NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today released the following statement regarding the much improved bipartisan package to provide nearly $500 billion in additional federal support for small businesses, frontline hospitals and to expand COVID-19 testing:

“With today’s unanimous vote, Democrats once again showed that by standing strong we can deliver better results for the American people. At the start of these negotiations, Mitch McConnell wanted to unilaterally jam through $250 billion for the PPP without fixing any of the glaring loopholes that left so many small businesses behind as big banks and big business siphoned the lion’s share of money. And there was not a single dollar to ramp up the testing so vital to our economic recovery.

“Democrats were able to win $120 billion above the Republicans’ demand for our small businesses, as well as greater protections to ensure that small businesses most in need can access it. This includes dedicated funding for small lenders and community-based financial institutions that serve the needs of underbanked and underserved small and minority-owned businesses and nonprofits.

“We also secured $100 billion to shore up our health care system’s fight against COVID-19, including $75 billion for providers and $25 billion to begin addressing our national shortage in testing. The truth is we cannot begin to get back to normal and reopen our economy until testing for COVID-19 is widely available across all of America’s workforce.

“As important as these measures are, Congress must take bolder action as soon as possible to help the states hit hardest both by this pandemic and its economic fallout. Across America, Republican and Democratic governors alike are pleading for more help to ensure their states can wage war against COVID-19 while continuing to pay first responders and teachers, fund local health departments, pick up the trash and perform other basic functions of government at a time when local tax revenues have all but dried up.

“That’s why Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and I put forward a bold and bipartisan plan to deliver $500 billion in flexible emergency aid to the states hit hardest by the coronavirus, including to help make up for devastating revenue losses. I am encouraged by President Trump’s stated commitment to support this effort and will be working tirelessly to ensure the next round of stimulus taken up by Congress helps our states, counties, cities and local communities survive this unprecedented crisis.”