‘Long overdue’: Charlie Crist applauds passage of COVID-19 relief package
Image via AP.

Charlie Crist and Joe Biden
After the bill's narrow Senate victory it is up for final congressional approval by the House next week, then onto Biden to sign. 

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is applauding the passage of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion virus relief package by Senate Democrats, calling the move “long overdue.”

“Under President Biden’s leadership, the United States Senate passed the American Rescue Plan,” Crist said in a statement. “I am confident that the People’s House will act quickly to send the historic measure to the President’s desk — on budget and ahead of schedule.”

The Democrat’s tone is in stark contrast to a statement released earlier by Republican Sen. Rick Scott, who said in a statement the package “was never about helping the American people.”

Senators approved the package on a 50-49 party-line vote. Vice President Kamala Harris‘ tiebreaking vote wasn’t needed because Sen. Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican, wasn’t on hand to vote with his party.

“So many Floridians have gotten used to all talk and no action from Washington. I can’t blame them. For too long, we’ve had too many self-serving politicians and not enough public servants who know that the people are their boss,” Crist said in a statement. “Those days are done. The American Rescue Plan is an unmistakable signal that we finally have a President and majorities in Congress that are on the side of the people: your jobs, your health, your kids’ school and your kitchen table.

After the bill’s narrow Senate victory it is up for final congressional approval by the House next week so lawmakers can hand it to Biden to sign.

The American Rescue Plan will provide $1,400 checks for most Americans, and direct billions of dollars to schools, state and local governments, as well as businesses.

The administration estimates that 158.5 million households will still receive checks under the Senate compromise, according to The Associated Press.

In a statement released by Crist, the Congressman says the average Florida family of four will receive $7,600 via stimulus checks from the bill. Crist also said the plan will lift half of Florida children out of poverty by expanding and improving the Child Tax Credit, and making it available in a $250 monthly check.

In addition to the stimulus checks, the legislation will distribute $350 billion to state and local governments and tribal governments for costs incurred up until the end of 2024, according to The Associated Press. It would also send about $130 billion in additional help to schools for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. And, a new program for restaurants and bars hurt by the pandemic would receive $25 billion.

The bill also provides $46 billion to expand federal, state and local testing for COVID-19 and to enhance vaccine rollout.

As far as Pinellas County, the Congressman’s delegation, schools will receive $180 million in federal support from the bill.

“The American Rescue Plan is about shots and checks, and so much more,” Crist said. “It’s long overdue, but help is on the way.”

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


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