Washingtonians hit hard by the pandemic moved one step closer to more than two billion dollars in emergency relief Thursday afternoon. Dan Frizzell from the House Democratic Caucus has more.
After a rocky start last winter, Washington state has been a national leader in tamping down the COVID-19 infection rate, but the measures required to save lives came at a price. Laid-off workers, small businesses, childcare centers, renters and landlords, and schools with empty classrooms have all taken hits. Lawmakers in virtual Olympia are speeding through two bills this week that channel two point two billion dollars, mostly federal, to people and institutions that have been impacted the most. House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan explained the rush:
SULLIVAN: “There’s no reason to wait on these bills. Our goal is to get those bills signed and implemented as quickly as possible. The quicker that we can implement them and get those dollars out into the community. This is two point two billion dollars that will help childcare agencies, it will help people who are struggling to pay their rent. It will help small businesses, and so our goal is to get that money out as quickly as possible.”
Sullivan, a long-serving Democrat from Covington, said Thursday’s OK by the Senate budget panel sets the bills up to reach the governor’s desk as early as the middle of next week, with the first emergency checks heading out shortly afterward. Reporting from Olympia, Dan Frizzell.