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Statements on 363-40 U.S. House Passage of Coronavirus Response Act; Only Member of Virginia Delegation to Vote No Was…Yep, Bat****-Crazy, Far-Right Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA06)

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See below for statements on last night’s (12:51 am) U.S. House of Representatives vote to pass the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” 363-40.  And the only member of Virginia’s Congressional delegation voting no? That would be far-right, batsh**-crazy Congressman Ben Cline (R-VA06), who we’ve previously covered for the following:

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March 14, 2020
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the House passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201)—a legislative package to address the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Americans’ health and financial security.

“The spread of COVID-19 will present increasingly severe challenges for students, workers, and families across the country. We will not overcome these challenges by ignoring them. We will overcome them by delivering a bold, comprehensive response that provides communities the support they need during this public health crisis.

“Tonight, the House took an important step toward preparing the American people for the weeks and months ahead. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act ensures universal access to no-cost COVID-19 testing, provides workers emergency paid sick leave and extended family and medical leave so they are not forced to choose between their paycheck, their health, and the health of others, and it gives states and schools the flexibility they need to get food into the hands of students during school closures.

“Our communities need immediate and comprehensive support. I call on my Senate colleagues to recognize the urgency of this moment and put this bill on the president’s desk.”

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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes a series of bills introduced by Committee Democrats, including:

School Meals

COVID–19 Child Nutrition Response Act (introduced by Rep. Bonamici, Rep. Comer), a bipartisan bill to ensure schools can provide students with nutritious food in case of school closures.

Maintaining Essential Access to Lunch for Students (MEALS) Act (introduced by Rep. Omar), waves the existing requirement that prevents the Department of Agriculture from approving state waiver requests that result in increased costs to the federal government.

Pandemic EBT Act (introduced by Rep. Scott, Rep. Fudge), creates an emergency anti-hunger program to provide additional food assistance to families during a pandemic.

Affordable Testing

No Cost for COVID-19 Testing Act (introduced by Rep. Wilson, Rep. Schrier, Rep. DelBene, Rep. DeGette), requires all health insurance plans to cover the full cost of testing.

Paid Leave

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (introduced by Rep. Scott, Rep. Adams, Rep. Takano, Rep. Lee), significantly expands the numbers of workers who have access to job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

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Wexton Votes to Protect American Families and Bolster Federal Response to Coronavirus 

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) voted to pass the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act to bolster the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and address the severe impacts of the coronavirus on Americans’ personal safety and financial security.

“Today’s legislation will provide Americans with the financial support and resources they need to put their health and safety first during this time of crisis,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “We’re facing a pandemic and the best way to safeguard Virginia families from the financial consequences of coronavirus is to do everything we can to help prevent its spread. Anyone who needs a test should be able to get one for free, and anyone who gets sick needs paid sick leave to stay home — the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will safeguard the financial security of working families by prioritizing public health first and foremost.”

The legislation provides paid sick leave as well as paid family and medical leave, establishes free coronavirus testing, supports strong unemployment benefits, and expands food assistance for vulnerable children and families, among other provisions.

Last week, Wexton helped pass an $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus spending package that was enacted into law on March 6. The package includes 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.

Early this week, Wexton called for legislation that would prioritize the health and financial security of working families. Wexton has introduced legislation to protect and expand telework options for federal workers. Wexton also recently urged the Office of Personnel Management to expand paid leave options for federal employees who are unable to telework and have medically vulnerable family members at home for whom transmission of coronavirus would likely be fatal.

The text of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201, is here.

A summary of H.R. 6201 is here.

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Spanberger Statement on House Passage of Emergency Coronavirus Funding Package

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass an emergency funding package that would support American patients, workers, businesses, and healthcare systems in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“We need to keep our communities safe, and we need to act now. Over the past few days, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Virginia and across the country. In our district, I’ve heard from concerned parents, patients, business owners, pharmacists, and educators about the growing uncertainty caused by this unprecedented public health emergency.

“At this moment, there is no time to delay in taking immediate actions to contain the spread of this disease. The bipartisan legislation passed in the House tonight would improve access to coronavirus testing, give workers the ability to stay at home if they’re sick, and provide children and seniors with continued food security during these difficult times. This package also includes substantial support for small businesses and their employees, who face the very real threat of extensive financial challenges in the weeks to come. We’ve reached a critical inflection point in the fight against coronavirus, and both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, as well as the Administration, must find a path forward on this legislation—for the health of our families and for the good of our country.

