Kennedy: Senate Democrats again block coronavirus relief for Louisiana workers, families

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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after Senate Democrats today blocked a $500 billion coronavirus relief bill aimed at helping families, small businesses, schools and health services.

“Louisiana workers who lost jobs to the pandemic need a lifeline. Our businesses need help to keep their employees on payroll. Parents need tools to keep their kids learning, and they need more options for returning to work safely. Senate Republicans just voted to deliver all this and more. Unfortunately, Democrats again killed the bill and snuffed out hope for the aid Louisiana families so desperately need. Why are Democrats so intent on stopping America’s economic recovery in its tracks?” said Kennedy.

The relief package would inject $259 billion of liquidity into the financial system, which would support loans to eligible businesses, states and municipalities. The bill includes crucial liability protections for hospitals, health care workers, businesses, schools, nonprofit institutions and local government agencies.­­

The bill focuses relief on both workers and employers. It provides $300 per week in additional federally funded unemployment benefits through Dec. 27, 2020 to individuals who qualified for benefits under the CARES Act. The bill also creates a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and simplifies the forgiveness process for current and future PPP borrowers with loans of $150,000 or less.

The legislation provides $105 billion to help all students in elementary, secondary and higher education continue to learn. The bill gives an additional $5 billion to support child care providers so that parents can return to work while keeping their children safe.

The bill makes America more prepared for pandemics by increasing the country’s ability to manufacture vaccines and therapeutics domestically, providing $31 billion for vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic development and distribution. The package would increase state and national stockpiles of medical supplies for public health emergencies and provides $16 billion for testing, contact tracing and surveillance in states.

The bill provides $20 billion to address coronavirus-related impacts on our farmers, ranchers, growers and processors. In addition, it authorizes $500 million for direct federal assistance to fishers, fishery participants and communities impacted by the pandemic.