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‘Relief is finally on the way’: Wyden, Merkley hail passage of COVID relief package

WASHINGTON (KTVZ) -- Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., praised the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that Senate Democrats passed in a narrow, party-line vote Saturday.

Wyden's initial statement:

“Democrats have succeeded in passing the boldest economic relief package in recent memory. Our bill continues the historic actions Democrats have taken on behalf of jobless Americans, sends relief payments to working- and middle-class families in Oregon and nationwide, cuts child poverty in half, and boosts the take home pay of millions of essential workers like grocery store clerks and home health aides. This package also provides critical aid to states, cities, and local communities to prevent massive budget shortfalls and permanent layoffs of teachers and firefighters. Democrats learned the lessons of the Great Recession, and committed to advancing economic relief that meets the unprecedented needs of the American people during this crisis. Our work is not over, and we will soon turn to rebuilding an economy that works for all Americans over the long-term.

“Bottom line, the American Rescue Plan took one huge step today to provide the ongoing help that Oregonians and our entire country need to weather this public health crisis and its devastating economic fallout.”

Wyden also issued this statement on the unemployment benefits extension:

“My goal throughout this process has been to secure the strongest possible package for jobless workers that could pass the Senate. This agreement continues the $300 weekly boost, extends benefits longer than the House proposal, and provides much-needed relief to jobless workers being hit with surprise tax bills without any way to pay them. Republicans are standing in lockstep against tax relief for Americans with a few hundred bucks in the bank after demanding billions in write-offs for wealthy investors.

“Adding hundreds of dollars to weekly benefits and covering gig workers and the self-employed has been the boldest action Congress has ever taken to support jobless Americans during an economic crisis. At every stage, Democrats have pushed the strongest possible jobless package and Republicans have opposed. Going back to the CARES Act, Republicans’ only amendment on the floor was to cut jobless benefits. 

“As the author of the original $600 per week boost in the CARES Act, I would have preferred a higher weekly boost tied to economic conditions. This whole process underscores the need to put a stop to jumping from cliff to cliff. There would be no need to predict the level of economic support needed in six months because benefits would taper down gradually as conditions improve. I’m going to continue talking to my colleagues and pushing for triggers as we move forward.”

And there was this news release on one program in the legislation:


Program will provide $1 billion per year to help counties and tribes hard hit by the economic downturn

Washington, D.C. – As part of the Senate-passed COVID-19 relief package, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., established a new program to help rural counties with large tracts of federal lands and Tribes hard hit by the economic downturn.  

The new $1 billion-per-year payments program will give these counties and Tribes a boost to continue providing essential services to their communities, which is especially critical with the current expiration of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. Wyden will work with Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, as well as the counties and Tribes to set up the new Wyden program to make payments based on economic conditions in each county and Tribe.

“These particular rural counties and Tribes were delivered a devastating blow when COVID-19 hit their communities. They are barely hanging on when it comes to resources for their schools, roads, and health services,” Wyden said. “Funding for these communities is urgently needed, and this new program will ease some of the burden and set us on a path to find long-term permanent funding solutions.”

More details on the provision can be found in Wyden's statement for the congressional record on the new program. A PDF of the statement is available here.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley issued this news release on the bill's passage:

Merkley Votes to Pass the American Rescue Plan to Send Stimulus Checks to Struggling Americans, Support Frontline Workers and Main Street Businesses, Open Schools Safely, and Establish National Vaccine Distribution Strategy

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after a marathon of votes that culminated in the Senate passage of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan:

“Good news, America: Relief is finally on the way. The American Rescue Plan is going to put money in people’s pockets, vaccines in their arms, kids in classrooms, and open signs on Main Street businesses. And it’s not a moment too soon.

“This past year will go down in our nation’s history books as one of our most difficult and frightening chapters. More than half a million Americans—including over two thousand Oregonians—have lost their lives to the coronavirus. Millions have lost their jobs, and are struggling to keep the lights on and stay in their homes. Frontline workers—especially those in vulnerable and medically underserved communities—are still facing shortages of personal protective equipment. Educators are working tirelessly to keep educating our children, some of whom have not stepped foot in a classroom for nearly a full year. State and local governments have lost critical revenue they need to pay firefighters and first responders.

“For too long, the American people have been waiting for the kind of bold, decisive action it’s going to take to beat back this virus, get Americans back on their feet, and safely re-open our schools. Today’s vote means that kind of relief is finally within sight—including stimulus checks; extended unemployment insurance for the 20 million Americans who are relying on the program and would otherwise lose it at the end of next week; resources local governments need to provide vital services; support for our frontline workers and Main Streets; resources to safely help get students back in the classroom; and a national strategy to make testing easier and vaccines distributed as quickly as possible.

“While much work remains to be done in the coming months to help our communities survive and recover during this crisis, this relief package is an enormous step forward. I look forward to continuing to work with Oregonians, my colleagues, and with President Biden to build on this progress.”

The legislation must now be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives before heading to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

KTVZ news sources



  1. It must be really tough work Ron. You just borrowed 1.9 Trillion dollar from the taxpayers of this once great nation, and gave them back about $600 Billion. You gabe $120 Billion to teachers Union who have refused to go back to work for a year, and haven’t event spent the $68 Billion they were already given. This bill is Mt worth the paper it was printed on. You really should be honored for all that hard work. Pathetic that this is the best this Congress has

  2. These 2 duds won’t respond to calls or e-mails all they do is applaud stupid. It isn’t their money and they suck off the public trough and they could care less about their bosses who are the tax payers.

