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Pa. Lawmakers, Leaders React To Passing Of $900B Coronavirus Relief Package

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The passing of another nationwide Coronavirus relief package is like a sigh of relief for many lawmakers -- including those who don't fully agree with the deal.

There is positive feedback coming from local legislators and leaders about the passing of this relief package.

But some have expressed concerns that it's leaving out some important workers.

Representative Guy Reschenthaler (R, PA-14) said the following:

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"I am proud to support another round of assistance to hardworking Pennsylvanians whose livelihoods have been devasted by draconian statewide shutdowns."

"This legislation provides much-needed relief to our nation's small businesses and families, facilitates the distribution of Operation Warp Speed vaccines, and ensures we can safely reopen schools and our economy.  It is unacceptable that Speaker Pelosi's irresponsible brinkmanship and political posturing needlessly delayed these bipartisan relief efforts, but I am glad Congressional Democrats finally put politics aside to help the American people."

Representative Mike Kelly (R, PA-16) said:

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"While these measures provide temporary relief, the real solution to our economic and emotional well-being is to open the economy and get people back to work."

Meanwhile, Mayor Bill Peduto believes this COVID relief package is leaving out some that should benefit.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all on every level – as individuals, as communities, as cities, as states and as a country. All of us are looking to Congress for relief and assistance.  I, and mayors around the country, am profoundly disappointed that direct financial assistance for cities was removed from the latest COVID relief package. With the exclusion of cities from this stimulus package, our first responders and frontline essential workers who have worked tirelessly during this pandemic to protect our communities will be hurt the most. What this country needs is a comprehensive recovery bill like the Heroes Act that the House Democrats passed six months ago.

With expirations on direct protections for Americans looming, I am grateful for the relief that the package does deliver, including unemployment compensation protections, rental assistance programs, critical support for restaurants and small businesses and relief for music and entertainment venues. I am grateful that there is some relief for families, but those of us working directly with these families know that $600 is not enough to relieve struggling families of the devastating effects the pandemic has had on their livelihood.

Our local and national economies cannot recover or survive without real relief. Our communities cannot flourish with businesses shuttering. Economists have made it clear that a comprehensive stimulus will poise our economy for recovery, and it will save lives and our communities. I am confident that the new Congress and administration will revisit the commitment to direct relief for cities and pass an additional stimulus package that fully meets the needs of our country."

Representative Conor Lamb (D, PA-17) praised lawmakers in both parties:

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"Too many families were stretched too thin for far too long this year.  Our constituents have demanded – over and over again – that we set politics aside and just meet basic needs for cash and food.

"Finally, we are doing that in this bill, which is a credit to pragmatists in both parties who simply did not give up.  We must do more in the new year without delay, but for now, the extra unemployment assistance, cash payments, and small business aid are a step in the right direction, and a reason to continue believing that our government can work if we just put the country first."


U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) provided the following statement surround the spending bill, saying that he feels 'the good it does outweighs the bad':


"For the fourth time this year, Congress has passed major spending legislation to help the American people cope with the economic and public health fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is much in this bill that I disagree with, including wasteful government spending and misguided policies that will dampen the recovery, the good it does outweighs the bad.

"I am glad that Congress is extending unemployment eligibility for the self-employed and gig workers; reauthorizing the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses hurt by government shutdowns; picking up virtually the entire cost of the distribution and administering of the COVID-19 vaccine to the American people; and providing substantial assistance for education so children can safely return to school.

"In this legislation, Senate Republicans also secured an unqualified victory for taxpayers with the wind down of the successful emergency lending facilities established in the CARES Act – just as Congress intended and the law requires. Without these protections, the risk for mischief with the Fed's extraordinary powers was far too real. Concerns about possible political interference are greatly diminished since the law now redirects more than $429 billion of unused funds to offset about half of the cost of this bill and ensures these facilities cannot be restarted or replicated in the future without congressional approval."

The legislation will now go to the White House and will need President Trump's signature to become law.

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