By Senator Lena C. Taylor
Without a doubt, this Christmas will be a lot better than last year. It may not have all the trappings of a typical celebration. Smaller family gatherings, fewer folks traveling, and trimmed down presents are to be expected. But there is one thing, most will agree with. Santa came early for many Americans. Instead of the North Pole, he left from the White House. And if you look real hard, he kind of resembles President Joe Biden.
No matter your political affiliation or voting status, you probably received a gift from Biden. Even if you were bad or good, there was more than coal left in your stocking. Understanding that the Commander in Chief doesn’t deserve all the credit, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge his Democratic Congressional elves. Together they provided presents that were useful, practical and life changing. While Santa comes just one day a year, Biden and his team of legislative helpers filled our year with one treat after another.
The Biden-Harris administration said it would take on COVID-19, competently and aggressively, basing its work in science and facts. It provided a vaccine distribution plan and worked to shore up America’s medical strategic stockpile. Children have returned to school and vaccines are available to them, and an antiviral pill has been created to treat COVID-19. Booster shots have been developed and in less than a month, Americans can order free COVId-19 testing kits at home. While acknowledging the remaining challenges, related to this deadly virus, you can’t overlook these gifts.
To deal with the looming financial crisis spurred by the health pandemic, Santa Biden and his merry Democratic team passed a $1.9 trillion COVID relief deal. The bill provided $1,400 stimulus checks, extended unemployment programs, added a $400 supplement, expanded the child tax credit by placing checks of up to $300 in parent’s hands for each child 17 and under, expanded ACA subsidies and helped pay two years’ worth of ACA coverage, and helped with COBRA payments for laid off workers.
Placed neatly under Christmas trees is funding for K-12 education, an increase to the federal minimum wage to $15/ hour by 2025, support for child care, emergency food assistance and payroll help for small businesses. Wrapping the tree like garland, are the dollars funneled to pay for rent, homelessness, mortgage and student loan assistance.
Finally, the big bow on top or shining lights are the more than 40 confirmed federal judges, a 4.2% unemployment rate, slashed poverty rates, a major infrastructure bill, improved global relations, and a reinstated degree of respectability on the world stage. Yeah, this is way better than Christmas last year.