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Senators: COVID disaster aid increase passes Senate

Montana's U.S. senators both said the latest version of a bill to add funds to protect small business payrolls passed the Senate this afternoon.

Sen. Steve Daines R-Mont., held a press conference call this afternoon and announced the Paycheck Protection Program passed in the Senate.

"Literally minutes ago, the U.S. Senate passed a very important package of over $480 billion additional relief," he said.

He said this package includes $25 billion for testing and Montana will be receiving $16 million of that.

"This is critical as we begin the safe way re-opening economy and get folks back to work," Daines said.

He added that the package also includes $75 billion for hospitals and health care providers.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont, said in a press release that he is pleased it includes funding more than just the Paycheck Protection Program. Democrats have been holding up the additional funding for that program to get the funding for additional programs.

“I'm supporting this bipartisan bill to get more resources to our small businesses and our brave nurses and doctors on the frontlines protecting our communities," Tester said in the release. "We need to slow the spread of the virus while assisting the main street businesses that are the backbone of our economy. I’ll be holding the federal government accountable to ensure the resources we’ve provided today get swiftly to the folks that need them, and working to fix eligibility issues so more Montana small businesses can actually use the programs we’ve created for them.”

In his press conference, Daines said the bill includes $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.

The bill also included $50 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, Daines said. That program offers disaster loans to small businesses having problems due to the pandemic.

Daines said the bill should reach the House Thursday then should be signed by President Donald Trump later that day if the House passes it

Watch for more in Wednesday's edition of the Havre Daily News.


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