Mitt Romney tells Park City audience he anticipates another assistance package this summer
Sen. Mitt Romney on Friday said he anticipates another federal assistance package by the end of July or in early August, indicating such a package could involve an extension of unemployment benefits as well as other sorts of aid.
Romney, a Republican, appeared in an online event hosted by City Hall as part of an ongoing effort by Park City officials to provide information about the local response to the impact of the novel coronavirus.
Romney and 4th Congressional District Rep. Ben McAdams, a Democrat, joined Mayor Andy Beerman and City Councilor Max Doilney during the online event.
Romney’s comments were especially notable as he spoke about the possibilities of further assistance from Washington. Romney acknowledged the first steps of federal assistance were made rapidly, amid an emergency, but additional ones will take longer as individual members of Congress seek their own attachments to an assistance package.
He said he anticipates another assistance package to involve funding for states and local governments as well as liability protections, such as addressing the possibility that businesses are sued after someone contracts the coronavirus. Romney also predicted the package will involve an extension of unemployment benefits. There could be a clause preventing someone from receiving more money in unemployment benefits than they earned previously, he said.
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Romney also addressed the Paycheck Protection Program, federal assistance enacted in response to the economic impacts of the coronavirus that has provided financial help to businesses. He supported the idea that the Paycheck Protection Program loans are expected to be converted into grants if the businesses that received them followed the rules.
McAdams added that he agreed with Romney on much of the senator’s comments regarding another assistance package. He said there could be a transportation angle in the further stimulus. Still, McAdams said, the recovery will be lengthy.
Doilney, a businessman, appeared especially interested in the comments about the assistance. In one question to Romney, the city councilor talked about the confusion regarding whether the loans will be forgiven. Romney responded by saying he anticipates the federal Small Business Administration will be flexible in providing forgiveness for the loans to the businesses that followed the rules governing the program.
McAdams, meanwhile, spoke about his coronavirus diagnosis in mid-March. He recalled he was at home and was tired, a little sick at first and aching. McAdams said three days into the illness, his symptoms reached the lungs, he had difficulty breathing and he had temperature. He later suffered from lightheadedness and was out of breath. He went to a hospital and was put into the intensive-care unit, needing supplemental oxygen. The days were scary as he fought the illness, he said.
McAdams told the audience on Friday to be careful for the sake of themselves and others. He spoke about the danger of someone spreading the coronavirus and resulting in the death of another.
“You don’t want that on your conscience,” McAdams said.
He also said wearing masks is responsible and slows the spread of the illness. He noted the economic benefits of slowing the spread.
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