Dear Colleague on Agreement with Administration on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

March 13, 2020
Press Release

Dear Democratic Colleague,

As you know, the coronavirus crisis presents a grave and accelerating threat to public health and to the economic security and well-being of the American people.  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.

To put Families First, last week, House Democrats took the first step: passing a strong, bipartisan $8.3 billion emergency funding package of entirely new funds. 

Today, the House is taking the next step to put Families First.  We are proud to have reached an agreement with the Administration to resolve outstanding challenges, and now will soon pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  We take great pride in the leadership of Chairs Lowey, Neal, Pallone, Scott, Peterson and McGovern, all the Committee and Subcommittee Chairs of Jurisdiction and the Rules Committee to craft this landmark legislation to protect families, which contains the priorities and provisions that Leader Schumer and I called for last weekend.  We are especially grateful to the staffs of the Committees.

This legislation is about testing, testing, testing.  To stop the spread of the virus, we have secured free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured.  We cannot fight coronavirus effectively unless everyone in our country who needs to be tested can get their test free of charge. 

This legislation takes additional smart, strategic and science-based measures to put Families First:

  • For families’ economic security: we secured paid emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave.  We have also secured enhanced Unemployment Insurance, a step that will extend protections to furloughed workers. 
  • For families’ food security: we strengthened nutrition security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors’ nutrition and food banks.  22 million children rely on free or reduced-price school meals for their food security; we must ensure that they have food to eat. 
  • For families’ health security: we increased federal funds for Medicaid to support our local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems, so that they have the resources necessary to combat this crisis.   

As the Senate works to pass this bill, the House will begin work on a third emergency response package to protect the health, economic security and well-being of the American people.  We will do so in continued consultation with scientists, researchers, health care professionals, public health officials and community leaders, so that we can craft the most effective, evidence-based response.

Thank you for your patriotism and leadership to put Families First.