Senate passes coronavirus relief fund


Last updated 3/26/2020 at 8:36am

Montana's U.S. senators praised the Senate Wednesday unanimously passing a novel coronavirus 2019 aid package that the U.S. House is expected to vote on Friday.

"It's good to see the United States Senate pass a piece of legislation, this recovery package, with strong bipartisan vote. It's going to bring relief to workers, working families and small business across Montana." Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said. "I've spent a lot of time speaking with countless Montanans over the course of the last several days hearing about the challenges they face as a result of the coronavirus. Tribal leaders, hospital leaders, manufacturers, ski resorts, ag leaders, travel and hospitality leaders across our state and everybody who's being affected by this. There's a lot of concern. We're going to get through this as Montanans. We're independent. We're tough."

U.S. Sen Jon Tester said in a release Wednesday that he opposed Sunday the original bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., but after 72 hours of negotiations and changes to the bill could he could vote for it.

"This bill is far from perfect, but after working to fix some of its most serious shortcomings and make improvements, I believe it will now help provide the critical, urgent relief that Montanans need," Tester said in a release Wednesday. "After two failed attempts at delivering for Montana, I'm glad my Republican colleagues listened to our concerns and agreed to support our small businesses, employees, hospitals and communities that have been hit hardest.

"I'm troubled that the administration and some of my colleagues forced us to accept their $500 billion slush fund in order to get needed relief for hardworking Montanans," he continued. "I will be aggressive in making sure there is accountability and transparency in how this money is spent moving forward to combat waste, fraud, and abuse."

Both Daines and Tester said they were able to add more than $1 billion in aid to Montana.

Tester said the final version includes $1.25 billion for Montana's state coronavirus relief fund.

The bill is the third and largest coronavirus aid package proposed by Congress, with the first two packages passing quickly.

Watch for more in today's Havre Daily News.


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