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Gianforte Urges Leaders to Include Montana Priorities in Coronavirus Legislation

March 19, 2020
Press Release

Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) this afternoon called on congressional leaders to include critical Montana priorities in legislation addressing the COVID-19 outbreak and its fallout.

“I urge you to remember the health care and economic needs of rural and frontier communities as well as the long-term impact Montana communities face as a result of this pandemic. Please ensure rural health care receives the support it needs, and help industries that are part of the foundation of our Montana economy – from agriculture to energy to travel, tourism, and hospitality – weather this storm and these unprecedented times,” Gianforte wrote in a letter to Republican and Democratic leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

In his letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Gianforte called for any future legislative package addressing the COVID-19 outbreak to include:

  • Supporting critical sectors of Montana’s economy, including agriculture, energy, and travel, tourism, and hospitality industries;
  • Providing aid and relief to Montana workers and businesses;
  • Increasing access to broadband in rural and frontier communities to improve critical telehealth services and provide students with educational resources;
  • Expanding telehealth services to rural health centers and community health centers;
  • Providing long-term reauthorization to critical public health programs, including community health centers;
  • Improving access to health care by allowing physicians assistants and nurse practitioners to increase their roles into home health care; and
  • Ensuring support to local governments in rural and frontier communities which face drastically reduced revenues, and fixing the formula for Payments in Lieu of Taxes that currently puts small communities at a disadvantage for federal support.

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Gianforte has held regular calls with leaders at every level of government, Montana health care providers, local public health officials, small business owners, workers, and ag producers.

To confront the pandemic, Gianforte voted for Phase One and Phase Two of the legislative response to the crisis.

On March 4, Gianforte voted for the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that provides nearly $8 billion for our nation’s response, including more than $4 billion to make diagnostic tests more broadly available, $2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) response efforts, and $20 million for disaster assistance loans. President Trump signed the bill into law on March 6.

On March 14, Gianforte voted for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that confronts the outbreak and its fallout. The legislation waives the testing fee for COVID-19; provides emergency paid sick and family leave for workers impacted by COVID-19, for which small businesses will be reimbursed; provides $1.25 billion to provide emergency nutritional assistance for more vulnerable populations; and expands unemployment insurance benefits. President Trump signed the measure into law on March 18.

Read Gianforte’s full letter to congressional leaders HERE.