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TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE

This week, Senate Republicans released their COVID-19 relief proposal, more than two months after the House passed the Heroes Act. The proposal falls woefully short on various fronts, particularly the lack of new aid for state and local governments and aid to school districts who only fully re-open regardless of safety issues. This will have dire consequences for many Colorado cities and school districts, and an overwhelming majority of Americans support at least $1 trillion for state and local governments in the next COVID-19 relief package.

The House’s Heroes Act would provide significant state and local funding, including an estimated $9.8 billion for the state of Colorado and an estimated additional $903 million for cities and counties in the 7th CD. In addition to state and local funding, the next COVID-19 relief package needs to include housing assistance, unemployment benefit extensions, support for USPS and election security protections. Time is of the essence for the House and Senate to work together to provide much-needed relief for Americans.


I wrote about the specific need for state and local funding for communities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic in an op-ed with Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann this week
 

COVID-19 UPDATES & RESOURCES

Unemployment Assistance Update:
As of July 25th, the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment (CDLE) is no longer paying the $600 weekly supplemental Unemployment Insurance benefit. The 13 additional weeks of unemployment from the CARES Act can still be used by claimants but these benefits are NOT automatic and claimants will need to switch over to CDLE’s PUA system to get the additional 13 weeks. CDLE will notify claimants by mail regarding next steps to file for the additional benefits.

To date, CDLE has paid out over $4 billion in total unemployment benefits since March 29th. If you’re looking for work, visit ConnectingColorado.com, the state’s job bank, which has more than 54,000 job openings including thousands of “location-neutral” jobs.

For additional unemployment questions, click here or call my office at (303) 274-7944.

Foreclosure and Eviction Relief: While eviction and foreclosure relief has lapsed, lenders and landlords still need to give people 30-day notice before demanding payment for federally-backed loans. This is not the case with non-federally connected mortgages.

Below are a additional resources to help renters and homeowners during this time:
• The state's Property Owner Preservation Program will provide $20 million in direct rental and mortgage assistance to Coloradans experiencing financial need, including $350,000 for legal aid for renters at risk of eviction. Landlords and property owners can apply for assistance on behalf of multiple tenants, and tenants can also apply on their own. Visit cdola.colorado.gov/rental-assistance or call 303-864-7810 for the steps to apply.
Emergency Housing Assistance Program
2-1-1 Colorado
Colorado Financial Housing Assistance Guide

If you’re experiencing an issue with making your housing payment or need additional resources, my office may also be able to help at (303) 274-7944.
 
Paycheck Protection Program Update: The deadline for new loan applications was extended to August 8th. Since the program first opened on April 3rd, approx. $520 billion has gone to small businesses, including to more than 104,000 small businesses in Colorado who received $10.4 billion in PPP loans. Click here to learn more or start the application process.

In addition, below are resources to help businesses begin the forgiveness process for PPP and EIDL loans:
• PPP Interim Final Rule
Colorado National Guard: This week, I joined the Colorado Congressional delegation in asking President Donald Trump to extend federal funding for the Colorado National Guard to help our state deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding is set to expire on August 21st and we are requesting an extension until the end of 2020.


stop the knock, self-respond today

Beginning July 30th, Census Bureau workers, also called enumerators, will visit households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census. In the Denver metro area, this will start with households in Lakewood, Aurora and Longmont.

The easiest way to avoid having a Census enumerator visit your residence is to self-respond TODAY. Complete your questionnaire online at 2020census.gov, by phone at 1-844-330-2020 or by mail.


Every enumerator will have an official photo ID and badge with the U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date. They will wear face masks and gloves and will not enter homes. They are looking to complete the 2020 Census on site and will ask questions from the form using a computer tablet. To verify a census worker, you can call Colorado’s regional census office at (972) 510-1800.
 

FEDERAL POLICE ON OUR STREETS

I am deeply concerned and troubled by the continued protests and use of federal police force in Portland and in other parts of our country. We cannot stand for what has been happening in Portland, and putting federal police in any other city is not okay and will not be tolerated. To that end, I am a cosponsor of H.R. 7153, the Law Enforcement Identification Act which requires any federal law enforcement deployed to be clearly identifiable by name and agency.

Agents in unmarked camouflage fatigues who snatch and grab U.S. citizens off the streets of an American city coupled with incessant attacks on the media, the courts, the church, the legislature, forced separation of children from their parents, support for white supremacy ideology, disdain for science and disregard for the truth are the hallmarks of a fascist and authoritarian regime. But, even of more concern for me, are the seeds of fear and distrust which are being sown which destroy the social contract among all of what’s embodied in the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.


GOOD NEWS REPORT: MARS 2020 PERSEVERANCE

Early in the morning on July 30th, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover successfully launched! Over the next seven months, the rover will make its way to Mars to search for signs of life, collect rock and soil samples and continue our understanding of the Martian planet. As a member of the Science, Space and Technology Committee and a Mars enthusiast, I am proud to see this successful mission underway and look forward to expanding our knowledge for future missions, including getting our astronauts to Mars.


Colorado has some of the best minds, companies, laboratories and research institutions in the world – many of them playing an important role in this mission and other space exploration missions. The team at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Jefferson County designed and built the heat shield which will protect Perseverance during the most critical entry, descent, and landing phase of the mission.  Lockheed Martin also designed and built the system attaching the 4-pound helicopter to the belly of the rover. This will mark the first time any kind of helicopter has flown on another planetary body. The rover launched on board a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. And Sierra Nevada Corporation in Louisville also contributed several components to the rover, specifically for the robotic arm, the turret coring drill, and the caching assembly.  
 
I look forward to following the path of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover and encourage you to learn more here.


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