Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today expressed strong support for the COVID-19 and economic relief legislation before the Senate.
“This pandemic has upended our society,” Senator Feinstein said. “It has killed more than 520,000 Americans and left millions with lingering health effects. Ten million Americans remain unemployed. It has caused a level of fear and uncertainty that few have ever experienced. This is the kind of situation that demands action from Congress.
“The COVID-19 relief bill was drafted to help alleviate at least some of that uncertainty and help millions of families suffering the financial effects of the virus. It extends unemployment benefits, provides checks to low- and moderate-income families to help pay their bills, renews programs to keep small businesses open and injects funds into our national vaccine program that has finally started to show results under the Biden presidency.
“It’s difficult to overestimate the damage this virus has done to our society and economy. It will take years, if not decades, for us to fully recover. But Congress is taking the right step by debating and passing this bill to help millions of Americans who continue to suffer after a year of doubt and anxiety.”
Key provisions of the legislation:
Support for families
- Extends the federal supplemental unemployment benefit of $300 per week through September 6 and makes the first $10,200 per household tax free.
- Provides low- and middle-income families with direct payments of $1,400 for each adult and dependent, including children, to help pay bills, buy food and cover rent.
- Provides more than $30 billion in funding for families to remain current on rent and mortgage payments; also injects additional funds into homeless assistance programs.
- Extends food stamp benefits through September and increases nutrition assistance funding to ensure vulnerable Americans aren’t going hungry.
Support for small businesses
- Adds $7.25 billion to the existing Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses and adds nonprofits and digital news outlets to the businesses that can receive help.
- Establishes a $25 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund that will provide grants to help hard-hit local, independent restaurants remain open and keep workers on payroll.
- Adds $15 billion for the Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to provide additional help to small businesses.
- Reauthorizes the State Small Business Credit Initiative and provides $10 billion in funds to help small businesses.
- Adds $1.25 billion to the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program to support live entertainment venues that have suffered greatly during the pandemic.
Expanding access to vaccines for all Americans
- $50 billion for testing, contact tracing, acquisition of personal protective equipment and additional study of virus variants.
- $20 billion for improving the distribution and administration of vaccines.
- $10 billion for the Defense Production Act to acquire medical equipment and personal protective equipment.
- $8 billion for public health workforce development.