Hoeven: Senate Passes Coronavirus Assistance Legislation for Impacted Families, Workers and Small Businesses
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement after joining the Senate in passing legislation to assist families, workers and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. The legislation:
- Ensures access to testing for the virus.
- Requires paid family, medical and sick leave to help prevent the spread of the disease.
- Provides emergency unemployment insurance.
- Funds nutrition assistance for families in need and ensures children who rely on free or reduced-cost school meals can access these services when schools are closed.
The bill has now passed both chambers of Congress and will go to the president to be signed into law.
“This is all about ensuring families, workers and small businesses have the support they need as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Hoeven. “Broad access to diagnostic tests for the disease are critical to help officials and the public make informed decisions, and the unemployment, paid leave and nutrition provisions will provide much-needed support for those whose family, school and work lives are disrupted. We look forward to this bill being signed into law, and we will continue working on the future phases of our nation’s response to help stimulate the economy and ensure critical industries weather these challenges.”
TESTING & TREATMENT
- Requires health plans to cover diagnostic tests for COVID-19 at no cost and provides funding to reimburse the cost of testing uninsured individuals.
- The bill also funds COVID-19 testing through the Indian Health Service for Native Americans who receive care through the agency.
- Includes provisions similar to the Health Care Workforce Protection Act, legislation Hoeven cosponsored to help ensure medical professionals have access to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-approved respirators.
UNEMPLOYMENT & PAID LEAVE
- Provides $1 billion for emergency unemployment insurance grants to states.
- Requires businesses with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid family, medical and sick leave for those required to quarantine or caring for a child who is sick or whose school or child care facility has closed.
- Employers will be reimbursed for these costs through tax credits.
- Self-employed individuals will receive refundable tax credits for equivalent amounts of family and sick leave.
- Provides additional nutrition assistance under:
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
- Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).
- Pandemic Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (P-SNAP), giving flexibility to increase household SNAP allotments for families with children already on free and reduced school meals in the event their child’s school closes.
- Nationwide school meal waivers to provide flexibility to states and ensure access to free meals for children in need.
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