WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 11, 2021)—With the signing on Thursday of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, Democrats in Washington have now secured their first major achievement since winning control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.
It’s a victory that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer credited this week to the voters who sent Democrats to the Senate. Speaking to reporters after final passage of the bill in the House on Wednesday, the New York Democrat pointed to two senators in particular — Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock — whose surprise victories in Georgia’s runoff election in January helped give Democrats control of the Senate for the first time in six years.
Warnock is up for re-election in 2022—and it is expected that he will face a formidable. Warnock has been a rubber stamp for Schumer since being swearing in in January 2021. Warnock’s major legislation includes helping Black Farmers and healthcare. But Warnock has not introduced or co-sponsored any legislation to end crime in Georgia as it relates to drug abuse and mental health. Mental health is one of the leader causes for suicides among Black youth males. Warnock joined other Democrats in voting no against funding to help young males to obtain the mental health they need. Although Warnock and Jon Ossoff ran on a health, justice and jobs platform.
The House Republicans fought for mental health funding services for kids. GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted “Breaking: Democrats just blocked $140 million in grants for mental health services for kids.” And every Members of the Congressional Black Caucus voted to block recommendations of Black experts. The funding would have funded grants for school counseling, and mental health services in school and communities.
The United States has noticed now over the last two or three years a startling increase in the suicide rates amongst Black youth, and we must recognize that we do not understand the reasons for it fully, nor have we figured out what we need to do to try to counter this disturbing trend, said Dr. Joshua Gordon. Dr. Gordon was an associate director of the Columbia University/New York State Psychiatry Institute Adult Psychiatric Residency Program, where he directed the neuroscience curriculum and administered research training programs for residents. Dr. Gordon also maintained a general psychiatric practice, caring for patients.
“There are very few pieces of good news in health for minorities particular underserved minorities. They typically have worst access to care and often worst outcomes as well, but in mental health one of the exceptions to that rule has been suicide rates, particularly for African Americans but across the board for many minorities,” added Dr. Gordon.
“Mr. Ossoff and Mr. Warnock told the citizens of Georgia if they were elected, they would make sure that the actual promises made would be promises kept and they have been,” said Schumer.
Yet back in Georgia, Republicans in the state legislature are right now in the process of advancing legislation that would roll back some of the very measures that made it easier for voters to cast ballots last fall. Republicans are seeking, among other things, to hold no more than 17 days of early voting, put new limits on early voting that happens on weekends and toughen the ID requirements when requesting an absentee ballot.
Source: NPR contributed to this article.