Congresswoman Val Demings and President Doromal Advocate for Vaccines & American Rescue Plan

March 2021

American Rescue Plan -Advocating for Vaccines

val demings

Message From President Doromal

Last Friday, on American Rescue Plan Day of Action, I was asked to join U.S. Congresswoman Val Demings and other community leaders who have been advocating for the passage of the American Rescue Plan and an expedited vaccine schedule. My remarks are below:

It is an honor to be here today with U.S. Congresswoman Val Demings and each of you who have advocated for all citizens to get a shot in the arm, and for our country to get a shot in the arm through the COVID-19 aid and stimulus package - the American Rescue Plan.

As the President of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, I understand the challenges and anxiety that the 14,300 teachers in Orange County have faced this year as they struggled to make the impossible possible during this pandemic.  In a world that is anything but normal, teachers find a way to make normal happen for their students. That is who educators are. That is what they do, no matter the circumstances, no matter the obstacles.  But they need and deserve support - the support that will come from the passage of the American Rescue Plan and vaccinations.

Under President Biden’s leadership we see the promise to provide what we have been advocating for – vaccines for every teacher and safe reopening of schools. The American Rescue Plan will provide immediate aid to ensure that schools can fully open safely and quickly; so students can be provided with remedial tutoring; and families who lost their jobs can feed their families, pay their bills and have a place to live.  The plan will provide funds to replace old ventilations systems and make other essential improvements to school buildings. The plan will provide for more essential COVID-19 testing and the availability of more vaccinations.

In our school district, as the governor required more students to return to face-to-face classes, teachers with ADA accommodations have been called back from teaching virtually to teach face-to-face classes. They have been told if they will not  teach face-to-face, they must resign or take long-term leave. They know CDC guidelines and social distances can be impossible to follow. Thousands of teachers have left the profession because they would not risk their health or their a family member’s health to teach face-to-face classes. With the passage of the American Rescue plan and with vaccines now available to every teacher - thanks to President Biden and our friends in Congress - we may see some of these experienced and devoted teachers return.

Yesterday when it was announced that vaccines are now available to any Florida educator at this FEMA site and other places, we saw teachers come to get vaccinated and crying with relief. Thank you to everyone who made this possible. Thank you Congresswoman Demings,  Lt. Colonel Troy Fisher, the FEMA officials and every national guard member here today. We see you as angels.

Finally, despite what the Florida Department of Health and our school district leaders claim, we know that there is in-school spread. Many teachers and students have gotten COVID-19 from exposure at their schools. I want to ask you to keep in your hearts and prayers the educators, students and community members who are suffering from the virus, who are hospitalized, and those who are suffering from long-term effects of COVID.  

American Rescue Plan

On Saturday the American Rescue Plan passed the Senate.  It will be back in the House on Tuesday and hopefully, may be signed into law next week.

This bill will provide:

  • $350 billion to state and local governments to help cash-strapped state, local and town operations. The majority of this money will prevent mass layoffs of safety officers, EMTs and other essential public workers.
  • $170 billion to help schools and colleges open safely and address the academic, socioemotional and mental health needs of our nation's students, including:
  • $126 billion to public K12 schools, including funding specifically to address learning loss, and $40 billion to higher education institutions, with at least 50 percent required to be allocated to emergency financial aid to students.
  • $1,400 in direct payments to the vast majority of Americans.
  • $300 per week in enhanced unemployment insurance benefits through September 6, 2021, coupled with tax relief ensuring that for most recipients, up to $10,200 are not subject to federal income taxes.
  • $14 billion to speed vaccine distribution and save lives.
  • $49 billion for COVID 19 testing, tracing, and research.
  • $24 billion for Community Health Centers, rural healthcare providers and a public health workforce.
  • $140 million to support mental health and decrease burnout of healthcare professionals.
  • Lower health insurance premiums for millions who buy insurance through the ACA marketplace.
  • 100 percent subsidies for continuation of job-based health coverage (COBRA) for those who have lost employer-sponsored healthcare.
  • $40 billion to stabilize childcare and the childcare workforce
  • $7.1 billion in E-Rate funding to expand broadband access.
  • $100 million for emergency assistance for rural housing.
  • Stabilization funding for distressed multi-employer pensions, and improvements to single employer pension plans.
  • Extends credits to public sector employers that voluntarily offer emergency paid sick leave and family leave benefits.
  • Expands and improves the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.