Daines secures major Montana priorities in next COVID-19 Relief Package

U.S. Senator Steve Daines announced the following Montana priorities that are included in the initial Phase Four Coronavirus Relief Package in the Senate. Daines fought for funding for a COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic drugs, Montana jobs and workers, and support for Montana child care providers and working parents.

“As Montana experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases, I will continue fighting for the health and economic livelihoods of Montana families. This latest COVID-19 relief package includes my provisions to increase funding for a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as supporting getting Montanans back to work and providing support for Montana child care providers and working parents,” Daines said. “I will continue working to ensure Montanans have the relief needed to get through these challenging times.” To download audio, click HERE.

COVID-19 Relief Package:

Provides Funding for the Manufacturing and Distribution of a COVID-19 Vaccine & Therapeutic Drugs

•Daines successfully secured $20 billion to accelerate the development and manufacturing of a COVID-19 vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic development to restore confidence in our communities and get our economy going again.

•Daines also secured $6 billion to go towards developing and executing a new COVID-19 vaccination distribution campaign coordinated through CDC to ensure that Montanans and Americans will have access to a vaccine as soon as one becomes available.

•Daines has been instrumental in securing funding for a COVID-19 vaccine and his work has been publicly praised by President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, FDA Deputy Commissioner Dr. Shah and former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

Provides relief for Montana families and Child Care Services

•Includes another round of direct payments

-$1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples, $500 for dependents (the new COVID relief package lifts the age cap for dependents).

•Includes Daines’ bill, the Back to Work Child Care Grants Act of 2020

-Provide grants to child care provider facilities to ensure Montana parents can continue to work to put food on the table

Prioritizes Public Health and Safety, Provides Significant Funding for Testing

•Daines secured $25 billion towards the Provider Relief Fund which provides direct support for our nation’s healthcare professionals on the front lines fighting this pandemic.

•This package includes $16 billion to expand access to testing for COVID-19 and contact tracing. This new funding, when combined with approximately $9 billion that remains unallocated from PPP and the Health Care Enhancement Act, would make $25 billion available to ensure the testing needs of our communities across the country are met.

•Community health centers will receive $7.6 billion as they work to keep our communities safe and healthy. $225 million will be directed to rural health clinics to ensure that rural states like Montana have access to the support they need to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supports Montana Workers and Jobs:

•Includes Daines’ “Workforce Recovery and Training Services Act”

-Daines’ bill will help get Montanans back to work and prepare them for the post-COVID-19 economy by supporting job training, including activities such as customized training, on-the-job training, Individual Training Accounts, or transitional jobs.

-The bill requires at least 50% of distributed funds be allocated to the local areas most significantly impacted by COVID-19

•Expands Unemployment Insurance for Montanans out of work

-Continues the unemployment insurance payments for Montanans who lost their jobs to COVID-19 at $200 per week through September. Thereafter, this will be replaced with a payment that when combined with the standard state unemployment benefits, will equal to 70% of lost wages.

-Includes an additional $2 billion in funding for states to upgrade their unemployment systems to ensure faster access to checks for Montanans by handling the surge in claims and process the wage replacement payments

Supports Montana Small Businesses, Expands Paycheck Protection Program (PPP):

•Automatic forgiveness for loans below $150,000

-Montana small business owners who borrow below $150,000 will be automatically forgiven of their PPP loan

-They will not be required to submit to the lender documentation required by the CARES Act, but must attest to a good faith effort to comply with Paycheck Protection Program loan requirements including retaining relevant records for three years, and may complete and submit demographic information.

•Second round of PPP for Montana’s hardest-hit businesses

-Some Montana small businesses will now be eligible for a second loan/grant under PPP

•Expands PPP eligibility to include certain 501(c)(6)

-Montana local organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, Destination Marketing Organizations, and Outdoor Recreation Organizations with 300 or fewer employees will be eligible for PPP loans. This is something Daines specifically worked to include.

Provides Emergency Support and COVID-19 Protection for Nursing Homes

•Establishes COVID-19 strike teams to rapidly respond to any COVID–19-related crises in our nursing facilities to protect our nation’s most vulnerable populations our senior citizens and give our care workers in nursing homes the help and support they need to care for them.

•Promotes COVID-19 testing and infection control to mitigate the spread in nursing facilities.

•Promote transparency in COVID-19 reporting by nursing facilities to ensure our seniors citizens are taken care of

Supports Bringing Jobs Back to America and Holds China Accountable

•Strengthens U.S. medical supply chain, ending our reliance on China by enacting a domestic purchasing requirement of PPE for the Strategic National Stockpile and supporting Made in America manufacturing and job creation.

•Protects U.S. research and intellectual property and cracks down on the theft of intellectual property at federally funded research institutions and universities by China and America’s global competitors

Protects critical U.S. minerals whose supply chain is vulnerable to disruption and serve an essential function to the manufacturing of energy, defense, currency, agriculture, health care, electronic products. Will streamline and expedite permitting of these minerals to accelerate American manufacturing.

•Supports U.S. semiconductor incentive grants to construct expand or modernize American made production capability of semiconductors. These grants would focus on producing microelectronics for use by the Department of Defense, intelligence community and other national security applications.

Supports Montana Tribal Communities

•Provides $605 million to Indian Health Services to support preventing and stopping the spread of COVID-19 through Indian Health Service, Tribal, and Urban Indian health programs.

•Provides $1 billion for Indian Health Facilities to assist with sanitation, isolation or quarantine space, and other medical equipment needs to keep tribal communities healthy and safe.

•Extends the use for the Coronavirus Relief Fund until the fall of 2021 to ensure our tribal members have the time to get access to the critical resources needs to keep their communities safe.