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Hardest Hit Again? What Nevada Needs From Congress

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Chris Smith/Desert Companion

An entrance on the south side of New York - New York is chained shut, with closure notices due to the Coronavirus outbreak. All non-essential businesses were ordered to close, including all of the resorts and casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

Nevada was one of the state's hardest hit by the Great Recession. Tens of thousands lost or walked away from their homes.

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In the pandemic, the state might be hit hardest again because of its reliance on tourism.

Governor Steve Sisolak talked to President Donald Trump Thursday, expressing the need for help from the federal government. And U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is on the ground in Washington, D.C., pushing for the same.

Cortez Masto said she is hearing from constituents and lawmakers about their concerns.

"That is why last Wednesday the entire Nevada delegation, we all came together, which we do on a regular basis, but we called on Congress to work together to support the hospitality industry," she said.

The senator said the hospitality industry is the engine that runs the state and it is made of hard-working individuals that need to be supported.

She said Congress as already passed a bill to provide money for research into vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus. The bill will also help state and local governments prepare for the crisis.

Federal lawmakers also passed a bill that extends family and sick leave. It also guarantees free virus testing.

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Now, Cortez Masto said lawmakers are working on a third piece of legislation.

"This is really about... putting workers first along with those businesses that we know are struggling right now that we have heard from that have had to shut down," she said, "We're looking to expand employment insurance so that it includes all workers so that you don't have to be terminated."

She said under the proposal unemployment checks would be easier to access and the percentage of payment based on a person's salary would increase. Lawmakers are also considering ways to help small and medium-sized businesses stay afloat.

And as far as big business, Cortez Masto said casinos are doing right by their employees by paying benefits and salaries so the federal government needs to help them out as well.

"We need to make sure that we are also giving them the opportunity to access loans or grants that are necessary to keep their doors open when we reopen those doors at the end of the 30 days that the governor has said," she said.

Cortez Masto said negotiations are going on between the Senate and the House and GOP and Democrats on the third relief package. She is hopeful it will be voted on by Monday.

Guests

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.

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