“As we experience increasing rates of coronavirus cases in Virginia, seniors and families must take precautions now to protect themselves. I stand with the people of Central Virginia as we work together to mitigate the impacts of the disease on those affected, strengthen the resiliency of our healthcare system, and look out for the most vulnerable among us. There will be trying moments in the days ahead, but that only makes it more imperative for us to unite around this common cause.”

BACKGROUND

Yesterday, Spanberger hosted a telephone town hall with local officials and healthcare experts to discuss preparations and suggested precautions related to the ongoing pandemic.

Spanberger was joined by Dr. Christopher Newman—Chief Medical Officer and Operating Officer, Mary Washington Healthcare; Dr. Denise Bonds—District Health Director, Thomas Jefferson Health District for the Virginia Department of Health; Dr. Peter Kasson—Associate Professor of Molecular Physiology and of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia; and Dr. William Petri—Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health and Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine, University of Virginia.

Click here to listen to the full telephone town hall.

Last week, Spanberger voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House to pass a coronavirus preparedness and response supplemental package. And earlier that week, Spanberger and a bipartisan group of her colleagues met with Vice President Pence and White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx at the White House to discuss the administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 14, 2020

McEachin Votes to Put Families First in Coronavirus Response Efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today voted in favor of the passage of the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act, bolstering the federal government’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and addressing the severe impacts of the coronavirus on Americans’ personal safety and financial security.

“As schools close and health experts urge preventative measures to fight the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia and across the country, we cannot gamble on the livelihoods of children and working families,” said Congressman McEachin. “There is no room for debate – the cost of health care should never be an obstacle to Virginians in need of testing for COVID-19, nor should there be concerns about food or job security during this crisis. We must act now to safeguard the health, security and well-being of all Americans and as we rise to meet the challenge of this crisis, we must ensure that Americans grappling with keeping food on their tables and providing for their families are not left behind.”

The legislation will:

  • Ensure free testing for coronavirus: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act ensures that all individuals who need a test, including those with private insurance, Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, VA, FEHBP and TRICARE, as well as the uninsured, will have access at no cost.
  • Provide economic security:
    • Paid emergency leave: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave.
    • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act gives states the resources and flexibility to provide unemployment benefits to laid off and furloughed workers, as well as to those workers who exhaust their allotted paid leave.
  • Provide food security: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes more than $1 billion to provide food to low-income pregnant women and mothers with young children, help local food banks and feed low-income seniors; It ensures that students who depend on schools and childcare for free and reduce-priced meals continue to have access to nutritious foods during closures; and it provides women, infants, and children with the flexibility to access food and infant formula without having to make unnecessary visits to clinics.
  • Increase health security: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act increases the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), which the federal government provides to state and territorial Medicaid programs. This will prevent states from cutting benefits, reducing their Medicaid rolls or imposing greater costs on enrollees.

The legislation passed today builds on an $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus spending package signed into law on March 6. 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.

“Now more than ever, it is critical to listen to the guidance of health experts and avoid potential misinformation,” added Congressman McEachin. “Stay up-to-date on the latest about the novel coronavirus with updates from the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

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Last night, the House of Representatives took an important step in our response to the coronavirus. As of right now, 30 Virginians have tested positive for COVID-19 and this bipartisan action will help connect families with the resources they need.

I was proud to support the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will:

  • Ensure every American can have access to free coronavirus testing.
  • Provide emergency paid sick leave and unemployment insurance.
  • Expand food security initiatives by providing an additional $500 million to the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC), and invest $400 million to assist local food banks to meet increased
    demand for low-income Americans during the emergency.
  • Deliver more than 25 million meals to low-income seniors.

This is in addition to the $8.3 billion package we passed last week to fund research into a vaccine, help states and localities respond to this crisis, and provide additional medical equipment.

Now it is time for the Senate to act and pass this legislation.

There is still much work for Congress to do in the coming weeks. I continue to push the Trump administration to expand telework for our federal employees, and this week we were successful in getting the Office of Management and Budget to expand telework to vulnerable federal workers. In the coming weeks, my Government Operations subcommittee will hold a hearing to provide oversight on the administration’s response to this pandemic.

You can find more information on my website here. Please know that my office is here to help should you need assistance.

Sincerely,

Gerald E. Connolly
Member of Congress