This time final yr, the USA was making outstanding strides to higher perceive and shield in opposition to the COVID-19 virus. The vaccination program was underway and financial exercise was enhancing, but many sectors of the financial system have been displaying indicators that extra assist was wanted.
The nationwide unemployment charge fell from its excessive of 14.7% to about 6%, by comparability, it was at 3.5% in February 2020. Jobless claims remained excessive with 4.7 million Individuals submitting for unemployment advantages. Right here in Colorado, roughly 428,000 individuals examined optimistic with COVID-19 with almost 23,500 individuals hospitalized. At the moment, 5,900 Coloradans had died from the virus – a quantity which might tragically double time beyond regulation. Our district places of work have been flooded with calls and casework starting from unemployment and small enterprise points to requests for rental and housing help.
When the pandemic started, some analysts predicted a worldwide recession with numerous bankruptcies, unprecedented office disruptions, elevated poverty, and extra. To stop the worst-case situation, Congress — led by Democrats — took motion.
The COVID-19 aid packages handed by Congress in 2020 supplied rapid aid within the early and unsure days of the pandemic. As we approached the second yr of the pandemic, it was clear the U.S. financial system was enhancing however removed from totally recovered. This was significantly true for the employees, households and companies most adversely affected by the pandemic.
And whereas photographs have been moving into arms, our vaccine program wanted to be considerably accelerated and expanded. The American Rescue Plan was essential to carry focused and significant help for our financial system, stabilize our well being care system, and broaden the supply of secure and efficient vaccines to all. It was precisely what Individuals and our financial system wanted to rebound.
Like a lot of our response to COVID-19, Congress knew we wanted to focus our restoration on the native and state stage. We pushed laborious to supply versatile and strong funding for our native communities. The funding helped guarantee important and primary companies may proceed, supported native public well being companies, backfilled misplaced income, and ensured an equitable restoration for all Coloradans.
In Could, Colorado cities and counties will obtain their second spherical of funding from the American Rescue Plan which can assist enhance psychological well being companies, deal with housing and homelessness points, help companies, spend money on native infrastructure wants, and assist native public well being companies put together for the subsequent problem.
After reviewing the Paycheck Safety Program and different SBA packages from the preliminary COVID-19 aid packages, the American Rescue Plan established the invaluable Restaurant Revitalization Fund and Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program to assist Colorado’s hardest-hit bars, eating places, and live performance venues. Greater than $231 million in grants have been supplied to small companies in Colorado, serving to hundreds of our native companies from closing their doorways for good.
A yr in the past, Ok-12 and better schooling establishments have been combating how you can hold faculties open and educate their college students safely. The American Rescue Plan supplied one of many largest one-time infusions of faculty funding to supply direct monetary help to at-risk college students and hold college students and college secure by enhancing air flow techniques, supplying COVID-19 assessments, and different well being care companies. Right here in Colorado, this helped faculties like Pikes Peak Group Faculty, Pueblo Group Faculty, Metro State and CU Colorado Springs. Households additionally acquired an inflow of money with one other spherical of Financial Affect Funds and an expanded and refundable Little one Tax Credit score. Coloradans acquired extra help by prolonged unemployment insurance coverage, housing help, and expanded entry to childcare and inexpensive well being care.
The American Rescue Plan was the start of an unprecedented funding in our state’s infrastructure. Simply this week, it was introduced the Regional Transportation District (RTD) was awarded a $53 million grant from the American Rescue Plan to reinstate a lot of its pre-pandemic service which is important for Coloradans within the Denver Metro space. The bipartisan infrastructure invoice signed into regulation on the finish of 2021 constructed upon many of those American Rescue Plan investments to create stronger, extra resilient communities right here in Colorado and throughout the nation.
As we’ve all realized these final two years, a once-in-a-generation pandemic has the flexibility to close down companies and companies, halt worldwide journey, disrupt provide chains, and make the worldwide financial system go a little bit haywire. These disruptions and rising prices have put a squeeze on many hardworking Coloradans, however we aren’t coping with these challenges alone. Sixty-four different international locations are seeing even larger inflation than the U.S.
We handed the America COMPETES Act to shore up our provide chain and deal with inflation by ensuring the products we use day by day are manufactured right here in the USA. We stay dedicated to addressing these points and can search for extra methods to decrease prices for Coloradans.
The power and resilience of Coloradans over the previous two years has been unbelievable, and we’re grateful for Governor Polis’ management and partnership in navigating our state by this troublesome time. The American Rescue Plan and different motion taken by congressional Democrats and President Biden has enabled Colorado and states throughout the nation to emerge stronger and extra resilient as we stay up for a brighter, more healthy future.
U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter, Diana DeGette, Jason Crow and Joe Neguse are the Democrats elected to symbolize Colorado in Congress.