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Child tax credits, vaccines and more

By Congressman A. Donald McEachin

Thanks to vaccines in arms, July was a great month as we began to meet in-person for events and reconnect with our community. Now, these vaccines are more crucial than ever as the dangerous, more transmissible Delta variant sweeps throughout the country. Please, if you have not already, consider getting vaccinated for you, your family and your community. Be the solution to saving lives.

Last month, I hosted a Child Tax Credit Roundtable with my colleague and friend, Congressman Bobby Scott, to share information about President Biden’s enhanced Child Tax Credit. You can watch our roundtable discussion under “Videos” on my Facebook page.
I was pleased to help pass this important provision in the American Rescue Plan. These funds will help put money back in the pockets of hardworking parents to help pay for childcare or put gas in the car, so they can go to work and help fuel our economy while building better lives for their families.

These credits will have drastic effects in Virginia’s Fourth as well. More than 147,000 children in our district will gain from the expanded and improved Child Tax Credit.

If you have any further questions or are looking for some particular information about the childcare tax credit, the IRS has a dedicated webpage: www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021.

They also have this portal to see if you are signed up to receive the advance payments: www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/child-tax-credit-update-portal.

I also hosted a renaming and dedication service last month at the Hopewell Post Office on Poythress Street in honor of the late Rev. Curtis West Harris. I was joined by local elected officials, community leaders and family members of Rev. Harris.

From leading the Virginia Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to serving as a top lieutenant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Harris was a tireless champion in the fight for equal rights. He never forgot his home in Hopewell and served as a local elected leader, Hopewell’s first Black mayor, and as a pastor of Union Baptist Church for nearly 50 years. I was proud to introduce legislation to honor his life and legacy, and I hope residents of Hopewell are reminded of his contributions whenever they visit the post office.

To wrap up July, I joined a community town hall hosted by Virginia Interfaith Power and Light to discuss President Biden’s Build Back Better priorities, the Justice 40 Initiative, my environmental justice efforts in Congress, and job creation.

The Justice40 Initiative aims to improve productive collaboration between federal agencies and state and local communities while advancing President Biden’s promise to deliver at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from federal investment in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.

As we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must advance innovative policy solutions that promote economic growth, create new jobs and address the climate crisis. I enjoyed joining Virginia Interfaith Power and Light to discuss President Biden’s priorities and our shared values for the future.

My office has also been hosting Mobile McEachins throughout the summer so constituents can have direct and immediate access to address any issues they may be having with a federal agency.

One of the major issues reported to our office is difficulty with renewing/obtaining passports. With vaccine uptake curbing COVID-19 transmission rates, many Americans are choosing to travel both domestically and internationally. Unfortunately, this has caused a serious backlog for obtaining and/or renewing passports.

I want to encourage you, if you are considering traveling for the winter holidays, which may seem far away, please put in your passport request as soon as possible. If you have put in a renewal and your passport has not arrived and you are within 14 days of your departure date, please feel free to contact my office for assistance. In addition, if you have applied for a passport or a renewal and you have waited significantly longer, please feel free to contact us.

Lastly, we had many victories last month on Capitol Hill. This included my vote for the passage of the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act to expand access to basic reproductive health care for female veterans.

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