Sens. Carper, Coons vote to pass COVID-19 relief legislation; bill now heads to President’s desk
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act will provide free COVID-19 testing, paid emergency leave, enhanced unemployment insurance, Medicaid benefits, and more.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which the House of Representatives passed on a bipartisan basis last week. The bill will provide free testing for COVID-19, provide paid leave for many Americans, bolster unemployment and nutrition aid programs, and more.
“I want to applaud my Democratic House colleagues, including Speaker Pelosi, who worked with the Trump Administration and Republicans in the House and the Senate to craft this bipartisan bill. This package will help states like Delaware and the health care workers who are on the front lines of this public health crisis slow the spread of the virus and keep our communities safe and healthy,” said Senator Carper. “The Families First Coronavirus Response Act ensures that critical testing for the coronavirus is free. We simply cannot know the extent of this crisis until we are able to test more Americans to see if they are infected and provide care to those who need it. This bill also makes sure that paid leave is available for many hard-working Americans, and nutrition assistance programs are accessible to our seniors and students. As Delaware continues to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, this bill will also provide an additional $100 million for our state’s Medicaid program to ensure the most vulnerable populations have access to the critical health care and services they may need during this time. While I am glad that this important bill that will provide much-needed relief to our communities is now on its way to the President’s desk to be signed into law, I want to be clear that this is certainly not the last step we should take to effectively respond to this public health crisis. The coronavirus outbreak is ever-changing and it will require all of us – on the federal, state, and local levels of government – to stay nimble and act quickly to help the millions of hard-working Americans and small businesses affected by this crisis.”
“The best way to slow and then stop the spread of this virus is to ensure that tests are widely available and that people can access the health care they need,” said Senator Coons. “To do that, we need to invest government resources in emergency paid leave, student meal assistance, unemployment insurance, and much more to help impacted American workers and their families. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act makes important strides in all of these areas, but there’s more work to be done. I’m already working with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to pass additional legislation as soon as possible to provide additional aid to families and small businesses who are already being impacted by this crisis.”
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes:
• Free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured;
• Paid emergency leave for many workers with both 2 weeks of paid sick leave and up to 10 weeks of additional paid family and medical leave;
• Assistance for states struggling to handle a surge in unemployment, an important first step to help affected workers;
• Strengthened food security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors’ nutrition, and food banks;
• Clear protections for frontline workers, including health care workers and other workers who are in contact with those who have been exposed or are responsible for cleaning at-risk places;
• Increased federal funds for Medicaid, as states face increased costs, which will provide $100 million to Delaware.