The U.S. Senate worked late into the night yesterday evening, overwhelmingly passing the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” into law with a bi-partisan vote of 90 to 8 to pad the effort to provide assistance to Americans amid the covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.
The bill, which President Trump immediately signed into law, is the second effort by Congress to mitigate the economic devastation caused by the worldwide viral pandemic.
First and foremost, the new law makes coronavirus testing free to the public. Secondly, it mandates and helps fund paid leave for workers in companies with fewer than 500 employees.
The legislation also includes $500 million for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, $400 million for the Emergency Food Assistance program, and $250 million for other food programs including delivery services for the elderly and disabled.
The new law also provides a $1 billion boost in state grants to go toward unemployment benefits. Lastly, the new law includes paid leave for caregivers and increased Medicaid funding.
A third bill is expected to be introduced soon after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the Republican-led plan to send American citizens $1,200 checks to help them make ends meet during the financial crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
Senator McConnell has already announced a third bill in the making writing on Twitter,
“The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security Act proposes bold action on four urgent priorities:
1. Direct financial help for Americans
2. Relief for small businesses & their employees
3. More stability for our economy
4. More support for patients & healthcare professionals”
The positive developments come as Americans try to “flatten the curve” to avoid a worse situation such as we’ve seen in Italy. As of this morning, there are more than 14,000 confirmed cases of covid-19 and 150 coronavirus-related deaths in the United States.