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House Passes Emergency Package to Help Vulnerable Americans Affected By Coronavirus Outbreak

March 14, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Rep. Peter Welch voted early Saturday morning for emergency legislation (H.R. 6201) to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease and help affected Americans. This bill is the second emergency coronavirus package to pass the House with an overwhelming bipartisan vote (363-40) in the past eight days. Last week, the House passed an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill to primarily help states and frontline providers respond to the coronavirus. The bill passed earlier today provides assistance to individuals and families who are impacted by the outbreak.

“Slowing the spread of this disease is critical to addressing this outbreak,” said Welch. “This bill ensures coronavirus testing will be free for everyone and allows families and workers to continue to be paid when they need to stay home because of this virus. This bill is an important step in caring for the most vulnerable among us during this outbreak. I urge the Senate and the president to act now to make these protections law.”

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201):

  • Ensures that all Americans have access to free testing for coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Establishes paid emergency leave, including both 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave.
  • Enhances Unemployment Insurance, a step that will extend protections to furloughed workers.
  • Suspends Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or 3SquaresVT in Vermont) work requirements.
  • Gives schools flexibility on how free and reduced-price lunches are delivered in case of school closures.  The Vermont Agency of Education received a federal waiver yesterday allowing for greater flexibility to deliver meals.
  • Boosts Medicaid funding for states during the crisis.
  • Provides additional funding for home-delivered and pre-packaged meals to low-income seniors.

Vermonters looking for up-to-date information on the coronavirus can visit a resource webpage on Welch’s site.

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