UPDATE (03/19/20): Trump has signed HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, into law.
UPDATE (03/18/20): The Senate has passed HR 6201 with no changes. The legislation will now move to Trump’s desk for his signature.
Last week, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act with strong bipartisan support. The bill provides for paid emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave. It will also expand federal funding for Medicaid “to support our local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems, so that they have the resources necessary to combat this crisis” according to Speaker Pelosi. The bill was authored in close communication with the White House.
At about the same time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided that it was time for a 3 day weekend recess, originally planned as a week long break and has made it clear that are still significant negotiations required to take up the bill in the Senate, slowing the federal response even more.
Although the US Senate is a deliberative body, a swift and concerted effort to pass legislation to combat the spread and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are of utmost importance. A “business as usual” approach presents as tone deaf to the urgency of the situation, with potentially devastating effects.
Tell your representative to demand that negotiations on this legislation conclude quickly and that the Senate pass this legislation as soon as possible.