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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) voted in favor of bipartisan legislation to fund the government through FY 2021 and provide support to Idaho’s families, schools, small businesses and health care providers as the country weathers the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislative vehicle for the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed with a vote of 91-7.

“It’s a difficult situation for Idaho right now with COVID cases surging, but we are at the beginning of the end of this pandemic. This bipartisan COVID relief legislation provides much needed, targeted relief as the vaccines developed as part of the successful Operation Warp Speed are delivered throughout the country,” said Risch. “Millions of doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being administered to healthcare workers and people on the frontlines fighting this virus, and more are destined for essential workers, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals soon. While inoculations continue, this COVID relief bill will help stabilize and sustain the American economy while delivering targeted assistance to Idaho families, individuals, and businesses experiencing the greatest need. I am confident this will provide the relief needed to get us through the final stretch of this challenging time and I am confident we will come through this stronger, just as America has so many times.”

Among its provisions, the COVID relief legislation will:

  • Provide $600 direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 per year and couples making $150,000 per year with $600 additional payments per dependent child.
  • Extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and authorize a second draw for small businesses who have already benefited from the program.
  • Authorize funds for vaccine development, therapeutics, testing and contact tracing.
  • Enhance support for farmers and agriculture under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
  • Establish rental assistance for people who have fallen behind on rent and face eviction.

Among its provisions, the FY 2021 omnibus will:

  • Enact Senator Risch’s Aquifer Recharge Flexibility Act, legislation to improve aquifer levels in Idaho and across western states by expanding the ability for aquifer recharge through federal lands and facilities.
  • Advance the development of advanced nuclear reactors and support the mission of the Idaho National Lab.
  • Invest $300 million on rural broadband deployment.
  • Equip U.S. troops with the resources necessary to protect the country while authorizing a 3 percent pay raise for our men and women in uniform.
  • Provide $1.375 billion in new funding for the southern border wall.

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