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ICYMI: Bipartisan Mayors in Florida Co-Write Op-Ed Urging Congress to Pass the American Rescue Plan

February 03, 2021

Today, Francis Suarez, Republican Mayor of Miami, and Rick Kriseman, Democratic Mayor of St. Petersburg, published an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times describing the desperate situation on the ground in Florida's cities, and urged Congress to pass President Biden's American Rescue Plan.

The mayors wrote: "President Joe Biden has laid forth his comprehensive American Rescue Plan and it's already received bipartisan support. The plan is bold and ambitious but even then, there's nothing in the plan that's extraneous or not absolutely necessary at this moment."

The mayors join more than 400 more bipartisan mayors vocally supporting the plan – along with a long list of economists and economic organizations urging the benefits of immediate relief including Brookings, Moody's Analytics, and the Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund. And a Reuters survey of dozens of economists found that over 90% believed that it would "boost the economy significantly." The American Rescue Plan has received praise from across the political spectrum – from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable to Senator Sanders and organized labor. And, top economic advisors from the last four presidents: Kevin Hassett, Gene Sperling, R. Glenn Hubbard, and Alan Blinder have all said that additional stimulus is needed to rescue the economy.

The op-ed comes shortly after the release of a new Quinnipiac poll showing that 68% of Americans – including majorities of Americans in every region of the country, in rural, suburban, and urban areas – approve of the American Rescue Plan.

Tampa Bay Times: Opinion: We mayors — a Democrat in St. Petersburg and a Republican in Miami — need President Biden's American Rescue Plan to save our communities | Column
[Rick Kriseman and Francis Suarez, 2/3/21]

We cannot afford to wait. Florida's cities are in agony and are crying out for help.

It's tough to overstate how desperate the situation has become in Florida's communities.

Because of pandemic fatigue, or just an overall sense of numbness, it's understandable that we've become desensitized to the immense and catastrophic pain being felt by so many Americans right now. For the friends and families of the more than 27,000 Floridians whom the coronavirus has killed. The 74,000 Floridians who've had to go to the hospital with the virus — and the over 6,500 Floridians currently in the hospital. The 650,000 Floridians without a job.

And, the countless children in our state have now been hunkered down at home, taking classes on Zoom for nearly a year, separated from their friends and support systems. Lines at food pantries that look like gridlocked freeways. Floridians of all ages are dealing with mental anguish and anxiety and are struggling just to see a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.

If there was ever a time for our government to go big, it's now. This is the moment. This is the "rainy day" we all hope never comes. There's no more time to wait and there is no action too bold.

We have the ability to bring an end to this once-in-a-lifetime national nightmare.

President Joe Biden has laid forth his comprehensive American Rescue Plan and it's already received bipartisan support. The plan is bold and ambitious but even then, there's nothing in the plan that's extraneous or not absolutely necessary at this moment.

First and foremost, the American Rescue Plan would help us get our population vaccinated more quickly. The only way we're ever going to really be able to pull ourselves out of this hole is by vaccinating the vast majority of the population. And, despite the achievement of developing vaccines, we've all seen how difficult it is to administer the vaccine efficiently. We need funding to get these life-saving vaccines into arms, immediately.

Second, the plan will finish the job of getting $2,000 checks into the hands of Floridians, providing immediate economic relief to families struggling just to put food on the table and keep the lights on — and, the plan will also fix technical issues to make sure Floridians who didn't get the checks they were eligible for in the last round of payments.

And for Floridians facing the most economic pain — those who are without a paycheck — the American Rescue Plan will extend federal unemployment benefits for millions of Americans. The plan also addresses other areas of daily life in Florida that are in crisis: It provides rental assistance to renters falling behind, creates access to affordable childcare, and gets additional emergency food and nutrition assistance to the millions of Floridians currently facing hunger.

Finally, the president's American Rescue Plan would provide the needed funding for states and cities — like St. Petersburg and Miami — that we need just to be able to keep our police officers, firefighters, and other first responders on payroll.

There's so much more to Biden's plan — like getting flexible grants to Florida's small businesses, re-opening schools, and making child care affordable during this crisis — that will help pull us out of this disaster.

But the point is this: we cannot afford to wait. Florida's cities are in agony and are crying out for help. This is not sustainable.

As mayors, we're on the ground with our constituents every day and see firsthand how horrific our situation is. Our people need help. Now is not the time for austerity politics or partisan gamesmanship.

To Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and all of Congress: Florida's — and America's — mayors are begging you to pass the president's bill and get your people the help they need.

Rick Kriseman is the Democratic mayor of St. Petersburg. Francis Suarez is the Republican mayor of Miami.

Joseph R. Biden, ICYMI: Bipartisan Mayors in Florida Co-Write Op-Ed Urging Congress to Pass the American Rescue Plan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/350757

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