Click HERE to watch Senator Collins’ floor remarks. Click HERE for a high-resolution video.
Washington, D.C.— U.S. Senator Susan Collins joined an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of her colleagues in voting 96-0 last night to advance a $2 trillion emergency economic relief package that will protect the health and the livelihoods of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senator Collins also included a provision that will help keep grocery store shelves stocked and speed the supply of emergency medical supplies by allowing states to issue special permits for overweight vehicles and loads. These permits are allowed during most emergencies and disasters, but pandemics were not included in current law.
“For American workers, American small businesses, and American families, relief is on the horizon. This legislation will bolster our health care system, strengthen our medical professionals and first responders, shore up our economy and American workers and businesses, support those who are unemployed, and help prevent millions of Americans from losing their jobs,” said Senator Collins. “I am pleased that the Senate has come together in a bipartisan fashion to advance this critical bill that will provide desperately needed relief to the American people.”
The legislation includes a $377 billion emergency economic relief plan co-authored by Senator Collins to allow small businesses to continue to pay their workers. The provision, which Senator Collins developed as a leader of the Small Business Task Force along with Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), would provide federally guaranteed emergency loans to small businesses that are experiencing a sharp drop in revenue due to COVID-19. These loans would be forgiven so long as employers keep their workers on payroll. Click HERE for a fact sheet on the provision.
In addition, the bill includes two bills Senator Collins authored that will support our health care system.
The $2 trillion COVID-19 emergency relief package will help Americans by:
Appropriates $330 billion in federal funding across the federal government.
Highlights of the appropriations include:
Transportation and Housing Programs
· $130 billion for hospitals and other health providers:
· $20 billion for veterans health care needs;
· $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Maine will receive at least $5.1 million;
· $1.32 billion for Community Health Centers;
· $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile for critical medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE);
· $250 million for Hospital Preparedness Grants;
· $200 million for CMS to assist nursing homes with infection control;
· $500 million for senior nutrition services;
· $100 million for family caregivers;
· $180 million to support rural critical access hospitals, rural telehealth programs, and poison control centers.
Education Stabilization Fund
o $13.5 billion for K-12 education, distributed by formula to states and passed to school districts for coronavirus-response activities (ex: planning/coordinating during long-term school closures; purchasing educational technology).
o $14.3 billion for institutions of higher education (public, private non-profit, and for-profit). Funds may be used to defray COVID-19 related expenses (ex: lost revenue, technology costs, and grants to students for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care). Half of the funds must be used to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations.
· $300 million for assistance to tribal, subsistence, commercial, and charter fishery participants affected by COVID-19, which may include direct relief payments.
· $45 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund
· $400 million in additional FEMA federal assistance, including $100 million for Assistance to Firefighters Grants for the purchase of PPE.
· $1 billion for Community Services Block Grants
· $900 million for LIHEAP
· $8.8 billion for Child Nutrition Programs, $15.81 billion for SNAP, and $450 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program
· $9.5 billion for agriculture producers
· $3.5 billion for Child Care Development Block Grant
Air Carriers and Contractors
Other Major Emergency Relief Highlights