WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today released the following statement after the Senate passed COVID-19 relief as a part of the end-of-year spending bill, which passed with over 90 votes in favor. For the past month, Romney has played a leading role in negotiations to reach agreement on a final emergency relief bill before the end of the year. Reflecting Senator Romney’s priorities, the $908 billion deal limits new spending by repurposing unused money from the first CARES Act. The deal also funds the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), extends help for the unemployed, provides rental assistance, and funding for testing, tracing and vaccine distribution.
“Over the past month, I have worked in a small bipartisan coalition that crafted an emergency relief bill that provides assistance to those who need it most,” Senator Romney said. “I’m pleased that Congressional leaders used our legislation as the basis for the final package that has now passed both Houses. Among its provisions, the legislation extends federal unemployment benefits, provides emergency relief for small businesses, and supports health care providers and vaccine distribution. Thousands of Americans are in dire need of the lifeline this legislation provides, and I urge the President to sign it without delay.”
Summary of Romney-backed provisions in relief package:
- Limitation on new spending by repurposing a total of $567 billion in CARES Act money for a total of $341 billion in new spending.
- Paycheck Protection Program
- $284.5 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, providing for a second forgivable PPP loan available to the hardest hit businesses and non-profits.
- Extends unemployment insurance through March 14, 2021. Unemployed individuals will receive an additional $300 a week on top of their traditional unemployment benefit.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) extended through March 14, 2021 to ensure gig workers and self-employed individuals continue to receive support.
- Provides $25 billion for rental assistance through the Treasury Department’s Coronavirus Relief Fund.
- $19.69 billion to BARDA for vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics development.
- $8.75 billion to CDC for vaccine distribution, administration, and monitoring.
- $22.4 billion for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and surveillance.
- $45 billion to support the transportation sector, including $16 billion to support the airline industry. Romney is a cosponsor of the Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act, legislation aimed at preventing massive layoffs of airline workers.
- $82 billion to support schools, including $2.75 billion in designated funds which Romney helped secure for private and parochial K-12 schools.
- $13 billion to support farmers and agriculture sector.
Grants for Shuttered Venue Operators (Save our Stages)
- $15 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make grants to eligible live venue operators or promoters, theatres, museums, and cinemas, who demonstrate a 25% or greater revenue reduction.
- At the beginning of the month, Senator Romney and his colleagues announced a bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 emergency relief framework, which was the result of weeks of member discussions in which Romney fought for targeted relief to those most in need.
- Last week, Senator Romney and bipartisan group of colleagues announced two COVID-19 emergency relief bills which would provide as much as $908 billion in relief to American students, families, businesses, workers, and health care providers. This legislation formed the basis for the final emergency relief package that passed Congress today.
- On Sunday, Senator Romney and his colleagues applauded the final COVID-19 emergency relief package and urged Congress to act on it immediately.