U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today highlighted several Montana priorities in the Senate COVID-19 relief package which will be voted on this week. The relief package will provide relief for Montana workers, families, schools, small businesses as well as expand access to testing and promote vaccine development.
“This targeted relief package will help Montana families, workers and small businesses bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as provide funding for Montana schools to keep students and teachers safe and advance vaccine development to help us get back to normal,” Daines said. “I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work together on important targeted relief as the fight against COVID-19 continues.”
Next COVID-19 Relief Package:
Supports Montana Small Businesses, Provides More Funding for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- Includes $257.7 billion to replenish the PPP which helps keep Montana small businesses open and workers on the payroll.
- Daines was instrumental in securing PPP loans for Montana small businesses like Mountain Mudd in Billings and Mountain Hot Tub in Bozeman.
- Second round of PPP for Montana’s hardest-hit businesses.
- 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.
- Streamlined forgiveness for loans below $150,000.
- Montana small business owners who borrowed below $150,000 will not be required to submit to the lender documentation required by the CARES Act, if the borrower submits a simple, one-page attestation form to their lender. This is consistent with the Paycheck Protection Small Business Expense Forgiveness Act, which Daines cosponsored.
- Includes liability protections for Montana businesses, hospitals, schools, non-profits, and others
- Allows Montana businesses to reopen without fear of frivolous lawsuits
- Promotes nationwide uniformity in COVID-related medical malpractice and personal injury cases.
Supports Montana Workers and Jobs
- Provides supplemental Unemployment Insurance payments for Montanans who lost their jobs
- Continues the unemployment insurance payments for Montanans who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 at $300 per week through December 27th.
- Extends the authorization for unemployment benefits for those covered under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act through December 27th.
- Streamlines and expedites permitting of critical minerals to accelerate American manufacturing and support good paying jobs
Prioritizes Public Health and Safety, Provides Significant Funding for Testing
- Includes $16 billion to expand access to testing for COVID-19, including covering costs for testing equipment and testing supplies and personal protective equipment needed to administer tests.
Provides Funding for the Manufacturing and Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines & Treatments
- Provides $31 billion for vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic development; vaccine distribution; the Strategic National Stockpile and grants for the establishment of state stockpiles.
- Specifically, $20 billion is included for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to support the manufacturing, production, and purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics that will help to restore confidence in our communities to continue safely reopening – something Daines was instrumental in securing.
- Reminder: 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. Anand Shah and former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
- $6 billion is included for the CDC to support the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that Montanans and Americans will have access to a safe and effective vaccine as soon as one becomes available.
Support for Montana Schools, Education, Child Care
- Provides $105 billion to schools across the country as the academic year kicks off.
- Provides $15 billion for child care services and providers.
- 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.
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 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.
Support for the United States Postal Service
- This relief package makes the $10 billion loan extended to the United States Postal Service (USPS) in the CARES Act a forgivable grant.
- Daines is also pushing his bipartisan bill to provide $25 billion to the USPS.
Supports Montana Farmers and Ranchers
- Provides $20 billion of additional farm assistance to assist farmers and ranchers negatively impacted by low commodity prices and supply chain challenges due to the pandemic.
Supports Montana Tribal Communities
- 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.
- 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.
Daines has been leading the efforts in Congress to respond to the coronavirus outbreak impacting the country. To read about Daines’ COVID-19 related efforts, click HERE.