San Diego lawmakers spell out spending in national COVID-19 relief bill
Rep. Sara Jacobs and other delegates said money will go to small businesses, restaurants, vaccine production, COVID-19 testing and more
By Deborah Sullivan Brennan | San Diego Union-Tribune, March 5, 2021
San Diego —
Federal COVID-19 relief funding could jump-start struggling businesses and restaurants and fuel a wartime production effort to manufacture vaccines, local congressional delegates said at a press conference in San Diego on Friday.
Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-San Diego) organized the event at Veterans Village with several other lawmakers, nonprofit executives and business owners, to discuss the American Rescue Plan legislation. Congress passed the $1.9 trillion aid package Saturday, and the Senate is expected to vote on it later this month.
The bill would dedicate $20 billion toward a nationwide vaccine program and $130 billion to reopening schools, Jacobs said.
It also would cut $1,400 relief checks for people in need, extend unemployment benefits, expand the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses make payroll, and deliver funds to local governments.
And it would contribute $40 billion toward childcare and extend the child tax credit, in an effort to cut childhood poverty in half. Those benefits could help restore the San Diego economy, including small businesses that have struggled through the pandemic, Jacobs said.
“We have families struggling to balance child care and work, women being pushed out of the workforce at alarmingly high rates,” Jacobs said. “Healthcare, front line workers, and non-profits stretch beyond capacity to serve the community while worrying about their own health and safety. And our Black and Latino communities hit especially hard.”
Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) added that the bill would support the dining and hospitality industry, hit hard in San Diego, with $25 million for a restaurant revitalization fund.
He also said smaller cities in North County and elsewhere in the county would receive direct assistance through the bill, with $33.4 million slated for Oceanside, $26.6 million directed to Vista and $13.3, million going to Carlsbad.
“This funding is desperately needed to keep our cities moving forward in a positive direction, and to keep their employees, particularly their front-line workers, on the job,” he said.
Rep. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) said the legislation also allocates $10 billion to ramp up manufacturing. It would include $4 billion to build up state-of-the-art production facilities to produce 100 million vaccine doses per month, and $1 billion to stockpile raw materials and supplies needed to manufacture vaccines in the U.S.
The bill also would add $3 billion to expand domestic production of personal protective equipment, such as N95 masks, and $2 billion to boost U.S. production of COVID-19 test kits, Vargas said.
Another $1.75 billion would allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase genomic testing of virus samples, said Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego.)
“We have to survey at least 15 percent of cases to better capture and understand the new and emerging variants,” Peters said. “Genomic sequencing can help us understand how the virus is spreading, and if the vaccines and therapeutics we’ve developed will continue to be effective.”
Jacobs said spending outlined in the plan could rebuild the U.S. economy over the next year and create 7.5 million jobs in 2021.
“And let’s be clear, this isn’t about going back to the way things were, which for too many families wasn’t working,” she said. “It’s about reimagining and building a new normal, where every family has dignity and opportunity, and our economy actually works for everyone.”+ to read full article click here