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House adopts 'Families First' bill in response to Coronavirus

Bill includes appropriations for free testing for those who need it

3/15/2020, 3:05 p.m.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday passed, on a bipartisan 363-40 vote, the Families First Coronavirus Response ...

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday passed, on a bipartisan 363-40 vote, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to bolster the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and address the severe impacts of the coronavirus on Americans’ personal safety and financial security.

The legislation reflects bipartisan agreement between House Democrats and the Trump administration. It guarantees free coronavirus testing, secures paid emergency leave, enhances Unemployment Insurance, strengthens food security initiatives, and increases federal Medicaid funding to states.

“Our top priority in this public health emergency must be providing support to the American people,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY). “The Families First Coronavirus Response Act will help ensure the physical safety and financial security of our nation’s working families during this time of crisis. With this bill, we can provide paid leave, guarantee free testing, and enhance important benefits for children and families.”

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act builds on an $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus spending package enacted into law on March 6.

Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) also supported the bill. "I voted for this legislation because our nation is facing a public health emergency and the government has a duty to do all that it can to support the well-being of the American people," Foster said. "This legislation includes several vital provisions that will immediately begin helping American families, like free coronavirus testing for all who need it, paid emergency leave so that people can focus on what matters most, enhanced employment insurance for people who might be laid off from work in the coming months, and increases in Medicaid funding for states like Illinois that will face increased costs as they deal with this pandemic.

Foster added that "there is nothing more important than protecting the health and well-being of the American people. We must confront this pandemic and restore peace-of-mind to the public."

A copy of the bill and all it includes can be found at https://appropriations.house.gov/sites/democrats.appropriations.house.gov/files/Families%20First%20summary.pdf