This month, as we honor the rich heritage and culture of Nevada’s Black community, there is much to celebrate and remember.
Just weeks ago, I had the privilege to witness the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris, our nation’s first Black woman vice president. Vice President Harris carries on the legacy of President Obama and other Black trailblazers who came before her, and I know that she will be a fierce champion for all our communities.
As Nevada’s first Black member of Congress, I think often about those who paved my path. On December 31, we lost Senator Joe Neal, Nevada’s first Black state senator. Senator Neal was a devoted legislator, a powerful voice for his community, and a mentor to me and many others. Today, his daughter, Senator Dina Neal, serves in the seat he once held, and carries on her father’s legacy as a fighter for working families.
In Washington and Las Vegas, my team is working hard to relieve the burdens that Nevada families have faced over the last year. Over the next few months, my priorities will be simple: crush the coronavirus and get Nevada’s economy back on track.
Last December, I worked to pass a $900 billion stimulus package to keep small businesses afloat and provide direct relief to Nevada families. This package included $600 stimulus checks for most Americans, as well as renewed funding for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). To learn more about applying for a PPP loan, visit www.sba.gov.
December’s stimulus package was much-needed – but Nevada families are counting on Congress to do more. In the months ahead, there are several bills that I will be re-introducing to help small businesses and working people:
The SKILL UP Act will provide an additional tax credit for companies that hire workers who have historically faced barriers to employment. Eligible workers include veterans, disadvantaged youth, formerly incarcerated individuals, and people who have lived in poverty for a significant amount of time.
The JOBS Act would make federal funding available for low-income Americans to enroll in job training programs that would be unaffordable without financial aid.
Here in Southern Nevada, our hospitality and tourism sectors have been hit hard by the pandemic. We need urgent aid to these critical industries, which employ more than 30% of our workforce. That’s why I’ll be re-introducing the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act, which would:
Create a tax credit for hosting or attending conventions and trade shows
Help businesses keep employees on payroll during COVID-19
Restore tax deductions for business entertainment
Create a tax credit for restaurants to cover the cost of re-opening and protecting staff and customers from COVID-19
I’m deeply relieved that we finally have a president and vice president who take this pandemic seriously. During the first week of his term, President Biden signed executive orders that will speed up vaccine production and COVID-19 testing and tracing and provide financial relief for struggling families and small businesses. These efforts are especially important for communities of color, which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Under the Biden-Harris administration, we finally have leaders in the White House who put people first, listen to scientists and public health experts, and value diverse voices.
As a leader within the Congressional Black Caucus, I’ve also been working closely with Biden-Harris administration to ensure that Black Americans are chosen to serve at the highest levels of our government. In late January, I enthusiastically supported the confirmation of General Lloyd Austin, who is now the first Black Secretary of Defense in American history. Secretary General Austin has more than four decades of experience in the U.S. Army, and he will make us all proud as Secretary of Defense.
To make sure that young Black professionals can have bright futures in the federal government, I have been working alongside members of the Congressional Black Caucus to build a talent pipeline to federal employment. Black voices have value – and we should always be at the table.
In conjunction with our efforts to place more Black leaders in positions of power within the federal government, the Congressional Black Caucus is continuing our work to advance social and economic justice. This year, I will be joining other members of the Caucus to re-introduce the Jobs and Justice Act – landmark legislation to invest in Black communities.
The Jobs and Justice Act includes robust funding for COVID-19 testing and tracing, as well as major investments in infrastructure and education in underserved areas. It would also provide loans and grants to the small businesses that form the backbone of our communities and need help to survive the pandemic. This legislation would make a tremendous difference for many in Southern Nevada and across the nation, and I am optimistic about its chances of passage in the new Congress.
As the year gets underway, I hope that you will reach out to my office and get in touch. My team can help you with federal agencies, connect you with local resources, or keep you informed about current events in Washington, D.C. You can reach my office by calling (702) 963-9360 or visiting http://horsford.house.gov.