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What is Congress Doing to Respond to COVID-19?

FIRST LEGISLATIVE RESPONSE TO COVID-19: A $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus spending package was enacted into law on March 6. Maine has received $4.6 million dollars in CDC Public Health Emergency Preparedness funds through this funding bill. Grantees will be eligible to apply for further assistance from the remaining $350 million designated specifically for state and local funding. More info here.

SECOND LEGISLATIVE RESPONSE TO COVID-19 (Families First): On March 14, H.R. 6201 The Families First Coronavirus Response Act overwhelmingly passed the US House with bipartisan support. President Trump signed this bill into law on March 18. This coronavirus response legislation will make coronavirus testing free for most patients, secure paid emergency leave, enhance unemployment insurance, strengthen food security initiatives, and increase federal Medicaid funding to states. The text of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201, is here. A summary of H.R. 6201 is here

  • for families’ health security: ensuring free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured.  Our legislation also increases funding for Medicaid to support local, state, tribal and territorial health systems, so that they have the resources needed to combat this public health emergency.
  • for families’ economic security: providing two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of family and medical leave for eligible workers and enhancing Unemployment Insurance.  It also supports small businesses by fully reimbursing them for providing leave. 
  • for families’ food security: strengthening nutrition initiatives including SNAP, student meals, seniors’ meals and food banks.
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