(CBS4) – Colorado’s two U.S. senators say there’s an urgent need to provide economic relief to residents in the state as coronavirus continues to spread and unprecedented measures are taken to try to stop it. Late in the day on Wednesday Sen. Cory Gardner and Sen. Michael Bennet both voted for the $2 trillion emergency package, which passed through the Senate with a 96-0 vote and moves to the House of Representatives for a Friday vote.
Gardner, a Republican, and Bennet, a Democrat, say they’re happy with the bipartisanship that took place to get the bill drafted and signed in a timely manner.
Gardner was released from coronavirus quarantine on Wednesday, just in time to speak on the Senate floor before the final vote.
“The most important thing about this bill is to get direct assistance to the American people as quickly as possible,” Gardner said. “I wish this had been done days ago, but it needs to be done now without delay, no excuses.”
Bennet said in a statement this “bipartisan agreement is a major step toward addressing the unprecedented scope of this crisis and the need for urgent action to support American workers and families.”
Lengthy negotiations between Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and White House officials took place before Wednesday’s vote on the legislation, which includes cash payments of $1,200 to most Americans earning under $75,000 per year. Loans would also be offered to small businesses and state and local governments.
“The extra time taken to get this right resulted in a much better final product,” Bennet said.
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has been overwhelmed with unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, Coloradans filed about 40,000 claims, that’s six times more than the week before.