Late last night, members of Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This is a huge step in the right direction for dealing with the public health and economic crisis presented by COVID-19.
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the bill as early as this coming Monday. North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis need to hear from you right away!
Key elements of the emergency bill include:
- Free COVID-19 testing for everyone who needs a test, regardless of health coverage;
- Ten days of immediately available paid sick leave for COVID-19 related illness, caregiving or quarantine;
- Twelve weeks of emergency paid leave for COVID-19 related illness, caregiving or quarantine;
- Increased funding for SNAP, WIC and emergency food assistance programs, as well as flexibility for states to ensure access to food;
- Increased support for aging and disability programs, including home food delivery programs;
- Increased funding for state unemployment insurance programs, as well as reduced barriers to access for affected people;
- Increased support for state Medicaid programs, including enhanced aid to states to cover costs.
Several key provisions in the original bill have been weakened, and there is more work to do to ensure everyone can access the supports they need to stay healthy, provide for their families and curb the spread of COVID-19. We need to urge the Senate to restore those provisions and pass this bill immediately.
You can also call them, using the script below as a guide. Call Senator Burr at (336) 631-5125 and Senator Tillis at (919) 856-4630.
Hi. My name is [say your name], and I live in [say your town], North Carolina, and I’m calling to urge Senator [Burr/Tillis] to support the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
I’m very concerned about the damage the Coronavirus may do to the public health and our economy. I was glad to hear about this bill, and disappointed to hear about efforts to weaken important provisions. I want Senator [Burr/Tillis] to support increasing the number of paid sick days from ten to fourteen, which is the number of days recommended for Coronavirus quarantine. I also would like the Senator to work to remove the loophole that allows large employers to opt out of providing paid sick time and paid leave, and to restore the reimbursement provision for small business employers. I am asking the Senator to protect the public health and our state economy, and vote to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act when it comes to the floor for a vote.
This bill will help stop the spread of the virus, protect working families from economic harm related to missed workdays, workplace closures and job loss, and ensure elders and other vulnerable community members have the support they need to remain safe and healthy. Thank you.