The U.S. Senate has passed the largest rescue bill in American history.

The $2 trillion rescue package will send funds to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Montana Senator Steve Daines outlined the package during a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon.

“I’ve been speaking with many Montanans who have lost their jobs,” said Daines. “I believe that the current unemployment claim count in Montana is approaching 15,000 today. It was at 14,300 last night and that’s just the claims that have been submitted in the last eight days.”

Daines said that $350 billion has been given to American small businesses.

“These are grants, not loans and they are forgivable as long as small business continue to make their payroll, pay their rent and maintain their workforce,” he said. “There’s also $250 billion for unemployment insurance. This is to provide immediate relief to our workers who have lost their jobs, In fact, this will be about $600 more per week than they would normally receive from the state of Montana and in fact, it would more than double their unemployment check.”

Daines addressed the funding for healthcare.

“I’ve been on the phone with our hospitals, and their number one request is for more personal protective equipment on the front lines,” said Daines. “This is also true for our first responders, our nurses, and there’s $16 billion in this bill for personal protective equipment. There’s an additional $100 billion for our hospitals who are facing shortfalls at the moment because they have shut down their elective procedures in anticipation of more coronavirus patients.”

Daines said Montana will also receive a good sized chunk of the COVID 19 relief.

“It looks like Montana will receive about $1.25 billion, which is part of $150 billion for local and state governments provided for in the bill.” he said. “I just got off a conference call with our county commissioners and they’re talking about their needs and some of the reductions in their work forces they’ve had to make. 45 percent of that $1.25 billion will have to go to local governments, so this will be a big boost to the state of Montana and our local governments.”

Daines said the payments to individuals of $1200 per person and $2400 per couple and $500 per child will not be counted as taxable income.

Daines was asked about the future cost of the rescue bill to the American people.

“It is continuing to add to the debt of the country,” he said. “That is a concern for many of us, however, at this moment in time to allow the economy to crash would have a far greater cost to the largest economy in the world of some $20 trillion than to use these extraordinary means here to allow workers to keep their jobs and the economy to keep moving forward.”

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