03.20.20

Daines Urges President Trump to Prioritize Public Health, Montana Businesses During Northern Border Travel Restrictions

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today urged President Trump to prioritize the shipment of essential goods such as medical supplies, agricultural commodities, and energy, which will help local Montana businesses and border communities, during ongoing negotiations with Canada over travel restrictions in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Daines also emphasized the importance of ensuring that local communities and businesses are kept informed when exemptions are granted or restrictions considered.  

“These exemptions will undoubtedly evolve as the pandemic progresses, but we believe that some level of certainty regarding what businesses and individuals will be exempt from future actions is vital to ensuring the continuity of services to protect public health and safety,” Daines wrote.

To read the full letter, click HERE.

Daines’ letter comes in response to President Trump’s announcement earlier this week that the United States’ border with Canada will close to “non-essential travel” in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Background:   

Daines has been leading the efforts in Congress to respond to the coronavirus outbreak impacting the country.    

Three weeks ago, Daines brought his proposal and ideas to President Trump at a meeting in the White House. 

On March 20th, 2020, President Trump extended the tax filing deadline three months, from April 15th 2020 to  July 15th, 2020. Earlier this week, Daines introduced a bipartisan bill urging the administration do so.

On March 20th, 2020, Daines cosponsored a bipartisan bill that provides relief to Montana ranchers during the Coronavirus outbreak. 

On March 19th, 2020, Daines sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Wilkie stressing the need to care for veterans in Montana who struggle with mental health and who may be found to have increased stress during the coronavirus outbreak. 

On March 19th, 2020, Daines introduced legislation to extend the tax filing deadline from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020 to provide additional relief to Montanans during the coronavirus outbreak.

On March 19th, 2020, Daines cosponsored a bill to appropriate $17 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make payments on all 7a, 504, and microloans for the next six months.

On March 18th, 2020, Daines voted for a Coronavirus relief bill which requires free testing for the Coronavirus, ensures paid and sick family leave for Montana’s families and workers and provides emergency nutritional assistance for seniors, women, children and low income families. This bill, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, is Phase Two of Congress’ response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

On March 18th, 2020, Daines sponsored legislation to delay the impact of the recent accounting rule change for current expected credit losses (CECL) during the coronavirus outbreak.

On March 17th, 2020, Daines introduced legislation to require private health insurance plans to cover treatments or vaccines for the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, with no cost sharing.

On March 17th, 2020, Daines announced the Trump administration will be expanding access to Medicare telehealth services during the coronavirus outbreak.

On March 17th, 2020, Daines called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to enable thousands of federal civil servants, who have experience with rapid emergency response, to assist rural communities that are increasingly overwhelmed by the challenge of responding to the Coronavirus outbreak.   

On March 17th, 2020, Daines announced the Small Business Administration (SBA) declared that Flathead, Gallatin, Missoula, Sheridan, Silver Bow, Wheatland, Beaverhead, Broadwater, Daniels, Deer Lodge, Fergus, Glacier,  Golden Valley, Granite, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Madison, Meagher, Mineral, Park, Pondera, Powell, Ravalli, Roosevelt, Sanders, Sweet Grass, and Teton counties will be eligible to apply for additional funding under the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Declaration.

On March 17th, 2020, Daines introduced a bipartisan bill that directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to delay enforcement of REAL ID for at least one year in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Daines has been proactively working with the Trump administration on a delay of REAL ID for Montana.

On March 17th, 2020, Daines unveiled three more major proposals that will help protect Montana’s workers, families, first responders and small businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

On March 16th, 2020, Daines announced that the Senate passed his bipartisan bill that protects veterans and their dependents from losing GI Bill education benefits during the Coronavirus outbreak while they take part in online classes.

On March 16th, 2020, Daines announced $4.5 million awarded to Montana to help support the coronavirus response and protect public health. 

On March 16th, 2020, Daines urged President Trump to ensure Montana tribal communities have access to federal assistance during coronavirus outbreak.

On March 14th, 2020, Daines urged Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Azar and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Gaynor to ensure Indian Health Service (IHS) has the resources needed to provide coronavirus testing for tribal communities.

On March 13th, 2020, Daines issued a statement yesterday on President Trump declaring a national emergency for coronavirus.

On March 12th, 2020, Daines introduced bipartisan legislation to provide disaster unemployment assistance to people who are unable to work due to the current coronavirus outbreak. Assistance would be available to individuals, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors, who are sick, quarantined, furloughed, or whose family circumstances keep them from working or reduce their pay as a result of the coronavirus outbreak or government containment efforts.

On March 9th, 2020, Daines unveiled a slate of proposals and priorities he’s working to advance that will help protect Montana families and their finances during the Coronavirus outbreak including paid leave, temporarily waiving payroll taxes, providing relief from tariffs, and ensuring access to affordable testing.

On March 9th, 2020, Daines sent a letter urging the Trump administration to take swift action to make testing for the Coronavirus affordable.

The following day the IRS immediately announced it would adopt Daines’ proposal to remove financial barriers to testing and treatment for the Coronavirus by allowing high deductible health plans to cover Coronavirus-related testing and treatment before a patient has met their deductible.   

Congress passed the Coronavirus emergency supplemental earlier this month which included $8.3 billion to combat this crisis, including nearly $1 billion for state and local preparedness and response.

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