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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

Central Illinois Congressmen Highlight Business Aid For Next Relief Bill

Two Congressmen and a Regional HHS Director at a podium
U.S. Reps. Darin LaHood (left) and Rodney Davis (center) said they expect discussion of a fourth disaster recovery bill to be bipartisan, though they both favored the GOP Senate version of the legislation.

Two Central Illinois congressmen said they expect debate over a fourth coronavirus disaster recovery bill to be bipartisan, though they also preferred GOP drafts originating in the Senate.

U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis of Taylorville and Darin LaHood of Dunlap said the next coronavirus disaster relief bill should boost small-business support.

"And that should be an additional investment in our Paycheck Protection Program, which has shown to be very popular with our Main Street businesses, our mom and pop shops that need help to keep their employees employed and keep their businesses survivable," said Davis.

Davis, who represents part of Bloomington-Normal, said the additional appropriation should be $200 billion to $250 billion. He said demand already has exceeded $100 billion in about a week.

"It has already been implemented at Herculean speeds. It's not without kinks. But those kinks are being worked out," said Davis.

LaHood thinks many of the pieces of the fourth coronavirus disaster relief bill drafted by House Democrats are premature.

"If you look at the $2.2 trillion, the only program that's running out of money is the PPP, the Paycheck Protection Program," said LaHood, adding he won't close the door to some of the things Democrats want.

"This is a baseball game. It's nine innings. We're in inning four right now. So there are going to be other bills and when we run out of resources for other entities, we ought to focus on those and I think there will be a bipartisan effort to do that," said LaHood.

Davis said he favors the Senate version of the next recovery bill, not the one drafted by House Democrats.

Democrats have said they do not believe their version of the bill that emphasizes infrastructure is premature. Other elements include expanded broadband buildout, access to clean drinking water, more money for community health centers, and buy-American rules to promote investment in U.S. companies.

The House will not take up the $770 billion proposal until it returns to session on April 20.

President Trump has signaled in tweets that he supports the emphasis on infrastructure and a size of about $2 trillion for the fourth measure. The third disaster recovery bill cost $2.2 trillion.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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