Kuster Sends Letter to Speaker Pelosi Urging Passage of Paid Sick Leave Legislation
Washington, DC, March 11, 2020
Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) 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 as the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues. Last week, Rep. Kuster supported bipartisan legislation that would provide $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat the spread of coronavirus, and ensure $4.9 million for New Hampshire public health agencies and communities.
“I commend House leadership for their thoughtful approach to mitigating the spread of coronavirus, but we all agree that we must do more,” said Rep. Kuster. “Throughout my conversations with New Hampshire public health officials and my constituents, it is evident that additional steps must be taken to support American workers who lack paid access to sick leave as well as consider legislation that will ensure Americans have access to free testing for the coronavirus. I look forward to continuing to work together with my colleagues to protect the health and well-being of Granite Staters and folks nationwide.”
The full text of Rep. Kuster’s letter can be read below:
Dear Speaker Pelosi:
As Americans in my district and across the country continue to track the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), I commend your swift and decisive action last week to advance a bipartisan emergency funding bill that will bolster our local response and equip our communities with the resources they need to protect public health. This critical funding package will help reimburse our public health agencies and municipalities for preparedness and mitigation costs that have already been incurred, and provide robust funding to conduct research on potential coronavirus vaccines and treatment.
Over the past several weeks, I have heard from thousands of constituents who have engaged with my office over their concerns about the coronavirus, and just last night held a telephone town hall with over 10,000 Granite Staters to provide a state and federal update on efforts to mitigate the spread of this virus. Throughout my conversations and outreach with New Hampshire public health officials and my constituents, it is evident that additional steps must be taken to support workers who lack access to paid sick leave. While some companies have taken recent steps to expand paid sick leave benefits to employees stricken with coronavirus, the fact remains that the United States does not guarantee access to paid sick leave for American workers. This dramatically complicates our ability to respond to the coronavirus outbreak and leaves millions of hard-working Americans with the decision to either take care of their health or keep their paycheck.
To that end, I am a proud cosponsor of H.R. 6150, The Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act, sponsored by my colleague Rep. Rosa DeLauro, which would provide paid sick days immediately to workers in light of the coronavirus outbreak and in preparation for future public health emergencies. I support this legislation and urge its consideration. In addition to expanding access to paid sick leave for American workers, Congress should consider efforts to enhance unemployment insurance for those who may lose their job from the broader economic impacts of the coronavirus, and ensure that our Federal safety net programs can effectively respond to the rapid pace of this outbreak.
Furthermore, it is prudent for Congress to consider legislation that will ensure Americans have access to free testing for the coronavirus. For those that lack access to quality health coverage, the potential cost of a medical visit and subsequent testing can be a deterrent for receiving appropriate medical care. Congress can provide peace of mind to Americans by ensuring they can receive testing with no costs incurred.
Thank you for your continued leadership and thoughtful approach to mitigating the spread of the coronavirus. I look forward to working in partnership with all of our colleagues to protect the health and well-being of the American people.
Ann McLane Kuster
Member of Congress