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Here's what the relief package means for you

We have reached a bipartisan agreement on a relief package for families impacted by the coronavirus — that is, all of us. It has passed in the Senate, the House should follow quickly, and the President has said he will sign the bill.

At two trillion dollars, it is the largest relief package in history. Coming to an agreement was challenging, as many corporate interests and their allies in the White House and the Republican caucus sought to extract goodies for themselves and to remove oversight provisions.

But Democrats were united and forced many improvements.

Personally, I fought to ensure that small businesses would be provided fully-forgivable loans that provide a bridge over the abyss that we're facing, and keep workers employed as much as possible.

I fought to ensure a massive surge of funding — a Marshall Plan — for our hospitals and health care system, including critical provisions to support nurses.

This bill includes funding to support child care assistance for front line medical staff, first responders, sanitation workers and other essential workers; funding for affordable housing and homelessness assistance; and funding for schools and colleges to keep our students learning safely.

Most working and middle-class families will receive a check for $1200 per adult and $500 per child in the next few weeks. It's not enough, but it's a start. Individuals who receive unemployment benefits will see a boost of $600/week above current benefit levels, and it will include self-employed workers, contractors, and gig workers as well.

And we've established critical oversight to ensure that when funds are made available to major corporations, the American people can know where the money is going and what it's intended to do. Businesses that accept federal loans must protect their workers and may not engage in stock buybacks.

On a personal level, thank you for the many notes expressing concern about my well being. In the Senate, almost all of our staff is on a work-from-home status. Like many of you, we're mostly communicating through email, phone calls, and video calls. We're minimizing votes on the floor, and when we do vote, we walk in and walk out — keeping a safe distance from each other. I feel healthy and strong.

Things look pretty dark, but we're going to get through this. We'll do what it takes to stop the spread of the coronavirus and we'll do everything we can to rebuild our economy and protect families.



Posted on March 26, 2020.

Born in the small town of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, Jeff Merkley has never lost touch with his working class roots.

As a U.S. Senator, he works every day to create opportunity for working families, stop the corruption of our democracy, and tackle the climate crisis.

A workhorse and a progressive champion, Jeff Merkley is leading a movement to get our country back on track.

Meet Jeff

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