CONGRESSMAN JOE MORELLE TAKES ACTION TO ADDRESS THE IMPACTS OF CORONAVIRUS ON AMERICAN FAMILIES | Representative Joseph Morelle

CONGRESSMAN JOE MORELLE TAKES ACTION TO ADDRESS THE IMPACTS OF CORONAVIRUS ON AMERICAN FAMILIES

March 14, 2020
Press Release
Comprehensive legislation ensures paid sick leave, establishes free testing, expands food assistance programs, and provides important benefits to children and families

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle voted to bolster federal response to the coronavirus outbreak and address its severe impacts on American families.

“It is our responsibility as lawmakers to safeguard the public and stand up for the needs of working families—which is why today we have taken action to respond swiftly and decisively to the coronavirus outbreak by passing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” said Rep. Morelle. “This legislation takes critical steps to protect our families by ensuring paid sick leave, expanding food assistance programs, establishing free coronavirus testing, and more. We will continue to monitor the spread of this virus and work in coordination with partners at all levels of government to ensure our communities have the resources necessary to respond effectively to coronavirus and keep families safe.”

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act takes important steps to mitigate the personal and economic impact coronavirus may have on families, especially vulnerable populations such as seniors, children, and low-income individuals. Specifically, the legislation:

Enacts comprehensive paid leave

  • Establishes an Emergency Paid Leave Program with both 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave so that those who take leave to avoid spreading the virus or due to caregiving responsibilities can pay their bills.

Establishes free testing for coronavirus

  • Ensures that all individuals, including those with private insurance, Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, VA, FEHBP, and TRICARE, as well as the uninsured, will have access to tests at no cost.

Expands food assistance programs

  • Includes more than $1 billion to provide nutritious foods to low-income pregnant women and mothers with young children, help food banks, and provide meals to seniors. It also protects students’ access to school meals in the event of school closures.

Safeguards Medicaid benefits:

  • Increases the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) that the federal government provides to state and territorial Medicaid programs by 6.2%. This will prevent states from cutting benefits, reducing their Medicaid rolls or imposing greater premiums and cost-sharing for enrollees.

Enhances emergency unemployment measures

  • Gives states the resources and flexibility to provide unemployment benefits to laid off and furloughed workers, as well as to those workers who exhaust their allotted paid leave.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act builds on an $8.3 billion emergency funding package enacted into law on March 6 to address the impacts of coronavirus. That package included support for state and local health agencies, vaccine and treatment development, and loans for affected small businesses to lessen the economic blow of this public health emergency.

 

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