Home Coronavirus Senators Warner and Kaine Vote to Pass New Coronavirus Relief Legislation

Senators Warner and Kaine Vote to Pass New Coronavirus Relief Legislation

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From Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine:

WARNER & KAINE VOTE TO PASS NEW CORONAVIRUS RELIEF LEGISLATION

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement after the Senate approved bipartisan coronavirus relief legislation, sending it to President Trump’s desk for signature.

“This legislation is a critical step forward to support workers and families impacted by the coronavirus. We’re pleased the bill includes our priorities to guarantee free coronavirus testing and establish paid sick leave for some American workers. This is one of many steps we must take to confront this pandemic. We will keep fighting for the resources Virginia needs to defend against this virus and help our economy recover from its consequences.”

Senators Warner and Kaine have cosponsored legislation to expand free coronavirus testing. Additionally, the Senators have cosponsored legislation to require all employers to provide paid sick days immediately to workers in light of the coronavirus crisis. The Senators have also introduced legislation to provide unemployment assistance to those affected by the coronavirus.

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U.S. SENATORS URGE SWIFT IMPLEMENTATION OF EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

IN CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE LEGISLATION

~ In letter to state governors and workforce administrators, Senators call on states to allow easier access to unemployment benefits for workers ~

WASHINGTON – Today, following passage of a bipartisan coronavirus economic relief package (H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act), U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a former Governor of Virginia, led a letter signed by Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Gary Peters (D-MI), urging state governors and workforce administrators to implement its provisions easing restrictions on emergency unemployment benefits.

In a letter sent to the governors and heads of state workforce agencies for all 50 states, the Senators wrote, “Given the unique nature of the pandemic we are facing, we encourage you to take advantage of recently enacted federal legislation that increases resources for states to deliver timely unemployment insurance benefits to affected workers. The legislation should make it easier for workers to access unemployment benefits by waiving waiting weeks and work search requirements, as well as experience ratings for employers. Given these unavoidable circumstances, employers should not be penalized for encouraging their workers to receive unemployment compensation and workers should be able to access compensation immediately, particularly when other work opportunities may not be available.”

The Senators continued, “We are also especially concerned about the hardships facing workers who do not meet the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits, including so-called “gig workers” or other non-traditional workers that generally receive 1099 income as either a primary or secondary source of earnings. Many of these workers are not eligible for unemployment insurance, paid leave, sick leave, and other benefits that traditional, full-time workers typically receive from their employers, as well as workers who earn a large share of their incomes from tips. We continue to push for passage of Senator Wyden and Senator Peters’ Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act, which is modeled on the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program, and would ensure that gig workers and contractors are covered. However, given the severity of the crisis, we ask you to do whatever is possible to extend support to workers who do not fit into the usual framework of unemployment compensation. It is critical that there be no delay in using your existing authorities to support these workers to the greatest extent possible. ”

The coronavirus economic relief legislation the Senate sent to the President’s desk today provides $1 billion in additional funding to state unemployment insurance programs. It also waives certain restrictions, including work search requirements and waiting periods for Americans who are either diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have lost their jobs due to the spread of the virus.

A copy of the letter is available here and below. A list of Sen. Warner’s work to protect Americans amid the coronavirus outbreak is available here.

March 18, 2020

Governors and State Workforce Administrators:

We write today to thank you for your efforts to support workers during the unprecedented situation due to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). As we continue our efforts to provide federal assistance during these challenging times, we want to encourage you to do whatever is within your existing authorities to support workers facing hardship due to lost hours or jobs, sickness, family caretaking responsibilities, and other COVID-19-related circumstances. 

Given the unique nature of the pandemic we are facing, we encourage you to take advantage of recently enacted federal legislation that increases resources for states to deliver timely unemployment insurance benefits to affected workers. The legislation should make it easier for workers to access unemployment benefits by waiving waiting weeks and work search requirements, as well as experience ratings for employers. Given these unavoidable circumstances, employers should not be penalized for encouraging their workers to receive unemployment compensation and workers should be able to access compensation immediately, particularly when other work opportunities may not be available. This is not only a matter of economic security but one of public health, as workers who cannot access unemployment benefits are likely to try and find work even when the costs to public health may be severe.

We are also especially concerned about the hardships facing workers who do not meet the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits, including so-called “gig workers” or other non-traditional workers that generally receive 1099 income as either a primary or secondary source of earnings. Many of these workers are not eligible for unemployment insurance, paid leave, sick leave, and other benefits that traditional, full-time workers typically receive from their employers, as well as workers who earn a large share of their incomes from tips. We continue to push for passage of Senator Wyden and Senator Peters’ Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act, which is modeled on the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program, and would ensure that gig workers and contractors are covered. However, given the severity of the crisis, we ask you to do whatever is possible to extend support to workers who do not fit into the usual framework of unemployment compensation. It is critical that there be no delay in using your existing authorities to support these workers to the greatest extent possible.

An effective response to COVID-19 will require a collaborative effort at the federal, state, and local levels of government and we stand ready to assist you in carrying out these critical efforts to protect public health while supporting workers through the economic shocks of the pandemic.

Sincerely,