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April 23 2021
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Oregon Leaders See Shift, Hope with Success of Stimulus Relief Bill
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Story by Saundra Sorenson - Story Source
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  Stimulus Relief Bill  
 
When Pres. Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Friday, he enacted what Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley called "one of the most progressive and transformative pieces of legislation since the New Deal."

The sweeping bill, also referred to as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, is centered on the idea that supporting survival expenses like housing, groceries and immediate bills is key to stimulating the economy.

The package allocates increased funds for food assistance, rent and mortgage relief, public health, education, COVID19 vaccinations and testing, restaurant and small business relief and direct payments to individuals.

"From my vantage point, the effort was designed to get the strongest possible set of benefits for Oregonians," Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, said during a press conference Friday.

"For jobless aid, for small businesses, for vaccinations. And this weekend sure would have looked different without this."

Taking on systemic problems The package is projected to benefit Americans of color, who have disproportionately suffered the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

American women, nearly three million of whom have dropped out of the workforce during the course of the pandemic, are also expected to find relief from the rescue plan's expanded social programs and childcare provisions.

"It's rebuilding America from the ground up -- from families and small businesses, up -- rather than from Wall Street down," Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley said during a press conference Friday.

He added, "The rescue plan will help us take on some of the systemic problems that have gone too long unaddressed in our country that have been laid bare for everyone to see.

Child poverty, unaffordable high costs of healthcare faced by too many middle-class Americans."