|COVID-19 Update | December 9, 2020
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In my interview with KARK News’ Jay Bir, I talked about how House Republicans are advocating for a bill that will extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), increase the flexibility that governors have to spend funds from the CARES Act and increase funding for vaccine development and distribution.
This proposed bill will extend funds from the CARES Act to governors until September 2021, as well as provide funds for vaccine distribution and COVID-19 tracing and testing.
It will also provide funding to our educational institutions, which have been hit hard by the pandemic, and extend the PPP providing our restaurants, hotels, and small businesses a second chance at applying for the program.
I will continue to fight for solutions that will give Arkansans the tools they need to help defeat the virus and restore our economy.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) play a critical role in America by giving thousands of students the opportunity to pursue their dreams and aspirations.
As the Vice-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus, I am encouraged by Senator Tim Scott’s legislation, the HBCU PARTNERS Act, as it draws upon partnerships – public, private, and community – to strengthen our HBCUs.
Recently, I spoke on the House Floor to encourage my colleagues to vote with me in favor of the HBCU PARTNERS Act in order to help students achieve a college education and help them start on the pathway to achieving their academic and career aspirations.
In central Arkansas, we are blessed with four outstanding HBCUs – Arkansas Baptist College, Philander Smith College, Shorter College, and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. I am committed to supporting our HBCUs and helping Arkansas students graduate prepared for a competitive global economy.
Last year, I hosted the first HBCU Summit in Little Rock to support and develop partnerships for our HBCUs in philanthropy, student recruitment and advancement, workforce partnerships, and apprenticeship programs.
Every student in America deserves the opportunity to succeed in the global competitive environment. For thousands of students in Arkansas and across the country, HBCUs offer the essential tools to help students seize that opportunity.
Recently, I spoke on the House Floor to encourage our elected leaders to support the people of Hong Kong in their pursuit of democracy against the CCP, which threatens Hong Kong’s freedom and autonomy.
I commend Congressman Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) on his bill, H.R. 8428, the Hong Kong People’s Freedom and Choice Act, which will give those seeking refuge on our shores the protection they need.
Like all nations around the globe, the people of Hong Kong look to the United States as a symbol of freedom and democracy and as a nation that stands as a beacon of hope in a sea of global despair for two and a half centuries.
In my travels to Hong Kong, I have witnessed firsthand the innovative spirit and dedicated work ethic of its citizens. Hongkongers, like those in many nations, look to the United States as a symbol of freedom and opportunity, and likewise want to emulate those principles in their own government.
We must continue to fight for Hongkongers and allow these democracy-loving people to taste the freedoms we Americans get to enjoy every day.
Downlink Conversation Livestream Available
This Thursday, December 10, Nettleton STEAM Intermediate School students are preparing for a once in a lifetime experience. Students in grades 3-6 science classes will share a downlink conversation with the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
Arkansas PBS has partnered with NASA, Arkansas State University, Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Nettleton High School to promote this exciting event.
While the astronauts aboard the International Space Station are accustomed to sharing downlinks with different organizations here on Earth – no one has ever communicated with the Space Station directly from Arkansas – until now!
In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of astronauts living and working continuously aboard the International Space Station, NASA offered the chance for young astronauts here on Earth to earn the opportunity to communicate with the scientists currently aboard.
I congratulate the students of Nettleton STEAM Intermediate School for this opportunity, and I commend them on their hard work put into their projects this semester. The students’ water filtration systems, robotic arms, plant growth chambers, and space suits are an amazing achievement for primary education. They are exemplary young scientists: using the tools and technology of today to help solve the problems of tomorrow.
Arkansas PBS will be capturing the magic of the downlink conversations, which will begin with a pre-event show, featuring opening remarks from Arkansas leaders including Governor Asa Hutchinson and former President Bill Clinton. We will also have space-inspired art and music created by Nettleton STEAM students.The pre-event will start at 9:30 AM CT, and the in-flight downlink is scheduled for 10:25 AM tomorrow. To view the livestream, please visit HERE.
In Arkansas, I am proud that our students strive to follow their goals and set themselves on a path destined for success.
Earlier this week, I honored the achievements and aspirations of Mr. Clayton Boothe -- a student at Maumelle High School.
Clayton has a broad span of interests -- from founding his high school's chess team to being a member of the National Honor Society, ranked at the top of his class, and a semi-finalist in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship program, out of 1.5 million national applicants.
As an aspiring novelist and member of the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra, Clayton also has high academic aspirations, as he plans to attend Northwestern University in Chicago.Clayton is a bright and dedicated young man, and I expect him to succeed wherever life takes him.
If you plan to enroll in 2021 Marketplace health insurance or wish to change your existing coverage, now is the time to do so. You currently have just over 1 week until the deadline on December 15th, 2020, to make these changes. Plans purchased during this period will take effect on January 1, 2021.
If you do not complete your enrollment by Tuesday, December 15th, you will be unable to get 2021 coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
The open enrollment period for Medicare ended on Monday, December 7, 2020. Any changes made during the open enrollment period to either enroll within Medicare or change a current plan will take effect on January 1, 2021.
For more information about your current plan’s costs, benefits, and rules for 2021, please visit HERE.
It is important to note that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be more changes than usual this year when enrolling within private and employer-based insurance plans.I am proud to have a dedicated team in Arkansas who can assist you with matters involving the federal government. If you have any questions about Social Security benefits, the Internal Revenue Service, or federal healthcare programs, please contact my office at (501) 324-5941 or visit Hill.House.Gov.
Representative French Hill