
To find the latest information about vaccination sites, to request a vaccination appointment for a homebound individual, or to set up a community COVID vaccination event, visit https://covid19.memphistn.gov/. If you need a ride to a vaccination site, you can call 901-RIDE901 (901-743-3901) to coordinate the best transportation option for you. The Pipkin Building vaccination center at the old Mid-South Fairgrounds is open through the end of August, and the City of Memphis is also now coordinating with organizations, congregations, community groups, and businesses to host COVID-19 vaccinations.
“You know, we’re poised once again — and I mean this in a literal sense — to make the same kind of historic investments that have so often made possible — made it possible for America to build the future and allow us to outcompete the rest of the world,” said President Joe Biden following the Senate passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Investment Act.
As always, I remain.
Member of Congress