In the Electric City, Tester joins Local Small Business & Economic Leaders to Examine How COVID Relief is Helping the Community

Senator: “The American Rescue Plan provides critical resources that’ll get Montana businesses, schools, and communities reopened as quickly as possible.”

During a visit to the Electric City earlier today, U.S. Senator Jon Tester joined Celtic Cowboy owner Peter Jennings, Great Falls City Commissioner Mary Moe, and the Great Falls Development Authority’s Brent Doney to discuss ways the recent COVID relief package directly benefits small businesses, the local economy, and the Great Falls community.

Tester and the community leaders gathered at the Celtic Cowboy to talk about how the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is targeting local economies by providing small businesses and municipal governments with critical relief and necessary resources to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Following their discussion, they opened up the floor for questions from the media.

“More than a year into this global pandemic, we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel in large part thanks to the vaccine,” said Tester. “But even with good news on the way, Montanans have struggled with deep economic fallout over the last year. That’s why I fought to make sure the American Rescue Plan targets relief directly to cities like Great Falls, which is projected to see $20 million to plug revenue gaps and keep critical services like cops and firefighters on the beat. It’s also going to help a wide range of small businesses like our hospitality, tourism, and entertainment industries-so that places like the Celtic Cowboy who have been down, are not counted out.”

Tester continued: “Bottom line: The American Rescue Plan provides critical resources that’ll get Montana businesses, schools, and communities reopened as quickly as possible. It’ll help revive our economy, and we are already seeing the benefits.”

Tester was the only member of the Montana delegation to support the American Rescue Plan, and worked tirelessly to ensure the COVID relief bill provided targeted resources that will have a tangible impact on Montana’s economy. The bill includes critical relief targeting local restaurants, ensures local mayors have the resources to keep cops and firefighters on the beat, makes sure that every Montanan who wants a vaccine can get one and that schools can fully re-open and stay open safely. It also provides badly-needed relief for hard-hit Montana workers and small businesses, along with fulfilling former President Trump’s promise of $2,000 in direct payments for every American making less than $75,000.

Additionally, the American Rescue Plan includes:

  • A projected $20 million directly to the city of Great Falls to cover the costs of the pandemic, including plugging revenue gaps and keeping cops and firefighters on the beat;
  • $63 billion for existing and new COVID relief programs to aid a wider range of small businesses, particularly in the hospitality and entertainment industries, including:
    •  Around $50 million projected for Montana Economic Development Organizations to provide credit to small businesses that would not otherwise receive it;
    • $750 million in dedicated funding for the hardest hit travel, tourism, or outdoor recreation businesses; and,
    • $28.6 billion for a new grant program tailored to local restaurants.

Tester has been fighting to bring critical relief to Montana communities-big and small-to make sure they have the resources they need to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. He pushed to ensure that the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 included critical funding to get vaccines into the arms of every Montanan who wants one, helps get individuals back to work faster, reopens schools sooner, and revives the economy as quick as possible by bringing funding directly to cities, towns, and counties. He also fought to ensure the package restored full service and reinstates furloughed employees to Amtrak’s Empire Builder Line, and provided more than $380 million to help Montana’s K-12 schools reopen safely and quickly.