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Barbara Lee

Historic Child Tax Credit Will Start Delivering Checks to East Bay Families in July, Barbara Lee says

The expanded Child Tax Credit will provide $3,000 for children ages 6-17 and $3,600 for children under 6. For the first time, families can receive the credit in monthly payments starting in July. Nearly all working families are eligible for the payments, even those who have not filed tax returns.

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Photo Courtesy of Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

On Monday, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) began to urge East Bay families to apply for the new Child Tax Credit – a provision of the American Rescue Plan that will start delivering checks to eligible families as soon as next month.

Congresswoman Lee held a press conference Monday at the Unity Council at 1900 Fruitvale Ave., in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood to provide information about the tax credit and the application process.

“Even before the pandemic, 2 out of 5 people in this country – about 140 million of us – were poor or low-income, just $400 or less away from financial ruin,” Congresswoman Lee said. “It doesn’t have to be this way. Poverty is a policy choice, and we can choose to end it. This historic tax credit is one step towards dismantling poverty in America and ensuring the basic needs of all children are met.”

The expanded Child Tax Credit will provide $3,000 for children ages 6-17 and $3,600 for children under 6. For the first time, families can receive the credit in monthly payments starting in July. Nearly all working families are eligible for the payments, even those who have not filed tax returns.

Experts say the tax credit could lift more than 5 million children out of poverty and cut childhood poverty in America in half – if low-income families who don’t usually file tax returns are aware of the credit and apply. Eligible families that already filed returns for 2019 or 2020 will automatically get the credit. However, more than 3 million children live in households that are at risk of missing out on the payments if they don’t apply.

Parents can sign up at ChildTaxCredit.gov. The site will ask for social security numbers for the parents and children, a reliable mailing address, and an email address.

In Lee’s East Bay district, an estimated 108,600 children stand to benefit from the tax credit. Congresswoman Lee’s press conference is part of a national Child Tax Credit Awareness Day announced by the White House to spread the word about the tax credit and encourage families to apply.

Alex Katz is a communications director in Rep. Barbara Lee’s press office.

Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Celebrates Birthday at Mills College

Lee’s celebration took place at Mills College Student Union, where, in part, Lee’s political career began.

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Maurice Arnold with Rep. Barbara Lee at a birthday party on the Mills College campus.

On July 24, Congresswoman Barbara Lee returned to her alma mater, Mills College, for a dual engagement.  As the guest of honor, she conducted a local meet-and-greet among special guests, friends and supporters and she also belatedly celebrated her belated, which was on July 6.

Mills College Lokey School of Business and Public Policy hosted the event for Lee.  The   special guests included Oakland’s Councilmember Treva Reid, District 7; BART Boardmember, Lateefah Simon, District 7, Candidate Mia Bonta, AD-18, Post Newspaper Group Publisher Paul Cobb and many more.

Lee’s celebration took place at Mills College Student Union, where, in part, Lee’s political career began.  Her political future was decisively shaped when she took a government course that required her to participate in a presidential campaign. “I invited Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress, to speak at Mills, and learned that she was running for president,” Lee recalls. “I helped organize her Northern California campaign, and I registered to vote for the first time . . . and the rest is history.”

Whether standing alone as the sole congressional vote against a blank check for endless war, authoring legislation on ending the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, or representing the U.S. House of Representatives in the United Nations General Assembly, Lee carries her Mills education with her. “Mills instilled me with the confidence I needed to achieve my goals,” she says.

Accordingly, we say happy belated birthday and much success to Team Barbara.

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Barbara Lee

Barbara Lee Applauds 2nd Round of Workforce Funding from COVID Community Care Act Legislation

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) applauded the announcement that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will be awarding $121 million to 127 award recipients of the Local Community-Based Workforce to Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Access Program.

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Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) applauded the announcement that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will be awarding $121 million to 127 award recipients of the Local Community-Based Workforce to Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Access Program.

Announced on July 27, these awards are funded with resources from provisions within the American Rescue Plan Act that Lee led through her COVID Community Care Act.  This reflects the second of two funding opportunities announced in May 2021 for community-based efforts to hire and mobilize community outreach workers, community health workers, social support specialists, and others to increase vaccine access for the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities through high-touch, on-the-ground outreach to educate and assist individuals in getting the information they need about vaccinations.

