Tester Secures Bipartisan Compromise COVID Stimulus Package, Montana Wins in Government Funding Bill

Package includes relief for unemployed Montanans, hard-hit small businesses, and funds for vaccine distribution; Senator also secured passage of Montana priorities like the CSKT Water Compact and a five year extension of the FCHIP rural health program

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement with the Senate slated to pass a compromise COVID stimulus package and an omnibus appropriations package funding the government through September 2021:

“For months, I’ve pushed leadership on both sides of the aisle to negotiate an economic stimulus package that will put our economy back on track and get Montanans back to work, and today Congress listened to Montana commonsense. No one got everything they wanted in this package, but it’s a bipartisan compromise that provides targeted support for Montana small businesses and folks who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and it will help get vaccines to folks in rural America quickly and effectively. I will keep working across the aisle to aggressively hold the federal government accountable so that relief gets into the hands of Montana families as soon as possible.”


Since March, Senator Tester has spoken to hundreds of Montana families, business owners, school administrators, and medical professionals about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Treasure State. He has been negotiating with Senators across the political spectrum for months to secure an economic stimulus deal so that Montana’s economy can reopen safely. In the COVID stimulus package, Senator Tester secured:

  • $20 billion for vaccine procurement and distribution
  • $22 billion in grants to states to support contact tracing, COVID-19 testing, and mitigation efforts to control the virus
  • An additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits through March 14, 2021
  • Extends unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals, gig workers and those who have exhausted their state benefits
  • Extends deadline for use of the Coronavirus Relief Fund for states, cities, and Tribes from the CARES Act one year, until December 31, 2021
  • $284 billion for first and second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans. Expands PPP eligibility for more critical access hospitals, local newspapers and TV and radio broadcasters, and 501(c)(6) nonprofits, including tourism promotion organizations and local chambers of commerce.
  • $15 billion for live entertainment venues
  • $65 million to implement Senator Tester’s Broadband DATA Act, which updates federal broadband funding distribution maps to ensure accurate and efficient allocation of resources
  • $250 million for the Federal Communications Commission’s COVID Telehealth Program
  • $1 billion to Indian Health Service for vaccines, testing and tracing, community health and health care provider support
  • $13 billion in direct payments for farmers and ranchers
  • $1 billion for Amtrak
  • $81 billion to support education
  • $25 billion for rental assistance, including $800 million reserved for Native American housing entities

Additionally, in the end of year omnibus appropriations package also expected to pass the Senate today, Senator Tester secured:

  • The Montana Water Rights Protection Act (S. 3019)-the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) water rights settlement-ratifying the water compact, and honoring our treaty responsibilities by providing $1.9 billion for water infrastructure and economic development on the CSKT reservation, and settling more than 10,000 water rights claims in the state water court
  • A five-year extension of the Frontier Community Health Integration Project (FCHIP), a priority for Montana’s rural hospitals
  • A provision ending surprise medical billing by out-of-network providers and taking patients out of the cross-hairs
  • The Craft Beverage Modernization Act to prevent an increase in excise tax for Montana’s brewers and distillers