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Tillis, Burr supported $2 trillion coronavirus relief package

By Liz Moomey

liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Late Wednesday night, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a coronavirus emergency relief bill, with the support of both of North Carolina’s senators.

Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, Republicans, joined the 96-0 vote.

U.S. House leaders expect it will get approval today.

The $2.2 trillion package includes $500 billion for loans and guarantees to businesses, state and local governments, $350 billion in loans for companies with 500 employees or fewer, including nonprofits, self-employed people and hotel and restaurant chains with up to 500 workers per location., $260 billion for emergency unemployment insurance, $150 billion for health care and $150 billion for aid to state and local governments.

The package calls for $27 billion for research and development of vaccines and treatments, stockpiling medical supplies for coronavirus treatments.

It also includes direct payments to people — up to $1,200 per adult, $2,400 per couple and $500 per child.

Burr said in a statement the ability to confront the coronavirus pandemic in the coming weeks depends on the action Congress takes today.

“Doctors, nurses, small businesses, and families are all facing unprecedented strain and need immediate resources to weather this storm,” he said. “This emergency funding package will provide immediate liquidity to struggling businesses and families, help stabilize our nation’s key industries, and expand unemployment insurance. Most importantly, this bill supports the brave health care workers and first responders fighting the coronavirus outbreak on the frontlines. 

Tillis commented on the next steps the federal government should take.

“We need to take a look at how this is working, and also keep track at how well we are fighting the virus, and then be prepared to do as many other phases as we need to, hopefully none, but we have to be prepared to respond as we learn more about the virus and the economy’s reaction to this latest bill,” he said.

Tillis said all Americans are responsible for trying to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and staying at home is the best way.

“The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner health care facilities will be available for those who are going to have complications,” Tillis said. “The vast majority of us will not. The vast majority of us will heal just by staying at home and tending this virus the way you do the common cold or flu. Some will have serious conditions and we have to do everything we can to make sure that the health care facilities in North Carolina are prepared to tend to those patients.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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