U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today issued the following statement after the Senate passed bipartisan legislation to provide targeted coronavirus relief to the American people.
“After months of needless delay, I am thankful that we have finally come to an agreement to address the most critical priorities to continue to help the American people through the coronavirus pandemic,” said Thune. “This targeted package will provide much-needed relief to the families, medical professionals, and small business employees who have shouldered the weight of this pandemic, and it provides additional funding for widespread distribution of the safe and effective coronavirus vaccines. While we could have reached this deal months ago, it comes at a critical time as vaccines are being delivered and there is finally a light at the end of this long tunnel.”
Key provisions of the bipartisan relief package:
- Extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for the hardest-hit small businesses.
- The Small Business Expense Deduction Act, which Thune cosponsored to ensure that small businesses that qualify for forgiveness of their PPP loans can still deduct their ordinary business expenses on their taxes.
- The bipartisan Paycheck Protection for Producers Act, which Thune introduced to help more farmers and ranchers benefit from PPP.
- Five-year extension of the bipartisan Employer Participation in Repayment Act, introduced by Thune and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), which would allow employers to contribute up to $5,250 tax-free to help pay down their employees’ student loans.
- Making biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel eligible for USDA assistance, at the discretion of the secretary.
- $82 billion to assist schools and universities with reopening for in-person education.
- $10 billion in grants for childcare centers to help providers safely reopen.
- $20 billion for purchasing vaccines, making the vaccine available at no cost for anyone who needs it.
- $8 billion for vaccine distribution.
- $20 billion to assist states with coronavirus testing.
- $13 billion to support farmers and the agriculture industry.
- Direct payments of $600 for individual taxpayers and children.
- Legislation introduced by Thune and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) that would improve the integrity of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and reduce the issuance of fraudulent claims by requiring beneficiaries of the program to provide documentation proving employment or planned employment in order to receive PUA benefits.
- A provision championed by Thune to make it easier for Medicare Part D recipients to access the most affordable treatment alternatives.
- $7 billion in funding for broadband deployment and expanding access to telehealth.
- Protecting patients from surprise medical bills.
- The Multifamily Depreciation Parity Act, which Senator Thune introduced to allow the depreciation of qualifying rental property in service prior to 2018 over 30 years, rather than 40 years as it is currently.