Congress works to pass financial aid package in response to coronavirus


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ The House is expected to vote Thursday on a financial package designed to help workers and businesses who have been hit hard by the coronavirus.

Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-New York, said the bill, created by House Democrats, will require free coronavirus testing for most Americans, paid emergency sick leave for hourly workers and food security assistance.

“We want to make sure folks are not hurt economically, we want to make sure there’s enough testing, testing has been very slow to get out there,” Brindisi said.

Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-New York, said the Senate must follow the House’s lead and include paid family and sick leave in their financial package as well.

“Eligible workers would receive three months off of pay benefits up to two-thirds of their average monthly earnings,” Gillibrand said. “We must work just as hard to make sure this is in the Senate package that we vote on.”

But it’s unclear if the Republican-controlled Senate will be on board with the House Democrats’ plan.

“Unfortunately, it appears at this hour that the speaker and House Democrats instead chose to produce an ideological wish list that was not tailored closely to the circumstances,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said.

McConnell announced that the Senate will cancel its recess next week to continue to work on legislation to deal with the coronavirus.

Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, said he believes lawmakers will find a way to work together to get Americans the help they need to deal with the global pandemic.

“We can’t leave until we pass this bill.  I think there’s absolute consensus in the caucus that we need to respond to this crisis as it continues to evolve,” Cicilline said.

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