Dear Friend,

It’s difficult to continue physical distancing, but it’s working and we must do all we can to slow the spread of this deadly virus. More than 100 Oregonians have died from coronavirus, and my heart goes out to the families who have lost a loved one. We don’t know exactly how many lives have been saved by our collective efforts, but the Oregon Health Authority estimates that we’ve averted more than 70,000 cases of coronavirus. Those cases could have overwhelmed our health care system and led to many more deaths. Staying home is saving lives, and we have to stick with it.


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As Oregonians vote safely and securely from home, I continue to call for a national vote-by-mail system, and more support for the US Postal Service. Here’s more about what I’m working on:

Priorities for the Next Relief Package

My colleagues and I are negotiating the next relief package. I’m fighting for more assistance for families, businesses, and states and local governments. Our cities and counties are leading the response on the ground, and they need funding to help them meet the needs in their communities.

Testing is key to reopening our businesses and schools, and I will continue to do everything I can at federal level to make sure Oregon has what we need to reopen, including testing, workplace safety protections, and personal protective equipment for essential workers.

As the only Congressmom in the Oregon delegation, I know families and child care workers are in a dire situation when it comes to child care. It was tough before the pandemic; it’s even tougher now. I’m leading the effort to include $50 billion for child care workers, businesses, and families in the next package.

Too many individuals and families are struggling and need our help as they are forced to make difficult decisions about how to pay for necessities. Congress has already passed legislation to send direct payments to many Oregonians, but a one-time payment is not enough. I’m continuing to advocate for plans to provide additional direct payments, like the Emergency Money for the People Act. I’m also leading the fight for wraparound services like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help more working families pay their energy and water bills during this pandemic.


Standing Up for Workers

As unemployment hits more and more families, we need to invest billions, not millions, in supporting workers. I’ve been calling for at least $15.1 billion for our workforce system, and I’m leading the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act because we need a historic response to this unprecedented economic crisis. This bill will help avert layoffs and provide dislocated workers and employers with access to employment services, like training, career navigation, and other support. I helped secure another $6 million in National Dislocated Worker Grants for Oregon to support businesses in their efforts to avert layoffs. But we still need more resources to meet the crisis at hand.

After Congress passed the CARES Act to expand unemployment insurance, many self-employed, independent contracts, and gig economy workers have contacted my office to find out how to access these new benefits. The state is now processing applications for self-employed people, gig economy workers, and independent contractors. Visit the Oregon Employment Department website here to check eligibility and apply. I also encourage you to review this factsheet, and if you need assistance, please contact my office.


Protecting Access to Housing and More

This month will continue to be nerve-wracking for many as rent and mortgages are due for a second time during the coronavirus pandemic. Many families and individuals were already struggling to cover housing costs before this crisis, and they now face painful decisions about how to pay for necessities. They need our help now. I’m advocating for Congress to pass the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stability Act, which will allow families and individuals stay in their homes during this challenging time by providing $100 billion to help pay for rent and utility bills. The legislation will also support rental property owners and help them maintain safe living environments for tenants.

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My first job after law school was as a consumer protection attorney, and consumer protection continues to be one of my priorities in Congress. This Thursday at 1 p.m. PT I will be hosting a webinar with the Oregon Law Center and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to help Oregonians navigate housing, benefits, domestic violence resources, and more. Click here to RSVP and submit questions in advance.


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