Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined 10 of his Republican colleagues in introducing a
$650 billion COVID-19 relief plan as a substitute amendment to the $1.9
trillion budget reconciliation bill. The amendment, which was built on the
COVID-19 relief plan that was unveiled
by a group of Republican Senators, was not adopted by a vote of 48-51.
package would have built on our previous bipartisan steps to deliver targeted
relief to those in need. This aid could have been out the door and put to use
weeks ago had Democrats adopted the same consensus approach that Republicans
used five separate times last year. Instead, they chose a partisan path that
only delays urgent relief in order to secure their unrelated partisan political
agenda,” Grassley said.
with Grassley, the alternative package was sponsored by U.S. Senators Susan
Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Mitt Romney
(R-Utah), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Todd Young (R-Ind.),
Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).
year, Congress came together on a bipartisan basis to pass five COVID-19 relief
bills totaling $4 trillion, and hundreds of billions of dollars of that aid is
still being allocated. Regrettably, the $1.9 trillion bill that was sent to us
by the House is largely a partisan wish list crammed with provisions that have
nothing to do with responding to the coronavirus, either from a public health
or economic perspective,” the Senators
said in a joint statement. “Our plan would have supported our overwhelmed
health care system with $160 billion to bolster vaccination and testing
programs as well as rural health care providers. It would have supported
struggling families by sending $1,400 stimulus checks to low- and middle-income
Americans, extending unemployment assistance, expanding access to child care,
and reopening classrooms. And it would have supported small businesses by
increasing funding for the PPP and EIDL programs that have saved millions of
jobs across the country. The emergency we are facing should not be an excuse
for funding partisan priorities. It’s unfortunate that the Administration and
Democrats rejected this targeted, commonsense package that would have provided
focused COVID-19 relief to the people who need it most.”
The substitute amendment included the following
FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES
COVID Pandemic Response. Provides
nearly $160 billion to support vaccine distribution, expand testing, PPE, and
to rebuild and restock the Strategic National Stockpile. This also includes $35
billion for the Provider Relief Fund to assist health care providers and
hospitals, with an $8.5 billion set-aside for rural hospitals.
Production Act. Provides $5 billion for Title III of the
Defense Production Act to help expand domestic production capacity of medical
supplies and equipment.
Relief Fund. Provides $30 billion to replenish the Disaster
Relief Fund, including $5 billion for PPE for first responders and health care
providers, including small physician and dental practices.
Provides $12.4 billion to nutrition assistance programs. This includes
additional funding for the WIC Program, Pandemic EBT, and SNAP, including
extending increased SNAP benefits through September 30, 2021.
Health Services. Provides $3.88 billion to
strengthen activities related to mental health and substance abuse. This
includes $1.5 billion for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant
and $1.5 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block
AID TO INDIVIDUALS AND SMALL BUSINESSES
federal unemployment programs through June and continues the $300 weekly
supplement. Provides $2 billion to detect and prevent fraud, provide more
equitable access, and ensure the timely payment of benefits.
Impact Payments. Provides an additional payment
of $1,400 to adults in need and provides $500 for each of their dependents.
These payments would go to single filers earning $40,000 or less with a
complete phase out by $50,000; for joint filers earning $80,000 or less
together with a complete phase out by $100,000; and heads of household earning
$60,000 or less with a complete phase out by $75,000. Payments would not be
made to undocumented immigrants or prisoners.
Business. Provides $40 billion for the
Paycheck Protection Program and extends the application deadline to June 30,
2021. Of this, $5 million is for audits and investigations. Also provides $10
billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
REOPENING SCHOOLS AND SUPPORTING CHILD CARE
Provides $19 billion to reopen K-12 schools and to keep them open. Funding will
be available to school districts that provide in-person instructions to at
least half of their students at least half of the time. Funding will also be
available for activities that support the safe reopening of schools. Also
provides $1 billion to support non-public schools with COVID-related costs.
Care. Provides $20 billion to the Child Care and Development
Block Grant program to provide immediate assistance to child care providers and
to support child care for families, including for healthcare workers and first