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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Colorado Children's Groups Urge U.S. Senate to Pass COVID Relief

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Friday, March 5, 2021   

DENVER -- Colorado advocates for children, low-income workers and other vulnerable populations are urging Congress to pass President Joe Biden's COVID relief package to address growing food and housing insecurity.

The American Rescue Plan cleared the U.S. House and is now before the Senate.

Fifty-four percent of Coloradans with children have reported lost earnings in the pandemic, and one in five said they haven't always been able to afford food.

Stephanie Perez-Carrillo, policy and partnerships manager for the Colorado Children's Campaign, said families need help now.

"All families, including immigrants, deserve a chance to be safe, healthy and to have the economic means to thrive," Perez-Carrillo asserted. "We're hoping that Congress acts now, and we call on lawmakers to pass this vital piece of legislation to support our nation's families."

If Biden's plan clears the Senate, people with qualifying incomes would get one-time, $1,400 payments; food, rent and utility assistance programs would be increased; and unemployment benefits would extend beyond March 14.

The plan is projected to reduce child poverty in Colorado by 42%.

Opponents said the $1.9 trillion proposal is too costly, and claimed it includes items unrelated to the virus.

Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs, said the rescue plan would send help where it is most needed: to children and families, people who lost jobs, rural areas, communities of color and people with disabilities.

She added the nation faces hardship not seen since the Great Depression, and believes the plan matches the pandemic's economic impact.

"If the federal government does not step in with the right scope of help, millions of us will be pushed out of the middle class and into prolonged hardship," Weinstein contended.

The American Rescue Plan also includes $160 billion to speed up vaccine distribution, a move economists say will speed up economic recovery by reining in the virus, which has so far killed over a half-million Americans.

Disclosure: The Coalition on Human Needs contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Census, Children's Issues, and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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