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Senate Passes $900 Billion in COVID-19 Emergency Relief to Support Families, Health Care System, and Small Businesses

Legislation includes a provision authored by Senator Collins to allow hardest-hit small businesses to receive second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loan


Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Senate passed COVID-19 emergency relief legislation that will help American families, health care providers, small businesses, employees, and students during the ongoing health and economic crisis. 


The framework for the legislation was developed by a bipartisan, bicameral group—led by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Mark Warner (D-VA)—including Senators Angus King (I-ME), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representatives Gottheimer(D-NJ-5) and Tom Reed (R-NY-23).


“This bipartisan relief legislation is a victory for the American people.  Our bipartisan group led the way, working night and day to develop the commonsense plan that was both the foundation and the necessary impetus for this final agreement,” said Senator Collins.  “This legislation—along with the distribution of safe and effective vaccines—fuels hope that we are making progress to defeat this virus and that our country is on course to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.”


“I am particularly proud that this legislation provides an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program I co-authored, which has saved millions of jobs in this country, including 250,000 jobs in Maine alone.  This will allow the hardest-hit small businesses to receive a second forgivable loan to help them stay afloat and continue paying their employees,” Senator Collins continued


This is the sixth COVID-19 relief bill Congress has passed this year, bringing the federal government’s total response to the pandemic to approximately $4 trillion.  To date, Maine has received more than $8 billion in federal funding to protect Mainers’ health and jobs.


The Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 will provide $900 billion in immediate relief. Highlights of the bill include:



  • Extension of all pandemic unemployment insurance programs by 11 weeks, with a $300 weekly supplement for 11 weeks.


  • A second round of Economic Impact Payments will be provided. They will be $600 a person, $1,200 for joint filers, and $600 per child dependent.  These checks would start to phase out for individuals earning more than $75,000, $112,500 for Heads of Households, and couples earning more than $150,000.


  • $50.8 billion for vaccines, testing, and contract tracing


  • $82 billion for education providers


  • $25 billion for rental assistance


  • $10 billion to provide grants for child care providers.


  • $13 billion to provide funding to address COVID-related impacts on farmers, ranchers, growers, timber harvesters and haulers etc., and rural communities


  • Includes $300 million for fishery disaster relief and $200 million for loggers.


  • $2 billion to support the motorcoach and bus industry as well as others, including passenger ferries and school buses, similar to the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act of 2020.  Senators Collins and Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced the CERTS Act earlier this year and strongly advocated for its inclusion in the COVID-19 relief package.


  • $2 billion for airports.


  • $7 billion in total broadband funding.


  • $4.25 billion to SAMHSA programs for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant, tribal programs, emergency relief, and peer recovery programs
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