      1. I’ve been here 82 + years and this the most stupid it has ever been. Democrats have set this country on a tail spin. Hang in there President Biden who is sick and being abused by his party and no one voted for his VP who couldn’t get 1% of the votes in the primaries. So maybe you should go to Texas you might learn something.

    1. Why would they reply to anyone? They don’t care. They just got access to trillions of dollars to give to their connected buddies.

  3. Relief…? What a joke. Yep that $1400 is going to do wonders for the thousands that are behind on rent and mortgages. Except they owe thousands. $1400 might get them into a new place.

        1. Losers like you depend on government care. You just can’t live without your big daddy government taking care of everything. You’re losers. Your philosophy is for losers. your politicians depend on losers. The rest of us want choices. And by the way. I don’t buy Obamacare.

  4. Here’s what Wyden meant to say… “Democrats have succeeded in destroying the nations economy closing your schools, initiating Martial Law but calling it stay home- stay afraid, ruining your businesses, and fooling you all into focusing all your attention on a mild virus with a 99% survival rate that has no effect on children- just so we could steal a Presidential election and insert a geriatric old man with second stage onset dementia for a few years. Props to us for pulling off the greatest heist and con ob in the history of the planet. Now the Demokrat party will move to the next stage- never ending control of your lives as we decide who lives and who dies on the Demokrat plantation of futility.” Yup- that’s exactly what Ronnie meant to say- but was told to tone down his victory speech- Joe’s still napping !

  5. How do you sleep at night Ron?

    You should feel disgusted and ashamed the way you and Pelosi held on to this for political gain.

    Do you know how many working moms and children suffered for so long because of your delay?

    Do you know how many people you forced out of their homes and caused them to be homeless?

    I know for certain, it was many!!

    And for all you shallow people out there who love to make fun of Trumps hair or over tan face.

    You got nothing about Wyden? Really!!??

      1. Do all the progressives like you get the same talking points for the same places? You say the exact same things as every other progressive on every other website with comments.

  6. /satire

    Official T-Anon drop.

    All true red blooded Republicans are ordered to donate their relief payments to the Trump Grievance Culture Fund. The Donald has his agents constantly checking on the level of loyalty to him which means Republicans who do not give their relief payments to him will be rounded up during the Coming Storm®, due on March 20 or April 1 or April 20 or May 1 or whenever it gets here and publicly desposed of during the Great Awakening® ceremony as The Donald is coronated and ascends to the High Throne.
    Send that money, he is watching you !

    More T-Anon drops to follow, stay tuned.


    1. Hey T, and Tio…

      News Flash for you. Most Republicans recognize that QAnon is a far right radical movement that we do not endorse, or subscribe to their conspiracy beliefs. To try and paint those broad strokes will cost the left in 2022 and 2024.

  7. Where do I get in line for mine? Let’s all step up to the trough and pig out. And there is more to come! Give me, give me, give me, because I “earned” it.

  8. This is an awesome opportunity for Cult45 to show their hypocrisy. They will cry about pork in this bill but not the one just last year that might have even been porkier.

    1. Along with your incorrect comment below, the federal revenues increased after the tax cuts. In Trillions: 2017 – 3,316.2, 2018 – 3,329.9, 2019 – 3,464.2, 2020 – 3,706.3.

      When you decrease the tax rate, the tax base is increased. ie: More people paying less taxes will provide greater revenues than fewer people paying a higher rate.

  9. There’s nothing quite like giving away $1.9T you haven’t got…and must borrow it. Who from? China, maybe? and what happens when China calls in its debt???

      1. President Trump did a lot of things through tax cuts- most notably he incentivized large manufacturers like Apple-Nike-Microsoft-Ford to close down their overseas/off-shored factories and return to America and employ US citizens. This simple act addressed multiple issues employment, racial bias and inequality record economic growth and issues like climate change- as countries like China Brazil India, and Mexico don’t have Government oversight like the DEQ-EPA-DOT-OSHA. Kommie Joe has just reversed all of President Trump’s major achievements (especially before the attack from China) back to a time period that has already proven to be a complete failure- why would anyone support that- because Bernie Sanders wants everyone to live like the Russians ???

      2. Yeah, for all of those business owners who were giving everyone jobs! Everybody wins!

        How you fools don’t understand this baffles me. Now, you want to try $15.00 bucks an hour?! Are you crazy! The left sure knows how to destroy an economy. Might as well destroy the border while your at it.

      3. Oh please. The tax cuts “for the wealthy” benefited everyone. When “the wealthy” pay the vast majority of the taxes of course they get a bigger break. I myself got a great tax cut. My business increased nearly 4 fold thanks to the economic policies of Trump’s adminstration. You know what those tax cuts meant for me and my business? I paid more taxes than EVER because business was so good. But I assume you have no idea what it’s like to be a business owner. Or if you’re like the other progressive clowns that comment here you’ll say you have a wildly successful business that pays a “living wage” and never takes a tax deduction.

  10. It’s funny that these two idiots have nothing but praise for the bill,
    but they conveniently forgot to mention the billions of dollars that the
    U.S tax payers will be giving to other countries, and it has absolutely
    nothing to do with the virus.

  11. How does bailing out Nancy Pelosi’s district and San Fransisco’s city debt provide relief from covid? How does bailing out New York’s debt and pensions for Shumer provide relief from Covid. It’s almost as if politicians are prolonging the shut downs to give them cover to print huge amounts of money for their political interests and vote buying.

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