WASHINGTON - Today, Idaho’s U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo voted on the motion to proceed to consideration of the Targeted Relief Package introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) earlier this week. The measure would have provided coronavirus relief funding to support American families, schools, small businesses and the health care industry as the country continues to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. The cloture vote failed by a vote of 52-47.
“While the first CARES Act was intended to deliver broad assistance as quickly as possible to people who have been impacted by the pandemic, additional relief must be tailored to assist those individuals, families, and businesses experiencing the greatest need. The Targeted Relief Package did just that, providing focused support to vulnerable Idahoans while helping to get our economy moving,” said Senator Risch. “I’m disappointed that our Democrat colleagues have declined this opportunity to help struggling Americans, focusing instead on attempting to pour trillions of dollars into pet projects that have nothing to do with the pandemic. Idahoans deserve solutions that target greatest needs, and I will keep working to ensure Idaho’s workers, families, and business owners can get the assistance they need to weather this crisis and return to some kind of normal.”
“In March, Congress came together in a truly bipartisan fashion to pass the CARES Act to provide a massive infusion of resources to millions of Americans in the fight against the coronavirus,” said Senator Crapo. “Now, as Americans continue to fight the pandemic, we have had a number of opportunities to provide meaningful relief for the American people, and yet some in Congress continue to refuse to come to the negotiating table. The Targeted Relief Package, although not perfect, would have responsibly provided further relief to small businesses, dedicated resources to allow schools to operate safely and efficiently, and additional resources for the nation’s health care response. Moreover, it would have ensured businesses and individuals working in good faith and following the guidance of public health officials would not be subject to frivolous lawsuits for their good actions. I am disappointed in today’s vote, and will continue working with my colleagues to provide relief to the American people.”
The Targeted Relief Package, would have repurposed existing funds from the CARES Act to reduce the net cost of the package to just over $300 billion. Some of its provisions include the following:
- Extended option for states to continue providing an additional $300 per week in extra, federally-funded unemployment benefits to those who qualified under the CARES Act through December 27;
- Another round of the Paycheck Protection Program with reforms to better target relief allocation;
- An additional $20 billion in farm assistance;
- A $105 billion Education Stabilization Fund to help get students back to school;
- $10 billion for Back to Work Child Care Grants;
- $16 billion for enhanced testing and contact tracing in states;
- $31 billion for vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic development;
- Turned the $10 billion U.S. Postal Service (USPS) loan under the CARES Act into a grant if the USPS’s cash reserve drops to $8 billion;
- Authorization for future Pandemic Preparation and Strategic Stockpiles; and
- Liability protections for hospitals, healthcare workers, small and large businesses, schools, colleges and universities, religious, philanthropic and other nonprofit institutions, and local government agencies working in good-faith efforts to keep patrons and employees safe.