UNITED STATES—The House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 13 to provide financial relief to Americans affected by the novel Coronavirus.
Many businesses across the nation have been hit hard by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) while the public is encouraged to stay home. President Trump agreed to sign the bill once it was passed by the U.S. Senate. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi initially announced that a deal was reached between Democrats and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Friday evening.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act seeks to expand paid sick leave and other programs during the pandemic. The respiratory illness, COVID-19 has sickened more than 10,000 people in the United States and more than 230,000 worldwide. The bill includes free testing for the Coronavirus, paid leave (including sick leave) protections for front line workers, enhanced unemployment insurance, food security measures, and increased Medicaid funding.
“The coronavirus crisis presents a grave and accelerating threat to public health and to the economic security and well-being of the American people,” said Pelosi in a statement. “As members of Congress, we have a solemn and urgent responsibility to take strong, serious action to confront and control this crisis and to put Families First and stimulate the economy.”
The legislation is meant to build on an $8 billion Coronavirus response package, which was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats within a matter of days the week before. It is expected to expand unemployment insurance and support for small businesses, potentially through loans and tax deferrals. On Wednesday, March 18, President Donald Trump signed the multi-billion dollar emergency aid package.