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Region's U.S. senators tout COVID-19 relief funding

South Dakota's Republican U.S. Sen. John Thune said the bipartisan legislation will provide critical relief to American workers, families and small businesses.

FSA U.S. Capitol closeup
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate approved additional coronavirus relief funding on Wednesday, March 18.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act will provide support to the American people through the duration of the coronavirus outbreak, ensure there is no cost barriers for Americans who need to be tested for coronavirus, regardless of their personal financial of health insurance situation, provide tax credits to employers so they can help support American workers who are adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak and increase the use and availability of telemedicine.

South Dakota's Republican U.S. Sen. John Thune said the bipartisan legislation will provide critical relief to American workers, families and small businesses.

“While this is welcome news, there’s a lot more work ahead of us to address the coronavirus’ economic impact, and Senate Republicans are prepared to stay in Washington as long as it takes to get additional legislation to the president’s desk,” Thune said in a news release.

“I’ve been working with Leader (Mitch) McConnell and my Republican colleagues to identify legislative proposals that could be included in a third legislative package, and I’m optimistic about where those conversations are headed. This is a challenging time for our country, but it’s often in challenging times that we see the very best of America. I am confident that if we pull together as a nation, we will emerge from this challenge stronger.”

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North Dakota’s Republican U.S. Sen. John Hoeven echoed Thune’s comments in a separate news release, stating that the legislation is all about ensuring families, workers and small businesses have the support needed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Broad access to diagnostic tests for the disease are critical to help officials and the public make informed decisions, and the unemployment, paid leave and nutrition provisions will provide much-needed support for those whose family, school and work lives are disrupted,” Hoeven said.

“We look forward to this bill being signed into law, and we will continue working on the future phases of our nation’s response to help stimulate the economy and ensure critical industries weather these challenges.”

U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota, said that the bill, negotiated by President Donald Trump and the House Democrats, will offer immediate relief to American workers and small businesses.

“It also provides flexibility for the Administration to direct assistance where it’s needed most,” Cramer said in a news release. “This legislation is an important step, and its passage is a necessity for the American people. Several of my colleagues have offered good amendments to this bill and excellent ideas to help mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus. However, we cannot let perfect be the enemy of the good.”

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, said that the federal government’s first priority is public health.

“This crisis is also having an enormous impact on our economic well-being. This legislation will expand much needed testing, provide emergency paid sick and family leave, strengthen unemployment insurance, and strengthen food security initiatives to protect Americans and their families as they grapple with the effects of this public health crisis in all aspects of their lives,” Klobuchar said in a news release.

“As we focus our effort on a new set of relief measures for the people of this country, we must make sure that frontline health care workers have access to critical supplies, that more American workers have paid leave benefits, that unemployment benefits are expanded, and that every American’s right to vote in the upcoming elections is protected. The American people are resilient and we will work through this together.”

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