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The Senate passed the relief package Wednesday, and Reed said his hope is that the House will vote on it shortly after that.

“We are in the midst of a mushrooming crisis that requires an immediate and massive federal response,” Reed said in a tweet. “I was able to include a $150B State Stabilization Fund in the Emergency Coronavirus Economic Rescue Agreement that will direct $1.25 billion in economic help for Rhode Island.”

Reed was part of a 20-member bipartisan working group that began meeting last Friday. His office said he played a significant role in pushing for benefits for states, small businesses and the unemployed.

Reed said the $2 trillion package would ameliorate a significant amount of the financial harm caused by COVID-19. But he tells The Public’s Radio that the situation could be complicated if the virus continues to spread – a view echoed by the GOP leader in the Senate.

"Nobody thinks legislation can end this,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told NPR. “We cannot outlaw the virus. And no economic policy can fully end the hardship so long as the public health requires that we put so much of our commerce on ice. This isn't even a stimulus package. It is emergency relief. Emergency Relief. That's what this is."

Reed’s office said the relief package includes expanded unemployment benefits, billions for grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses, money to keep the state operating, and one-time direct payments of $1,200 to taxpayers under a certain income threshold that would be expected to arrive in early April.

In a statement, Reed said, “The size and scope of this emergency funding is unprecedented, but so is the severity of this pandemic and the economic trauma that families, businesses, and communities are facing. We’re making needed investments in people and our health infrastructure, and strengthening state and local capacity to effectively respond. Passing this bill is a big step, but it must be followed with a sustained commitment to coordination, transparency, accountability, and oversight to ensure this money gets where it needs to go and helps people the way it is supposed to.”

During her daily briefing, Gov. Gina Raimondo praised Reed for his role in helping to assemble the relief package.

Reed called in late January for the threat posed by coronavirus to be taken more seriously.

Asked why President Trump and others did not take that advice, Reed pointed to a number of factors.

“I don’t think they’re well-organized,” he said of the president’s administration. “They don’t have the kind of expertise that would appreciated the significance of what was happening. They had fired the national security expert in charge of pandemic control and basically taken apart the national security apparatus to deal with that. The president, I think, was trying to downplay any type of pandemic planning, etc. because of his concern that it would have an adverse effect on the market. The irony, of course, is, once it became evident that it was here and spreading, the market literally collapsed.”

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