America’s Rescue Takes A Major Step Forward on the Long Road Ahead

Last week, Congress acted to produce one of the most significant pieces of legislation in our country’s history. The American Rescue Plan invests $1.88 trillion in American families as the work continues to defeat the COVID-19 virus and get our nation back on track.


If Democrats hadn’t injected a “booster shot” in the economy with this COVID relief package, this past weekend and all the days ahead would’ve looked starkly different for Oregonians thrown out of work through no fault of their own and facing the grim prospect of expiring benefits.


My goal throughout this process was to secure the strongest possible package for jobless workers that could pass the Senate.


I was especially proud during a Zoom conversation with Oregonians to hear how extending unemployment benefits through September with $300 extra for the 180,000 or so Oregonians trying to weather this pandemic will help. Read more about the AmericanRescue Plan here  and how it also includes direct payments of $1400, bringing more than $4.9 billion to nearly 2 million Oregon households.


One year into this devastating crisis, it’s clear much work lies ahead.


While at home in Southeast Portland, I had the opportunity to reflect in the sunny weather about how only a month ago, 400,000 homes and businesses throughout the Willamette Valley had gone dark during an ice and snow storm in the largest power outage Oregon has ever experienced. In the sunny March weather, I reflected on that icy homecoming, and that I had introduced the Disaster Safe Power Grid Act on the Senate Floor. 


As climate change continues to make our weather more unpredictable and dangerous, America simply must make our aging power grid more resilient. Oregonians are counting on the federal government to invest in infrastructure that will keep them safe and connected to their work and their loved ones--especially during a global pandemic. See more of my thoughts on ways we can improve Oregon’s power grid here.


I also went to Astoria for an online town hall with Clatsop County residents -- thanks to the Astorian for its space, time, and bandwidth -- and later met fishing guide Bob Rees over at Buoy Beer Company. On a gorgeous Saturday, masked Oregonians flocked around downtown, excited to take advantage of the sunny weather for some beer on the Columbia. From my visit with Bob, it was clear that the PPP and PUA programs were key to keeping his business afloat. The American Rescue Plan will only continue to support his business and others just like it as we move through the homestretch of this pandemic.


I’ll leave all of you with this closing thought: collaboration is the Oregon Way, and thus by extension, it is also the Oregon Way to care for each other--to put out your neighbor’s house fire without quibbling over the cost of the garden hose. As we see the light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic, we cannot forget to care for each other on the long road toward recovery. 

The American Rescue Plan is a vital first step, but, rest assured, I’m up for the challenge and with you for the long haul.