Durbin Calls on Congress to Quickly Pass Emergency, Bipartisan COVID-19 Relief That Prioritizes Working Families—Not Corporations

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today held a virtual news conference to discuss the need for Congress to quickly pass an emergency, bipartisan COVID-19 relief package. Durbin worked with a bipartisan group of Senators in putting together a $908 billion framework earlier this week that includes funding for state and local governments, unemployment insurance, small businesses, health care providers, testing and vaccine distribution, housing and education assistance, and more. Democratic Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have signaled support for this bipartisan framework, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to push a partisan COVID-19 relief proposal that doesn’t provide adequate help to Americans in need and includes a provision that grants corporations sweeping federal liability immunity from lawsuits related to the pandemic. 

“Too many Americans are living life on the brink, waiting anxiously for additional relief. Up to this point, Congress has failed them,” Durbin said. “For the past several weeks, I have joined a group of Senators from both sides of the aisle—Democrats and Republicans—working to come to a bipartisan agreement that will move us in the right direction. Our work has led to a $900 billion plan—a balanced deal that will help break the gridlock we’ve found ourselves in over the past nine months.  It’s not everything I wanted, but it reflects an honest compromise.”

The bipartisan framework includes:

  • $180 billion for unemployment insurance, including an extension of enhanced benefits at $300 per week 
  • $288 billion in funding for small businesses, including a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. In total, more than 225,000 loans worth nearly $23 billion were approved in Illinois in the previous rounds of PPP funding. 
  • $35 billion for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Provider Relief Fund to support hospitals, clinics, and health care workers, as well as $16 billion in funding for testing, contact tracing, and vaccine delivery and infrastructure 

·       $160 billion in state and local government funding

·       $26 billion in nutrition assistance to help feed families

·       $25 billion for rental assistance