Warner urges quick passage of bipartisan stimulus agreement
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is hopeful that the Senate can vote tonight to approve a bipartisan agreement between senators and the Trump administration on a multi-trillion dollar aid package to help workers and small businesses weather the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and provide additional funding for hospitals, medical personnel and first responders on the front lines of the health crisis.
Speaking from his office in the U.S. Capitol, Warner highlighted several provisions in the bill that he said would help Virginians who are suffering economically as a result of widespread business and other closures intended to slow further spread of the virus, including:
- Direct financial assistance for Virginia families in the form of checks to most American taxpayers and their children;
- Low-interest loans to small businesses to help keep employees on payroll and stay operational until they can reopen;
- Expanded unemployment insurance for large segments of the American workforce who have previously been ineligible for unemployment benefits, including gig workers, contract workers, and the self-employed;
- Lending programs for larger employers with strong accountability and transparency measures ensuring that companies have access to credit and can’t use taxpayer money on executive bonuses or stock buybacks;
- And a massive infusion of resources to support a pandemic response, including billions of dollars for hospitals, nursing homes, community health centers, and state and local governments.
“There will be a major program to assist small businesses,” Warner said. “Think about your local restaurant, barber shop, local retail store. We will provide one of the most generous packages ever to make sure that at least for the next four to six weeks, these small businesses can keep their employees on payroll and make sure they don’t have to simply have to close down their businesses. Because with no revenue, we’ve got to keep these small businesses alive or even when we do reopen for business, many of them will not come back at all.”
Senate leaders have indicated that the bipartisan agreement will be voted on as soon as tonight and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reportedly signaled that the House is expected to pass the Senate bill and send it to the President’s desk.
Warner pushed congressional leaders to move with a sense of urgency and provide relief quickly to Virginians.
“My hope is that as this bill is rolled out, and more importantly the programs are rolled out, that we can get the assistance as quickly as possible to Americans who need it,” Warner said.