Dec 21 2020
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today released the following statement ahead of a vote to advance a coronavirus relief package. The legislation will be included as part of a year-end agreement that will fund the government through the end of the fiscal year.
“After months of unnecessary delays, Congress is working to deliver much-needed relief to the American people,” Wicker said. “Although this is not the legislation I would have written, it represents a strong, bipartisan compromise that will help millions of Americans through what I hope are the final months of this pandemic.
“This package boosts resources for vaccine distribution and our frontline health workers. It also extends and improves upon the Paycheck Protection Program, providing a lifeline to our smallest businesses and local restaurants. The temporary expansion of unemployment benefits and another round of direct payments should help many families who continue to struggle through no fault of their own. With this additional targeted support, I am confident we are on the path to beating this virus and restoring our economy.”
Among other provisions, the final coronavirus relief package would:
- Accelerate vaccine development and coronavirus response efforts by providing $68 billion in additional support for front-line providers, vaccine distribution, and testing and tracing efforts.
- Add $284 billion to the highly-successful Paycheck Protection Program and make key modifications to the program to make it work better for small businesses with high-operating costs and low margins, including local restaurants.
- Extend additional federal unemployment insurance payments at a rate of $300 per week.
- Include a one-time direct payment of up to $600 each for legal residents, including adults and children.
- Extend aid to key transportation sectors, including airports, passenger rail, motor coaches, passenger vessels, transit, and highways.
- Include $82 billion to help schools and institutions of higher learning cover expenses necessary for safe reopening and continued learning.
- Include $10.25 billion to support child care providers.
- Provide $11 billion to support agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19.
As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Wicker led provisions to:
- Provide $7 billion for broadband expansion, including telehealth and supply chain security.
- Continue support for the Payroll Support Program, which provides support to keep thousands of aviation industry employees employed.