It’s called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act. And while it won’t erase the widespread impacts of COVID-19, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say it’s a step in the right direction.
“I'm voting for this approved bill because we urgently need to get more assistance to families and resources to healthcare workers on the frontlines," said Democratic Senator Jon Tester.
Republican Senator Steve Daines: “This is not a republican or democrat moment. It's so much bigger than that and that's not lost on the men and women who are serving back here in Congress. We truly are in a moment where we're having both a public health and an economic crisis. I've never seen a situation like this in my lifetime.”
The two trillion dollar package includes tens of billions of dollars to help small businesses get through closures and layoffs, money for unemployment, resources for healthcare facilities, and ten billion dollars for Indian Country, among other measures.
The big question on many Montanans’ minds: where’s my check?
The legislation includes $1,200 per person who makes less than $75,000 a year, and an additional $500 for children. We’re told the goal is to get those checks signed and in the mail as soon as possible. And for many, it can’t come quickly enough.
“[I’m] Hearing heartbreaking stories of Montana men and women who have lost their jobs. I believe the current unemployment claim count in Montana is approaching 15,000 today," said Senator Daines.
And while things may be looking up on the economic and political fronts, the future of Coronavirus in the United States is about as clear in Washington as it is here in Montana.
"I don't know how this is going to run its course. I don't know if it's going to be 30 days, 60 days, 120 days... but in the end we certainly don't want to end up like Italy," said Senator Tester.