FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — Congressman Jim Costa joined hundreds of educators and frontline workers as they received their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine Saturday.
United Health Centers gave 1,000 Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to Fresno Unified School District employees at Hoover High School, and other frontline workers. Rep. Jim Costa was there for part of the morning talking to constituents.
Hours earlier the U.S. Senate voted along party lines to pass an amended version of the $1.9 trillion dollar American Rescue Plan passed last week by the House, notably lacking the $15 per hour federal minimum wage increase and reducing federal unemployment benefits to $300 per week. Costa says he expected those elements of the bill to be a point of contention in the Senate.
“That wasn’t a surprise,” Costa said. “It’s legislation and there’s compromises and that doesn’t mean you like every change that was made. But the fact is there’s so much good in this rescue plan.”
The massive stimulus would provide more funding for vaccine events like the one at Hoover High School. One woman who works with people experiencing homelessness who got vaccinated at the event says getting vaccinated means it will be easier to do her job.
“To come out on the other end and get the vaccine and to be able to feel like I can walk around a little more confident, go see my parents, I feel really lucky today,” said Gordie Bermudez.
Costa also answered a question about the rumors surrounding a possible federal mass vaccination site at Fresno’s Savemart Center. Costa says there is no timeline yet, but there is potential.
“We’re working on it, I was talking with the White House two days ago,” Costa said. “The Office of Emergency services has worked over several sites with FEMA here in California and the Savemart Center got high marks.”
The American Rescue Plan now heads back to the House for a final vote on the Senate amendments. Lawmakers aim to have the bill on President Joe Biden’s desk before March 14th to avoid federal unemployment benefits expiring.