WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act to help stimulate the economy and protect American families and businesses, as efforts to control this national health emergency continues across the country. Chief among the many highlights of the bill, is free and expanded testing for the virus, additional paid sick leave options for employees, and more food aid for children and seniors.
President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, authorizing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements of the Medicare, Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance programs and increase the ability of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate our response.
“Our everyday lives have changed nearly overnight in America as we work diligently to confront this national health emergency. This emergency funding bill will help relieve the many concerns of Americans who need to be tested, who need financial assistance as sick days add up, and as businesses protect the health of employees and the sustainability of operations,” said Congressman Rogers, who voted for the bill. “With homebound senior citizens and students out of school over the next few weeks, this bill also extends food assistance to ensure our most vulnerable citizens do not go hungry during this outbreak. More work is yet to be done to help struggling industries and individuals, but we are making critical strides to address immediate needs nationwide.”
This second stimulus package comes on the heels of the $8 billion emergency package that was passed by Congress and signed into law last week by President Trump. The law fast-tracks funding for research and development efforts for vaccines and therapeutics, as well as state and local response efforts, and protecting Americans at home and overseas.
Highlights of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act include:
$1.2 billion to help cover the costs of coronavirus testing, including $142 million to eliminate copay requirements for service members and veterans.
$1.25 billion to provide emergency nutritional assistance for senior citizens, women, children, and low-income families, including:
• $500 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides food assistance benefits to pregnant women, new mothers, and children under five who are low-income and nutritionally at risk;
• $400 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program;
• $100 million for the food assistance block grant programs of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands; and
• $250 million for senior nutrition programs, including:
$160 million for home-delivered meals,
$80 million for meals at senior centers, and
$10 million for meal services for Native Americans.
• Provisions that will ensure low-income children continue to receive school lunches during school closures;
• Two weeks paid sick leave for employees under self-quarantine and/or medical treatment;
• Tax relief for employers providing medical leave for employees related to COVID-19; and
• Maintaining CDC's science-based guidelines on emergency standards for hospitals, allowing critical flexibility for care providers.
For more information about Congressman Rogers' work on Capitol Hill and in Kentucky's Fifth Congressional District, visit halrogers.house.gov and engage online through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.