Governor, Senators Urge Congress to Act on Covid-19 Relief

Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are again calling for Congress to answer the urgent need for additional coronavirus relief funding for businesses, workers, families and local governments.

“Millions of Americans continue to face economic hardships as a result of the urgent and necessary measures states have had to take to curb spiraling Covid-19 infections, preserve hospital beds, and save lives,” the three Democrats said in a joint statement Monday.

Oregon families already struggling with joblessness, food insecurity, and rent payments have been “double-impacted” by recent statewide measures to combat the spread of Covid-19, the statement said — and the state’s most vulnerable have been particularly impacted, including communities of color.

“Just as we enter what is proving to be the most trying period of the pandemic so far, federal dollars quite literally dry up,” the three said.

Federal aid provided through the CARES Act provided a “lifeline to Oregonians,” the officials said, and helped prevent the worst economic impacts of this pandemic.

The three officials said they urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “step up and work across the aisle to expeditiously pass another robust coronavirus relief bill, immediately.”

“The American people cannot wait until a new session in January,” they said. “As we enter what will likely be the darkest days of this pandemic, additional resources to states, local governments, and tribes will help prevent layoffs and unnecessary cuts to programs, and will enable states to continue important spending on protective equipment, testing, and other public health activities.”

Brown, Wyden and Merkley urged Congress to extend unemployment insurance and additional stimulus, extend the Paycheck Protection Program for businesses to help keep workers on the payroll, and offer additional coronavirus relief dollars to city, state and tribal governments.

“During this time of unprecedented need and heartbreaking loss, our country should come together and provide as much support as possible,” the three said. “Oregonians are counting on our elected officials to rise to the challenge and help them weather this storm.”

The comments echo much of what Governor Brown wrote in a letter to congressional leaders earlier this month.

The governor’s latest restrictions intended to thwart the coronavirus — which have come in the form of a “two-week freeze” that many believe will be extended — have closed bars, gyms and indoor recreational facilities and forced restaurants to return to takeout only.

Local restaurant owners have also called for the government to offer further support to small businesses they believe have been forced to bear the brunt of the pandemic.

Many federal, state and local remedies that have been offered to small businesses and workers this year have are either scheduled to expire next month — or have already expired or run out of funding.

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Wikimedia Commons photo by Alan Tennyson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License.

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