July 16, 2021 Newsletter
It’s been another busy and productive week, and I am excited to share some important updates with you. Help is here with the Child Tax Credit – payments began on Thursday, July 15th! These credits will start hitting hardworking parents’ bank accounts to help cover gas, food, and other bills.
I received exciting news from committees in the House. First, I am proud to announce that I secured funding for five additional Community Project Funding requests through the House Appropriations Committee. These local initiatives will help strengthen our communities, revitalize our infrastructure, and protect important cultural and historical sites in our district. In addition, one of my bills to protect the Great Dismal Swamp in the Hampton Roads region passed through committee markup this week.
Finally, I had the opportunity to meet with some amazing folks in our district: the family of the late Rev. Curtis West Harris, a civil rights hero from Hopewell, and Michael Paul Williams, a Pulitzer Prize winner from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Child Tax Credit Payments!
I started the week off by hosting 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 here.
I was pleased to help pass this important provision in the American Rescue Plan. The first checks were distributed on Thursday, July 15th. 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.
I want to be sure everyone understands the eligibility requirements, how much money they can anticipate, and how to make sure they are signed up. Studies show that the Child Tax Credit will be able to lift more than half of children out from below the poverty line. 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.
More information is available on the IRS’s website and online portal, where you can check your eligibility and manage your payments.
Securing Millions for Local VA-04 Projects & Priorities
I received excellent news from the House Appropriations Committee regarding my Community Project Funding requests. I am pleased to announce that I have secured an additional $6.9 million in federal funding for five additional projects and priorities in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District. These projects include two educational priorities for Virginia Commonwealth University and Highland Springs Elementary in Henrico, which will provide crucial funding to improve the lives of students and teachers in our district; a research project conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University that aims to identify the factors and behaviors that promote gun violence; and two infrastructure projects for Chesapeake and Chesterfield that will further protect the Great Dismal Swamp in the Hampton Roads region and revitalize the Ettrick Train Station in Chesterfield.
Funding for these projects will help strengthen our community, address long-standing local priorities, and ensure they can continue to advance. I was proud to advocate for these initiatives in Washington and am thrilled that they were selected for funding by the House Appropriations Committee.
Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Act Passes Committee Markup
This past week, the House Natural Resources Committee held a markup on a slate of bills, including my Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Act. My legislation would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study to assess the suitability and feasibility of designating lands in the Great Dismal Swamp as a national heritage site.
The Great Dismal Swamp has incredible cultural, historical, and environmental significance for the Commonwealth and our nation. It is home to the ancestral lands of the Nansemond Indian Nation and the historic lands of the Haliwa-Saponi and Meherrin Tribes. It is one of the only known water-based stops on the Underground Railroad to freedom and served as a refuge for those who resisted American slavery or escaped to seek freedom in the north. I am proud to champion this legislation in Congress to protect the Great Dismal Swamp for future generations.
Hopewell Post Office Renaming & Dedication Service
I was proud to host a renaming and dedication service at the Hopewell Post Office on Poythress Street in honor of the late Reverend Curtis West Harris, a ground-breaking civil rights leader from Hopewell. I was joined by local elected officials, community leaders, and members of Rev. Harris’s family. His accolades are too many to enumerate, but Reverend Harris was the leader of the Virginia chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for over thirty years. He was a top lieutenant of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and joined Dr. King on the famed 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.
Rev. Harris was a tireless advocate for fair and equal rights under the law, yet 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 fifty years.
I was proud to introduce the legislation to rename Hopewell’s Post Office after Rev. Harris. I want to thank all my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, who supported my legislation and made our event possible. You can watch the full dedication service here.
Congratulating RTD's Pulitzer Prize Winner Michael Paul Williams
I was pleased to congratulate Michael Paul Williams, a reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his incredible commentary on issues of race and racial inequities in Richmond. I delivered remarks on the House floor commemorating his impressive, nearly forty-year career and presented him with an official congressional record to celebrate his accomplishment.
These are difficult and emotional issues, but Michael Paul Williams is particularly adept at helping shape narratives and understanding of racial disparities and compelling readers to more fully consider their impacts in the Commonwealth. He does not shy away from telling the truth and is determined to shine a light on issues that persist in Richmond and the Commonwealth. You can watch my floor remarks congratulating Mr. Williams here.
Virginia: The Best State for Business
CNBC has named Virginia the best state for business in the country! Over the past four years, more than 90,000 new jobs have been created and over $45 billion dollars in new capital investment has come into the Commonwealth. Our federal COVID-19 relief legislation has pumped millions of dollars into our localities, which has helped our families and economy recover. Working with our partners in state government, Virginia is having one of the strongest economic recoveries from the pandemic, and I am thrilled about this recent announcement.
Please remember that my office is always here to help if you have a question or need assistance. You can reach us using the contact information below and we will do everything we can to connect you with the resources you need.