On March 18, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act by a vote of 90-8. The U.S. House passed it on March 16. The president signed it into law the evening of March 18.
The legislation would provide for free COVID-19 (commonly referred to as coronavirus) testing, food assistance, and unemployment benefits. The bill allows for two weeks of sick time for individuals impacted by the virus and paid family leave for up to 12 weeks for parents caring for children whose schools are closed because of the pandemic. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees can ask the U.S. Department of Labor to relieve them of the requirement to provide paid sick or family leave under the bill. PIA members can read more about this legislation in our blog post from earlier this week, which can be found here.
This is the second action Congress has taken in response to the spread of the coronavirus, following the passage of legislation to provide funding for hospitals and vaccines, which was signed into law on March 6th. That first bill provided $8.3 billion for prevention efforts and research to produce a vaccine for the virus.
A third coronavirus bill is being negotiated in the U.S. Senate that is expected to be a major economic stimulus package. PIA is also engaged with several congressional offices on possible insurance-related items.
PIA will continue to update members as Congressional action in this evolving area continues.