Pulling Back the Curtain on COVID Relief

Dear friend,

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, our state and local governments are struggling to stay afloat. Since the start of this pandemic, I’ve been fighting to get California state leaders and Orange County local officials the support they need to guide our community through this crisis. Nearly a year later, I remain committed to passing a relief package that matches the size and scope of this emergency. That’s why I’m proud to say that, this week, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform debated and moved forward provisions to support our state and local governments. We also passed provisions to extend emergency paid leave to federal civilian employees, like our postal workers, who have been on the front lines of this crisis since the very beginning. 

I’m committed to pulling back the curtain for the American people on how Congress works (or doesn’t work!), so I live tweeted Friday’s Oversight Committee meeting on the COVID disaster relief legislation.

This is an important part of a legislative process known as “budget reconciliation.” These kinds of Congressional procedures can be a bit confusing—trust me, I know. Put simply, the reconciliation process allows Congress to make changes to the federal budget. By passing a budget reconciliation bill, Congress is able to swiftly pass critical relief measures, like extended support for small businesses, additional direct payments to families, and increased funds for the production and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. I am proud to support these relief efforts that will provide assistance to Orange County families.

On Friday, as a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, I reviewed provisions of the reconciliation bill with my colleagues. These provisions of the bill will: 

1. Fund continued state and local relief efforts, 
2. Establish emergency COVID-19 leave for federal employees and postal workers, and 
3. Provide for oversight of COVID-19 relief programs. 

These measures are important to meet the urgent needs of the American people and to verify that taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately.

During Friday’s Oversight Committee meeting, I urged my colleagues to swiftly pass relief measures that will support Orange County communities, including our schools, first responders, and public health efforts.

Last May, I led a bipartisan group of local officials in calling on Congressional leadership to provide relief funds to local governments, and I still believe that this is a top priority. These funds are essential right now—they help keep various local programs up and running, expand emergency services, and increase testing and vaccine efforts. Without these funds, cities in Orange County will soon face drastic budget cuts to vital programs and services. I am glad that this relief bill will help them keep residents safe and healthy.

I know how hard families in Orange County work, and I am committed to working just as hard to protect your tax dollars. For this reason, the relief package also includes funds to strengthen oversight of relief funds. I will continue to keep a sharp eye on this as well, just as I did with previous relief packages. Last year, I led a hearing on oversight of coronavirus relief funds, demanded information and introduced legislation to beef up transparency of the Paycheck Protection Program, and called on Congressional leaders to fully utilize the Congressional Oversight Commission.

Whether it’s advocating for urgent relief for families or for increased state and local funding, I will continue to work on legislation that puts the wellbeing of Orange County front and center. To stay up to date on how I’m representing you and California’s 45th District, please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @RepKatiePorter.

          Very truly yours,


          Katie Porter
          Member of Congress