MAINE, USA — Although members of congress are not in Washington, work hasn't stopped. Following the passage and signing of the CARE Act, the $2.2 trillion stimulus, discussions have now shifted to additional support with no clear end to the coronavirus pandemic.
"There’s a lot of work to be done by the unemployment offices, by banks, by the small business administration, and by the department of treasury," said Senator Angus King, (I) Maine.
King says the first step taken by the federal government will have to be implementation and execution of the CARE Act, insuring all funds are allocated and distributed.
Discussion have already begun however on a 4th stimulus package to provide relief to those struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. With no clear timeline of when thing will return to normal, congress is already weighing its options.
"That’s why we’re having informal discussion right now, on whether a fourth package of assistance and stimulus for our economy may be necessary," said Senator Susan Collins, (R) Maine.
Senator King says he's also been included in discussion of what may be seen in another stimulus package, but there has been no action taken.
"Will it be another major package, will it simply be a correction of things that didn’t work out as expected in this bill, but that’s already very much in discussion," said Sen. King.
Last week, all four members of Maine's congressional delegation wrote a letter to the director of the Department of Homeland Security who oversees the National Stockpile, requesting additional personal protective equipment for Maine.
According to Dr. Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine CDC, the state received only 5 percent of requested PPE and is facing a critical shortage.
Senator King says he's also been working with Senators from across the country in an effort to hold sessions remotely.
"They're trying to drag the senate into the 21st century so that in a situation like this, we can meet remotely and vote remotely," said Sen. King.
He added however that he sees overwhelming value in meeting personally, but that meeting and voting remotely could play an important role during the uncertain time.
The Senate is expected to return to Washington on April 20. Both Senators King and Collins are back in Maine working remotely.
At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.newscentermaine.com/coronavirus.