U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright announces passage of coronavirus relief package

Pennsylvania. The legislation establishes free testing, including for the uninsured, plus paid sick leave.

15 Mar 2020 | 10:34

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-08) voted on March 14 to pass a bill to protect the health and economic security of American workers, families, and senior citizens as the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread in the United States.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed the House on a bipartisan 363-40 vote. It now advances to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

The legislation does the following:

● Establishes free coronavirus testing, including for the uninsured

● Provides two weeks of paid sick leave

● Provides up to three months of paid family and medical leave and strong unemployment benefits

● Expands food assistance for vulnerable children, families, and senior citizens

● Boosts Medicaid and provides additional funding to states

● Protects health workers

“Making testing available to all, providing paid sick leave, and expanding Medicaid and food security programs are key measures to slow the spread of this new disease," Cartwright said. “I’m pleased that Democrats and Republicans have come together to support working people and older Americans in this trying time. Going forward, Congress will continue to take all necessary steps to fight this pandemic here in the U.S.”

The legislation builds on last week’s enactment of an $8.3 billion emergency funding package to address the spread of coronavirus. It included support for state and local health agencies, vaccine and treatment development, and loans for affected small businesses.