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Pallone Applauds House Passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Mar 14, 2020
Press Release
New Legislation Guarantees Free Coronavirus Testing for All Americans, Paid Sick Leave, Protections for Health Care Workers and Provides Important Benefits to Children and Families

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement today after the House of Representatives voted in favor of passing H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  Pallone is an original co-sponsor of the bill and helped draft key provisions, including a guarantee that all Americans have access to coronavirus testing free of charge, and an increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) that the federal government provides to state and territorial Medicaid programs:

“Today we continued our ongoing work to respond to the coronavirus global pandemic, which has now claimed the lives of more than 40 Americans.  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act recognizes the urgency of the moment and prioritizes America’s families by providing critical support to assist those affected by the outbreak.

“I am proud to have helped write this legislation, which ensures that coronavirus testing will be free of charge for all Americans, establishes paid sick leave for those who have to take time off from their jobs, strengthens food assistance for vulnerable Americans and enhances unemployment assistance for Americans who may be laid off or furloughed.  It also increases the FMAP for state and territorial Medicaid programs, which will be critical as we prepare for the ongoing economic consequences of the pandemic.    

“This national public health emergency requires a coordinated, whole-of-government response to help slow the virus’ spread and keep Americans safe.  This package will help us rise to meet the challenge before us.  I stand ready to continue to work across the aisle and with the Administration to respond to this global pandemic and help keep Americans safe.”  

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act builds on the $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus spending package that was passed and signed into law last week.  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.

A summary of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is available here.

Bill text is available here.