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Supporting Americans during pandemic

By Congressman A. Donald McEachin

By the time you read this, Election Day will be over, and we will be heading into Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. But my office will still be working. If you are having a problem with a federal agency, such as issues with passports, benefits or taxes, please contact my office. Go to mceachin.house.gov and you can initiate a case totally online. A constituent services representative will get back to you quickly and assist you with getting the remedies you need.

Moreover, Congress will continue to meet and vote into December before the new Congress takes over in 2021. So, please know your opinions are very important to me and can be registered on our website at mceachin.house.gov. At the same website, you can invite me or a member of my staff to appear in person or virtually. My staff and I are eager to be attending events, so please let us know about what is happening in your community. As we continue to work on legislation, and my colleagues and I discuss critical issues, I want to be serving you, meeting your needs, making life better and easier for you and your family.

This past month I was very excited to host a virtual listening session about education during these trying times. We were very fortunate to have a panel join us composed of local parents and teachers, as well as Virginia’s Deputy Secretary of Education and Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Schools. These folks had knowledge from their own experiences right here in Virginia-04 and brought expertise as teachers. The conversation was lively and informative. I know I was more enlightened about how we can help parents and educators, striving to do their best, through these difficult times.

This month, I introduced the Protecting Our Students in Schools Act which prohibits corporal punishment in any school receiving federal funding. Each day, in nearly 20 states, students are at risk of physical punishment. No child should fear physical harm at school, and no adult should be using physical punishment to discipline a child. This legislation not only forbids these violent acts, but also provides for grants to school systems to change the culture and help school personnel learn more effective, and non-damaging, methods of discipline.

I was also pleased to vote for the HEROES Act this past month, which would supply desperately needed COVID relief. This legislation includes strong support for small businesses, improves the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides a mechanism for small business owners to keep paying employees, and delivers needed assistance to restaurants and nonprofits. It also offers additional help for airline workers and more funding for education and childcare.

In addition, the updated Heroes Act provides funding for state and local governments whose budgets have been decimated but need to fund first responders, schools, hospitals and other necessary functions. It invests in testing, tracing and treatment and puts more money directly in the pockets of workers and families. I am hopeful that when Congress is back in session later this month, we will be able to reach a relief agreement quickly.

Nothing could be more important than helping families get through this pandemic. By offering assistance and following public health guidelines, the path back to normalcy with be quicker and straighter.

Congressman A. Donald McEachin represents Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.