President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening, March 18, signed an emergency aid package into law to help the American people impacted by the coronavirus (CCP Virus).
“The [Families First Coronavirus Response Act] makes emergency supplemental appropriations and other changes into law to help the nation respond to the coronavirus outbreak,” the president said in a statement.
The Senate overwhelmingly approved the multibillion-dollar package of earlier Wednesday by a vote of 90-8, according to NPR.
The emergency funding measure includes provisions offering paid sick and family leave for some for U.S. workers impacted by illness, expanding unemployment assistance, and providing free diagnostic testing for the CCP Virus.
This is the second economic relief bill by Congress to address the CCP Virus outbreak in a matter of weeks. The legislation faced some delays after the House passed it on Saturday as some Republican senators have raised concerns about its provisions, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged its passage and said members could address those concerns in the next wave of legislation.
“This is a time for urgent bipartisan action, and in this case, I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers,” McConnell said ahead of the vote.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also lauded the move to approve the second aid package to address the CCP Virus pandemic before the vote.
“It allows, for instance, for free testing and treatment,” Schumer said. “We can send this bill to the president and begin work on the next phase, phase three.”
A third, larger relief measure, that could total $1 trillion as proposed by the White House, would include sending direct cash payments to Americans.
President Trump last week declared a national emergency over the CCP Virus and early this week recommended that Americans avoid restaurants and bars, cut back on unnecessary travel, and restrict gatherings to 10 or fewer people over the next few weeks to mitigate the spread of the CCP virus.