The first round of funding, which was administered in June, included an $11 million award to the Public Health Institute in Oakland and a $9.5 million award to the Association of Asian/Pacific Community Health Organizations in Berkeley. Three Oakland based organizations, the Public Health Institute, Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases, and Safe Passages, are recipients of this round of funding, bringing the total funding brought to organizations in CA-13 to nearly $23 million.

“We are facing another inflection point in this pandemic. We must make meaningful investments in getting everyone vaccinated—especially communities of color and medically underserved communities,” said Lee.  “I worked hard in Congress to invest in trusted messengers at the community level to build confidence in vaccines and COVID-19 prevention efforts. This is a much-needed continuation of that work, and we’ll see over a million dollars of investment on the ground in our own East Bay community.

“Our Tri-Caucus – the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Native American member Congresswoman Sharice Davids, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone, Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott and Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro deserve credit for their hard work and support in getting this across the finish line in the American Rescue Plan.  We can see that the work of House Democrats is making a real-life impact on the ground for communities.  This is an important step, but we must continue our work to dismantle systemic racism in our public health system and ensure that vaccines are equitably and adequately distributed.”

The purpose of this program is to establish, expand, and sustain a public health workforce to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.  This includes mobilizing community outreach workers, which includes community health workers, patient navigators, and social support specialists to educate and assist individuals in accessing and receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.  

This includes activities such as conducting face-to-face outreach and reaching out directly to community members to educate them about the vaccine, assisting individuals in making a vaccine appointment, providing resources to find convenient vaccine locations, assisting individuals with transportation or other needs to get to a vaccination site.

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee Votes to Protect the Health of California Families, Clean Up Dangerous PFAS Chemicals

The bill also creates new, robustly funded grants and partnerships to help states with clean-up and remediation efforts.  To prevent future contamination, the bill introduces stricter limits on PFAS pollution and the introduction of new PFAS chemicals, as well tougher testing, reporting and monitoring requirements.

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Doctor with a stethoscope photo courtesy Online Marketing via Unsplash

On July 22,  Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) voted to protect California families from exposure to dangerous chemicals with the PFAS Action Act of 2021.  This legislation will clean up these “forever chemicals,” which pose a direct threat to public health, and introduce stronger protections against future pollution.

“For too long these chemicals have been allowed to linger in our communities as big corporations put their profits before people,” said Lee. “Environmental justice is a racial justice and economic justice issue. Our children and families deserve safe water to drink, air to breathe and food to eat. As Democrats in Congress work to Build Back Better from this crisis, this landmark bill is a critical step toward ensuring every community can enjoy a cleaner, safer future.”

PFAS chemicals represent a serious public health risk to nearly all Americans, as the CDC has reported that nearly every American has PFAS in their blood.  These chemicals have exposed countless men, women and children to life-threatening illness and disease, including multiple forms of cancer, liver disease, asthmas, thyroid dysfunction, infertility and impaired child development.

A new study published recently shows that, based on EPA data, an estimated 30,000 industrial sites are known or suspected of using toxic PFAS: 12 times what had been previously estimated.  American servicemembers and their families are also at particular risk of exposure, as more than 400 U.S. military sites are known to have PFAS contamination.

By passing the PFAS Action Act, the House makes important progress toward cleaning up our communities and holding contaminating companies accountable for their pollution, Lee said.  This legislation designates the two most studied PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances by the EPA and sets a deadline for the EPA to make designation decisions about all other PFAS chemicals – which has been a key barrier to cleaning up industrial and military sites.

The bill also creates new, robustly funded grants and partnerships to help states with clean-up and remediation efforts.  To prevent future contamination, the bill introduces stricter limits on PFAS pollution and the introduction of new PFAS chemicals, as well tougher testing, reporting and monitoring requirements.

House Democrats fought hard to include the PFAS Action Act’s critical funding and provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act two years ago, but Senate Republicans stripped these measures from the NDAA before it was signed into law.

Last year, House Democrats passed the PFAS Action Act of 2019 on a strong bipartisan vote – but the bill died in the Republican-controlled Senate. The House passed this important legislation on another strong bipartisan vote and it now heads to the Democratic Senate for consideration.

Alex Katz is communications director for Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

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