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Congressman discusses benefits of stimulus package

The massive stimulus package passed by Congress last week will help small businesses keep employees on the payroll, according to Rep. Sam Graves. “And as long as they continue to keep them on the payroll through July 2, then that becomes forgiven,” he said.

Gov. Mike Parson has warned that thousands of Missourians will lose their jobs due to the outbreak. Graves said the stimulus boosts unemployment benefits for the millions of Americans who’ve lost their jobs.

Sam Graves

Graves represents 36 counties in northern Missouri. His sprawling district is larger than nine U.S. states, and includes St. Joseph, Chillicothe, Bethany, Kirksville and Hannibal. Some hospitals in his district have struggled to get personal protective equipment such as masks, Graves said. He noted that the stimulus package also includes $117 billion in funding for hospitals and the Veterans Administration to care for patients and to protect health-care employees battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Those of us who represent rural areas want to make sure that rural hospitals have every bit as much equipment as they need to combat this,” Graves said. “So far, they have not been overrun, but that could quickly, quickly change.”

Parson announced Monday afternoon that the state’s Strategic National Stockpile has now shipped 7,000 gloves and 3,300 cases of masks to hospitals, EMS and long-term care facilities. State health officials say there are now 1,327 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Missouri, along with 14 deaths.

Graves said church groups and other organizations are grocery shopping for seniors in his district to help the seniors limit their exposure during the COVID-19 outbreak. His district has a large elderly population.

“And that’s what rural Missouri is about and all of our rural areas,” he said. “We take care of people and we take care of our neighbors and our family, and that’s very heartwarming.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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