Murkowski Votes to Advance Targeted Covid-19 Relief Bill
“Alaskans Tell Me ‘We Need Something Now, Because Otherwise We Don’t Know How Long We Can Hold On’”
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today voted to advance a targeted COVID-19 Relief bill package, focused on addressing some of America’s most urgent healthcare, education, and economic issues. The procedural vote failed by a vote of 52-47, shy of the 60 votes needed.
“It’s so important that we work to provide necessary relief to Americans in order to address the continued impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses, employees, families, and individuals. While this targeted relief package proposal before us today was far from perfect, it was yet another step in our efforts to be responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic. It included a number of much-needed provisions, such as additional support for the Paycheck Protection Program. One of the most consistent comments I’ve heard from Alaskans is that the PPP funding that has been provided through the CARES Act is beneficial, but they are concerned that the timeline within which to spend it is limited to the end of this year. So, the opportunity for an extension to utilize those dollars provided through this package was very import. The bill also included a level of additional unemployment insurance, funding for vaccine development and testing, support for childcare providers, schools, fishermen, some limited help for the United States Postal Service, and more,” said Senator Murkowski. “I was concerned about provisions related to school choice and sending two-thirds of the education funds to schools that meet a certain level of in-person instruction regardless of risk to school staff and students. So again, while the bill was not perfect and had room to improve, it was responsive to the Alaskans who don’t know how long they can hold on, who are saying they need more help now. Bottom line, we need to continue working to build bipartisan consensus to provide the American people with access to much needed, targeted relief. The alternative of doing nothing is simply not an option.”
Click here for video of Senator Murkowski’s floor remarks prior to today’s procedural vote.
Click here for a transcript of Senator Murkowski’s floor remarks.
Background on Previous COVID-19 Congressional Relief:
- On March 5, Senator Murkowski voted in favor of an emergency supplemental funding package, the Coronavirus Preparedness & Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which includes a total of $8.3 billion to help better prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. The bill aims to strengthen the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak and allow for necessary precautions, prevention, and treatment at the local, state, national, and international levels.
- On March 18, Senator Murkowski voted in favor of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a bill aimed at bolstering the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help mitigate the health and economic impacts of the outbreak by ensuring testing is free for Americans, securing paid sick leave as well as family and medical leave, enhancing unemployment insurance to help workers, and ensuring that students, seniors, and low-income households can continue to access nutrition assistance.
- On March 25, Senator Murkowski voted in favor of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a bill to provide major relief to families, small businesses and their employees, as well as to stabilize our economy and protect jobs.
- On April 21, the Senate unanimously passed a coronavirus relief package totaling $484 billion, to provide additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), COVID-19 testing, and added support for hospitals. The purpose of the majority of this funding was to provide a boost to programs that were previously authorized and funded from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which was signed into law in March.