COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner didn’t intend to vote on the stimulus bill called the C.A.R.E.S. Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) as he has spent the better part of the last two weeks in self-quarantine.
“This legislation needed to pass days ago,” Sen. Gardner said. “It’s a shame it was delayed. The American people, the people of Colorado needed this relief days ago.”
The quarantine came after an alert from the Tri-County Health Department, covering three Denver-Metro Counties. The same health department initiated a “stay-at-home” order hours before Colorado Governor Jared Polis.
The Governor’s order can be extended or shortened, but right now, lasts until April 11. That’s the Friday before Easter when President Donald Trump hopes restaurants, retailers and other “non-essential” businesses are back open in full business. Fresh out of quarantine, Gardner didn’t say which approach he deems more appropriate.
“The right approach is going to be listening to our public health experts and making sure we’re following their recommendations,” Gardner said.
Those experts across the country have called for these closures, for people to socially distance themselves, to stay out of large groups and only be around members of family. But images of full beaches in Florida and California and packed trailheads in Colorado seemingly defy those health guidelines.
“Our freedom makes it a challenge at times,” Gardner said. “We’re not like China. We can’t just order an entire people to be locked down, don’t speak, don’t share the true story of what’s happened. We will get through this.”
The way many lawmakers, including Gardner, see as the main way to help the country out of this pandemic, is the C.A.R.E.S. Act, the largest stimulus package in the country’s history with a price tag reportedly around $2 Trillion dollars.
The money would go to states, small businesses and larger corporations in hopes to inspire worker retention in the wake of dwindling income. Gardner says the hospitality industry in Colorado was top of mind for him, as he says the state could benefit from $1.25 Billion dollars from the bill.
“This legislation also helps small businesses rehire people or keep people that they have on board. They’ll be able to get a loan from the Small Business Administration as long as they use that loan for payroll, for rent, for other kinds of utility payments or debt, they will get that portion of the loan forgiven,” Gardner said.
The goal Gardner said is to keep the economy alive until the country can survive the pandemic.