Kuster Supports Bipartisan Legislation Bolstering Federal Response to Coronavirus Outbreak
Washington, DC, March 14, 2020
Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) voted in favor of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will bolster the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and address some of the economic impacts of this public health crisis. This bipartisan legislation, which was passed by the House early this morning shortly before 1 a.m. with a vote of 363-40, will bolster the personal safety and financial security of Granite Staters and all Americans. This legislation comes after Kuster voted last week to approve a bipartisan coronavirus response package that provides $8.3 billion in federal funding to support federal and state efforts to prepare for and combat the virus. This week, Kuster sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi urging for additional steps to support workers who lack access to paid sick leave and increase access to free testing for coronavirus (COVID-19).
“While the funding the House passed last week was an important step to enhance our state, local, and federal mitigation efforts, it’s clear that more support is necessary to limit the spread of coronavirus,” said Kuster. “The legislation we passed in the House will ensure that COVID-19 testing is cost-free and that Americans have the sick leave, resources, and financial support they need to take care of themselves and their loved ones during this public health crisis. I hope that the Senate will pass this quickly and send it to the President’s desk. I’ll continue working with New Hampshire’s congressional delegation and state officials as we respond to this outbreak.”
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act Includes:
- Free testing for coronavirus: 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.
- Paid emergency leave: Provides two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave.
- Enhanced Unemployment Insurance: 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. This measure also provides additional funding to help the hardest-hit states immediately and in the future if conditions worsen.
- Food security: 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 child care 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 or unsafe visits to clinics.
- Health security: 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.