Alexander Votes for COVID-19 Legislation to Help Businesses and Schools, Fund Testing and Vaccines, and Prepare for Future Pandemics

Posted on October 21, 2020

WASHINGTON, October 21, 2020  United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today voted for COVID-19 relief legislation that was blocked by Senate Democrats.

“For the second time in two months, Senate Democrats have blocked legislation that would provide an additional $500 billion in COVID-19 relief for many things that have bipartisan support—additional unemployment benefits, more Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses, more federal funding to help schools and child care reopen safely, and more money for testing and vaccine development,” Alexander said.

“Since March, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has passed nearly $3 trillion in relief for families, workers and businesses, and to contain the disease, but there is still more work to be done. Democrats and Republicans should be able to work together and focus on these areas where we have bipartisan agreement so that Congress can provide much needed assistance to the country.”

“While we are in the midst of dealing with this pandemic it would also be wise to remember any legislation Congress passes this year should prepare for the next pandemic by making sure that support for onshore manufacturing is sustained, stockpiles are full, and states have the right tools and resources to respond. The reason to do that now, while our eye is on the ball, is because the next pandemic could be as soon as next year.”

Background on the Delivering Immediate Relief to America's Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act:

  • Provides an additional $300 per week in federally funded unemployment benefits
  • Provides an additional round of Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses
  • Provides an additional $105 billion to help schools and colleges re-open safely
  • Provides an additional $15 billion to help parents get the child care they need so they can get back to work
  • Provides an additional $16 billion for states to conduct more testing and contact tracing
  • Provides an additional $31 billion to develop and procure tests, treatments, and vaccines
  • Helps prepare for future pandemics, including provisions regarding onshore manufacturing, state stockpiles and federal stockpiles
  • Gives Governors and states flexibility on how to use the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, which was provided by the CARES Act in March
  • Provides $20 billion for additional farm assistance
  • Provides liability relief for businesses, schools, colleges, nonprofits and local government agencies

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