The Senate version of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan approved over the weekend features an amendment with a provision to extend relief to government contractors for paid leave, if they can’t work through the end of the fiscal year ending in September.

The amendment would extend to Sept. 30 Section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The provision is set to end on March 31.  Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., and Vice-Chairman Marco Rubio, R-Fla., filed the legislation on Feb. 26 to allow “a critical lifeline for Federal agencies to maintain contractors, who would otherwise be at risk for layoff or furlough due to the pandemic.”

The senators also sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., detailing their request to extend Section 3610 in the new stimulus package.

The amendment passed the Senate on March 6 by a 93-6 vote. The American Rescue Plan Act passed by a 50-49 vote along party lines, with Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, absent. The Senate version of the bill will now go to House for consideration, and if approved, will go to President Biden for his signature.

“We are pleased that the Senate passed this bipartisan legislation to provide much-needed stability for personnel who serve a key role in protecting our national security missions and other vital programs,” said Sens. Warner and Rubio in a joint statement.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.