Romney announces two COVID-19 emergency relief bills

National

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee member Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks during the committee’s business meeting where it will consider new subpoenas in the “Crossfire Hurricane”/Burisma investigation on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (ABC4) — Senator Mitt Romney and his bipartisan colleagues announced information on two COVID-19 emergency relief bills on Monday.

The bills would provide up to $908 billion to assist American students, families, businesses, workers, and healthcare providers affected by the pandemic.

According to a news release, the two-part bill proposal would include a $748 billion package that would fund the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides rental assistance, extends help for the unemployed, funding for COVID-19 test, tracing and vaccine distribution.

A separate $160 billion bill was proposed, calling for “aid for state, local, and tribal governments in exchange for liability protections for employers, small businesses, non-profits, schools, and churches.”

“The American people hope to see groups like this work together. That is what makes me most encouraged about what we have accomplished and most hopeful about what we can accomplish in the future,” Senator Romney said. “We were able to reach agreement on a two part relief package that includes emergency relief for small businesses, unemployment insurance, funding for vaccines and health care providers, as well as state and local assistance and a national liability shield for COVID-related lawsuits. We have people hurting right now and our country is facing a crisis, and during a crisis it is essential that we come together to do what is necessary. That’s what this legislation does.”

Senator Romney has been involved in negotiations regarding the final emergency relief bill before the end of the year, the release states. He has also sought aid for those affected by the pandemic, including those in rural communities and affected by unemployment.

According to Sen. Romney, the $780 billion bill is designed to provide financial relief to those who have been affected particularly hard by the pandemic such as the unemployed, small businesses, mental health facilities, childcare facilities, and transportation infrastructure.

If passed, small businesses who had previously received financial assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program during the pandemic will still be allowed to receive assistance through the $780 billion bill

Romney said he would like to see the two bills passed before Christmas.

Senator Romney answered questions on the relief bills from members of the press over the phone on Monday. An audio recording of that phone call can be found below.

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