Lawmaker serves good eats, good news amid COVID-19 pandemic

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines has been bringing good news to Montanans every chance he gets.

Amid disheartening stories surrounding the coronavirus across Montana, Sen. Daines brought catered lunch to the state’s National Guard troops serving at the Bozeman airport. The meals, he stated, were an expression of appreciation for protecting Montana communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Montana’s U.S. senator also shared two big National Guard announcements.

“It’s an honor to be here today to deliver some free lunches to our Montana National Guard members who are here in the front lines, the Bozeman airport,” Sen. Daines stated in a press release. “It’s important we stand with these health care heroes, whether it’s our nurses or doctors or first responders.”

Referring to the Montana National Guard in the front lines as heroes, Daines thanked the NG for keeping people safe. He announced that National Guard members would receive health insurance based on their COVID-19 deployments across Montana airports.

“I wrote a letter to the President, got a response, they now can get healthcare insurance,” Daines announced. “Additionally, I just wrote a letter to President Trump asking that we include hazard pay for National Guard members who are serving us in this difficult time.”

As a result of the letter to the president, Daines claimed Montana National Guard members responding to the Coronavirus pandemic will not only receive healthcare coverage, but also housing benefits. This follows Daines’ request to increase the NG’s orders of duties beyond 30 days, which reportedly triggers those increased federal benefits.

Montana SBA Loans

In a separate announcement, Sen. Daines said the Small Business Administration (SBA) approved 10,372 loans for Montana small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with total funding of $1,293,105,048.

Daines took credit for helping secure the original $350 billion for PPP loans to help keep Montana small businesses open and their workers employed.