Nevada’s Cortez Masto calls for vote on Senate pandemic stimulus bill |

Nevada’s Cortez Masto calls for vote on Senate pandemic stimulus bill

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., said Thursday that she and numerous other senators are waiting for a vote on the latest pandemic stimulus bill.

“We all want to know why we’re waiting,” she said. “The House passed their bill a month and a half ago. One man thinks we’re not ready yet. That man is Mitch McConnell.”

The Senate did, however, pass an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program this week.

Cortez Masto repeated her call for a national strategy to deal with coronavirus pandemic, something she said she has advocated since the pandemic started months ago.

“There’s no vaccine around the corner,” she said.

Cortez Masto said the nation needs enough testing to test everybody so that the rest of the population can, “go about their business.”

“But we’re not there yet,” she said.

Cortez Masto said she is pushing to convince Amtrak the rail service cannot cut back its Northern Nevada passenger service to just three days a week.

“They’re cutting back lines particularly in rural areas,” she said adding that the long distance Zephyr line across Northern Nevada is vitally important to rural residents.

“It’s a lifeline for so many people in Nevada,” she said citing access to medical care as an example.

She said there is bipartisan support to restore the rural long distance service to seven days a week.

Cortez Masto said she is also working to reform the Payment In Lieu of Taxes program that compensates counties for lost revenue because of with high percentages of non-taxable federal land in their borders. Some Nevada counties are 90 percent federal land.

In particular, she said, they need to change the formula to increase payments to counties with less than 5,000 residents, of which Nevada has several.

But she said many states receive money based on the existing formula and, if it’s going to change, those currently receiving money have to be protected.