Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte visited KGVO Thursday morning and he shared some of his thoughts about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am so encouraged with the reduction of cases across the state,” Gianforte said. “We put these measures in place to get our arms around it, we have knocked the top off the curve, and it is time for us to get back to work. Many counties haven’t even had a single case and all small business on main street are shut down. I think we are all getting a little bit of cabin fever and we are ready to get back to work.”

Our government passed the CARES Act abnormally quickly and that was great for some business, but a lot of other critical business in Montana got left behind.

“We don’t ever think of government and fast in the same sentence, but we passed this CARES Act on one Friday and bankers were writing these loans all over the state the following Friday,” Gianforte said. “Unfortunately, we drug along some restrictions from an existing SBA program that excluded bars and restaurants in Montana from getting these PPP loans. We got a change in the rules that now allow most of those businesses to participate.”

Through April 16, the Paycheck Protection Program provided over 1.6 million loans nationwide totaling more than $342 billion. In Montana, lenders approved 13,456 PPP loans totaling over $1.4 billion.

Gianforte said he is ‘at the head of the line’ when it comes to being fiscally conservative, but he still chose to vote in favor of the coronavirus relief package.

“I voted for this relief package because when the government tells people to shut their businesses down, we have an obligation to help them get back on their feet and that includes individuals, families, and small businesses,” Gianforte said. “However, a government check is never going to sustain us. We have to get back to normal and get back to the prosperity that was building this country right up until this crisis started.”

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a roughly $480 billion coronavirus relief package to deliver aid to small businesses and hospitals. The measure will go to President Donald Trump for his signature after it is approved by the House. Trump has expressed support for the legislation and indicated that he will sign it.