ATLANTA - Newly-elected U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff, D-Georgia, took the oath of office a little more than two weeks ago and said much of his focus has been on the timely passage of a new COVID-19 relief package.
"Immediate short-term priority is to ensure that the COVID relief package, which will include funding for vaccines, stimulus checks for Georgia families, and resources for local governments--that's public safety, school districts, public health--is moving as swiftly as possible," said Sen. Ossoff.
After a marathon of votes in the Senate overnight, Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote early Friday morning to pass a budget resolution that paves the way for President Joe Biden's relief bill to move forward.
Sen. Ossoff said he would like for that package to include direct payments to smaller cities and counties and has signed on as a co-sponsor of the "Direct Support for Communities Act," which would provide for that. Under the original CARES Act, the federal government only distributed money to local governments with 500,000 or more residents. Funding for smaller communities was left to the states to distribute.
"We have a lot of smaller cities, municipalities. They deserve and need direct federal support to sustain public health and public safety and public education," Sen. Ossoff explained. "And right now I am championing this legislation to make sure that our communities get the help that they need."
Meanwhile, Sen. Ossoff has another big vote ahead of him as President Donald Trump's impeachment trial is set to begin next week.
"I won't render judgment until I've seen all of the evidence, considered historical precedent and then I'll make a decision based upon the facts at hand putting partisanship aside and thinking just about what my job is as a juror in the Senate trial," said Sen. Ossoff.
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