$1.25 Billion in Pandemic Relief Funds Arrive in Montana, Tester Announces
Tester secured $1.25 billion for Montana’s State-Local Relief Fund in coronavirus legislative package
U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced that the United States Treasury Department has finally provided Montana with $1.25 billion in funds for the State-Local Coronavirus Relief fund for the state of Montana.
“Communities across Montana are in need of this critical support, and these funds will help our frontline workers combating the virus keep our communities safe,” said Tester. “With this pandemic, proper preparation saves lives—that’s something that Governor Bullock and folks in Montana understand and it has informed their steady leadership throughout this crisis. I will continue fighting to make sure Montana has the resources it needs to slow the spread of the virus and get back to work.”
Montana's $1.25 billion in funding is available directly to the state from the Treasury Department and requires no state or local matching requirement. Montana’s Governor will be able to use these funds for necessary expenditures to secure Montana's public health and combat the outbreak, including construction of emergency beds as well as the purchase of personal protective equipment, masks and medical supplies, among others.
Tester has been pushing Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for weeks to quickly provide these funds to Montana and continues pushing for the Department to expand eligibility for these resources to be used for lost revenue. In early April, he sent Secretary Mnuchin a letter outlining the critical nature of this aid for Montana and urging its immediate disbursal:
"Montana's state, local and Tribal governments are fighting on the front lines of this pandemic," wrote Tester. "It is critical that this money is getting swiftly into the hands of the folks that need it. Montana and other states are making the necessary expenditures to combat the COVID-19 public health emergency, and for funds allocated to states proportionally based on population, the Department of Treasury should not need or use the full 30 days allowed in the CARES Act."
Tester secured $1.25 billion for Montana as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which is a part of $150 billion made available to state, local and Tribal governments to set up local relief funds. This funding was not included in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's initial draft legislation but was added as a result of negotiations by Tester and his colleagues to make sure the package was directed at providing relief to working Montanans and small businesses, not just corporations.
Tester has been working tirelessly to ensure that Montana is prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Senate last month, after 72 hours negotiating substantial, bipartisan improvements to COVID-19 stimulus legislation that had previously fallen far short of providing adequate support for Montanans, Tester voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and others hardest hit by the outbreak.
The full text of Tester's letter to Mnuchin can be found HERE.
Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresources for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak.