Merkley Announces Major Provisions for Oregonians in Third Coronavirus Relief Package

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley today announced that a new, bipartisan deal on a third relief package to address the coronavirus crisis will contain major provisions to help Oregon families, businesses, and health care providers struggling with the fallout of the global pandemic.

The $2 trillion economic rescue package will include:

  • Checks of $1200 per adult and $500 per child to most working and middle-class Americans;
  • $350 billion in fully forgivable loans to small businesses;
  • $150 billion to support a surge in the health care system; and
  • An additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits, and an expansion of the program to cover part-time workers, gig workers, the self-employed, and contractors;
  • $150 billion to provide stability to state, local, and tribal governments to maintain health, education, and other services in the face of collapsing tax revenue;
    • $30.75 billion to help local school systems and higher education institutions continue to provide educational services to their students.
    • More than $7 billion for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs to help low-income and working class Americans avoid evictions.
    • $3.5 billion to provide child care assistance to health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other workers deemed essential during the response to the coronavirus.

The deal also includes legislation authored by Merkley and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to authorize an investment of $255 million per year to support nurses—the heart of our health care system—who are on the frontline fighting the coronavirus.

Merkley released the following statement:

“Oregonians and Americans have been devastated by this crisis. Over the last two weeks, I’ve been talking regularly with small business owners and workers in Oregon who are facing an economic abyss. They need help, and they need help now. Today, we have reached a critical agreement on a deal that will provide desperately-needed support to families, workers, small businesses, and our frontline health care workers.

“I’ve been fighting hard to help small businesses stay afloat and, importantly, to help them keep paying as many of their workers as they can. While this compromise does not do as much as I would like, it will make fully forgivable loans available to thousands of Oregon small businesses, which could be the difference between collapse and a path to the other side of this emergency.

“As the husband of a nurse, I’ve seen up close how difficult their jobs are and how important they are to patients. As this pandemic intensifies, nurses will be on the frontlines of the fight against the coronavirus. We needed a major investment in nurses and the nursing workforce even before this crisis hit, and we need it even more now.

“We must realize that any choice between our lives and our livelihoods is a false choice—we cannot have one without the other. This proposal invests in both health care and the economy. It provides desperately needed relief so that we can save lives now and keep families afloat until we have defeated this virus. Now, Congress must pass it, and the President must sign it, without delay.”