WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed a package including additional COVID relief and annual government funding:
“This legislation will bring some relief to families and people who have been hit hard by this virus. It will send help to our schools, hospitals, and small businesses. It includes provisions I fought for, including an increase in assistance for people who are food insecure, relief for agriculture, and support for our local airports through this tough time.
“In March, Congress was able to work to quickly pass critical pandemic relief. While it took too long to respond and provide this latest assistance, it is important we were finally able to pass this bill. It proves we can still work together for the American people.”
The relief package includes some of Senator Fischer’s key priorities and pieces of legislation, including:
- A temporary 15% increase in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help struggling families afford food after Senator Fischer called for its inclusion
- $13 billion for ag producers, including cow/calf producers and feeders who faced reduced prices as well pork producers who were forced to depopulate their herds during the pandemic. Biofuels producers are also eligible for payments
- The AIR Act, which will provide Nebraska airports with greater certainty as they plan for future infrastructure products
- The PIPES Act, which will reauthorize the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) pipeline safety programs, ensure states have the resources they need for pipeline safety, examine new safety technology, and reform and update regulations
- A five-year extension of the paid family leave tax credit, the U.S.’s first ever nationwide paid family leave policy
- This extension means businesses will be able to take advantage of this program and offer paid family leave to their employees who are caring for their families while juggling workplace responsibilities.
- The American COMPETE Act, which will advance American competitiveness in emerging next-gen technologies
- The Railroad Employee Equality and Fairness (REEF) Act, which helps railroaders during the pandemic who have lost their jobs or missed work with an illness receive the unemployment and sickness benefits they deserve.
- $15 million to speed implementation of the medical surge capacity Senator Fischer introduced in the defense authorization bill, enhancing civilian-military partnerships to improve federal pandemic response and offering universities like UNMC the chance to participate.