December 22, 2021
A Year in Review
As the year comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished in 2021 and prepare for the new year. We’ve all been through a lot. We’ve endured another year of a pandemic that caused many to fall on hard times.
Even still, there are signs of hope. The American Rescue Plan helped millions of folks get back on their feet, 79% of Marylanders have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, the expanded Child Tax Credit reached 130,500 children in our district, 81,100 jobs were created in Maryland, the COPS Counseling Act was signed into law, and the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was passed – marking the first transformational investment in our nation’s infrastructure in decades. When the going got tough, we all stepped up to the plate.
The Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is Passed
One of my proudest moments this year was casting a vote to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, now known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. For decades, we’ve needed to update our crumbling infrastructure. I’ve heard from each of you about the importance of closing the digital divide, investing in our public transportation, and combating climate change. Now, we are taking action by injecting $550 billion of federal funding nationwide into fixing our broken infrastructure and creating two million jobs per year over the next decade.
Together, we are generating good-paying jobs, reducing traffic jams, and fostering a cleaner environment. This transformational law will provide more than $7 billion in federal funding over five years directly to Maryland to improve our roads and bridges, public transit, water infrastructure, broadband, and more. For more information on how this law affects you, click here.
Recovering from COVID-19 with the American Rescue Plan
In March, I supported the American Rescue Plan so we could provide more resources to defeat COVID-19, get folks vaccinated, put money into families’ pockets, get children safely back into classrooms, and put people back to work. This year, the American Rescue Plan has provided much-needed relief. Below are just a few examples of how the American Rescue Plan has benefited Marylanders this year.
- Reduced poverty by 66% in Maryland
- 130,500 children in Maryland’s Sixth District benefited from the Child Tax Credit
- Provided $1.2 million for Hagerstown and Frederick Airports
- 47,000 Marylanders in our district benefited from lower health care costs
- Health care centers received over $8 million in funding to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines
- Provided nearly $54 million to support children with disabilities
- And, more than $12 million to renovate community health centers
- Allocated over $12.8 million to support homeless students
- Provided funding for more than 60 Fire and EMS Departments in Western Maryland
- Contributed more than $1 million to support cultural institutions in their economic recovery from COVID-19
- Increased funding for veterans’ benefits and support
The COPS Counseling Act Becomes a Law
Just over two years ago, Montgomery County Police Officer Thomas “T.J.” Bomba died by suicide. Sadly, Officer Bomba’s story is not unique. Our first responders experience more trauma in one week than the average person does in a lifetime. Following his death, I held a roundtable on improving mental health care for first responders to discuss how I could provide support, and the COPS Counseling Act was born. The law ensures that every first responder has resources to deal with the stress and pressure that comes with their jobs. We need to make it clear: seeking this kind of help is a sign of strength, not of weakness.
The Fight to End our Mental Health and Addiction Crises: I’m Never Giving Up
We made a lot of headway in the fight to end the addiction and mental health crises in our country. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to take real action on these issues. The pandemic has led to a decline in mental health nationwide and an increase in drug overdoses. We have to raise awareness of these issues, which is why I brought Washington County’s Washington Goes Purple event right to Congress’ doorstep for Congress Goes Purple.
This year, I announced the creation of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, to push for policies that will bring consistent funding and resources to folks on the front lines who are fighting the mental health and addiction epidemics every day. Together, we’ve introduced nearly 70 bipartisan bills, over 15 of which I’m leading.
I will never give up on increasing mental health and addiction resources for Marylanders. As many of you know, this issue is personal to me. That’s why I came to Congress, and that’s why I’m never giving up.