Cortez Masto Statement on the Passage of COVID-19 Relief Legislation
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement on the recently-passed coronavirus relief legislation. The Senator highlighted the coronavirus-related relief contained in this bill, which includes support for struggling families and small businesses, more funding for vaccine distribution, enhanced unemployment benefits and rental assistance, and direct payments to Nevadans. The package also includes a provision the Senator pushed for to allow mixed-status families to be eligible for Economic Impact Payments.
“This COVID-19 relief legislation provides valuable assistance for struggling American families, but falls short of the relief that Nevadans need to face the challenges they’ve been coping with during this pandemic. I’m proud of the relief I fought for and that was included for in this package, like expanded support for small businesses and tax relief to ensure more businesses in Nevada can keep their employees while we get through this pandemic. Although Congress stepped up today in a bipartisan way to provide some important things – more money for vaccine distribution, an extension of expanded unemployment insurance benefits and pandemic unemployment assistance, support for our live entertainment industry, and stimulus checks for those most in need — including for mixed-status families — more needs to be done. I’ll continue fighting for important funding for state, local, and tribal governments, additional support for health care workers, home health workers and hospitals, and more relief for our hardest-hit hospitality and tourism industries.”
Senator Cortez Masto fought for the inclusion of various Nevada priorities in this coronavirus pandemic relief package.
- Senator Cortez Masto fought for a one-year extension of the availability of funds provided to states and localities by the Coronavirus Relief Fund and CARES Act.
- Senator Cortez Masto worked with Senator Rubio to ensure that mixed-status families to be eligible for the COVID-19 direct economic impact payments.
- The Senator also ensured that more businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in Nevada will be able to retain employees due to an expansion of employee retention tax credit. This provision is in line with language in Senator Cortez Masto’s Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2020.
- She secured $24 billion in funding for state and local transportation operations and $18 billion in support for airline and airport workers, both of which the Senator has championed.
- Senator Cortez Masto championed the extension of the Paycheck Protection Program to 501(c)6 organizations, such as local chambers of commerce and tourism promotion organizations.
- She helped secure a waiver on caps on increases in Community Services Block Grant funding for small states, freeing over $3.25 million in overdue funds that the Senator has advocated be released to Nevada.
- Senator Cortez Masto fought to remove the $1,000 per employee cap on EIDL Advances and to ensure that more money will flow to Nevada by securing $20 billion for businesses hard hit by the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Senator Cortez Masto worked to exclude any provisions to preempt state laws on business liability for COVID-related lawsuits.
The COVID-19 emergency relief package passed by the Senate also contains additional priorities supported by Senator Cortez Masto, including:
- $120 billion in additional federal funding for struggling workers nationwide through the extension of unemployment insurance expansions established by the CARES Act.
- The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program will provide an additional $300 per week to supplement all state and federal unemployment benefits through March 14th, which Senator Cortez Masto has repeatedly called for.
- Extended Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
- Provides additional benefits of $100 per week for mixed income wage earners and independent contractors for the first time.
- Several provisions supported by Senator Cortez Masto to reduce PUA fraud.
- An additional round of Economic Impact Payments delivering $166 billion in critical financial support in the form of one-time direct payments of $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000, as well as an extra $600 per eligible child dependent.
- $325 billion for small businesses, including $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and an extension of the program through March 31, 2021.
- This package provides the hardest-hit small businesses and non-profits with 300 or fewer employees with the opportunity to apply for a second PPP loan.
- It also allows small businesses in the restaurant and hospitality industries to receive larger awards of 3.5 times average total monthly payroll, instead of 2.5 times.
- Allocates $15 billion for SBA grants to live entertainment venues to address the impacts of the pandemic. Senator Cortez Masto cosponsored the Save Our Stages Act this year.
- The bill also specifies that forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans will not be included in a business’s taxable income for the upcoming year, a provision that Senator Cortez Masto cosponsored.
- $25 billion in emergency rental assistance and an extension of the CDC rental eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021.
- $26 billion in agriculture and nutrition funding, including $13 billion to combat food insecurity and a 15% increase for SNAP benefits for six months.
- The legislation also includes $13 billion in direct payments, purchases and loans to farmers and ranchers who have suffered losses during the pandemic.
- $7 billion in funding for broadband, including $3.2 billion in emergency funds for low-income families to access broadband. Senator Cortez Masto led legislation to provide similar investments this July.
- Additionally, this bill creates a $1 billion tribal broadband fund, provides $300 million for underserved areas, and includes $250 million in telehealth funding.
- $69 billion for vaccines, testing and tracing, and community health and health care provider support.
- This includes $20 million for the production of vaccines, $9 billion to the CDC for vaccine distribution - including $300 million specifically for high-risk and underserved populations – and $22 million to states for testing, contact tracing and COVID mitigation programs.
- This funding also includes $4.25 billion in funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment grants, a priority for Senator Cortez Masto.
- $82 billion to support K-12 schools and institutions of higher education and $10 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program.
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