The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 2:40 pm

Indiana senators back virus relief package

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Republican U.S. Sens. Mike Braun and Todd Young of Indiana expressed support Wednesday for the bipartisan agreement reached by congressional leaders and the White House for delivering coronavirus relief to the nation.

The Senate was expected to vote later in the day on the $2 trillion aid package, the third phase of federal legislation that aims to slow the spread of the virus and mitigate economic damage.

"The coronavirus impacts our health and our economy, and I will be supporting this assistance package which provides massive assistance for our hospitals and those on the frontlines fighting this virus, reaches out to directly help workers keep their jobs and provide immediate help to those who have lost their jobs, and provides the single largest Main Street assistance program in history for small business owners to keep their doors open, which I was personally involved with securing," Braun said in a statement.

“While it’s shameful that Congress wasted so much time bickering over this desperately-needed relief, now we must work together as one country to flatten the coronavirus curve so we do not flatten our economy," he said.

The relief package includes up to $1,200 in direct cash payments for many Americans, loans and grants for businesses, expanded unemployment assistance and funds for health care providers and state and local governments. The House is expected to vote Thursday on the legislation.

"I'm just happy that it appears the Senate is poised to pass an emergency relief package later today that's going to provide much needed assistance for rank-and-file Hoosiers and to other Americans and make sure they have a place to go back to work to once we can get on the other side of this pandemic," Young said in an interview broadcast by the Fox Business Network.

Young said the Senate legislation is a "survival package" for businesses large and small, and he singled out Indiana's automobile and recreational vehicle manufacturers and suppliers as an industry sector that "essentially ground to a halt" during the widespread shutdown of many commercial activities.

"We need to make sure that those workers, who are really sacrificing on behalf of their fellow Americans by staying home so that there is no community spread (of the coronavirus), we need to make sure they're taken care of, which is what this package is all about," Young said on the talk show "Varney & Co."

He added hotels, bakers, optometrists and "you name it" to those Indiana businesses struggling to survive the pandemic.

"Small businesses are out of cash or will soon be out of cash," Young said. "So we need to cover their fixed costs, their utilities, their rents, their payroll, and that's what the aim of this package is," Young said.

Braun said in his statement that Indiana residents "should be incredibly proud" of Hoosiers in the executive branch who "have been helping President Trump steer our country through these unprecedented times," including Vice President Mike Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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