Wyden, Merkley Announce Senate Passage of Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced the Senate passage of bipartisan legislation to strengthen the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and support Oregon families.

“There are families across Oregon who are too worried to go to the doctor because they can’t afford to get hit with a massive medical bill, and individuals who can’t stay home when they or their families are sick because it means lost wages and bills unpaid,” Wyden said. “No Oregonians should be forced to choose between the health of their families and putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their heads. This legislation takes the first steps urgently required to help those Oregonians who need it most as Congress negotiates additional measures needed just as urgently in our state and nationwide.”

“As we continue to grapple with this public health crisis, our top priorities must be to continue funding an aggressive pandemic response effort and support working Americans,” said Merkley. “By passing this second emergency funding package—which will help families across the country keep the lights on and put food on their tables during this tumultuous time—the Senate is taking a big step in the right direction to advance those goals. But there’s a lot more work left to do, including helping Americans keep their homes and keep roofs over their heads as the next round of rent and mortgage payments come due. I’m going to keep fighting for every resource America’s families need to weather this storm.”

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act:

  • ensures free testing for the coronavirus so that cost is not a barrier to necessary testing, especially for the uninsured; 
  • establishes an emergency paid leave program; 
  • provides more than $1 billion to strengthen nutrition assistance for low-income mothers, children and seniors; 
  • provides states with much needed fiscal relief under Medicaid helping to protect patients and benefits; and 
  • provides funding to states to improve their unemployment insurance programs so they can get benefits to workers who are laid off or furloughed.

Now that the legislation has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, it heads to Donald Trump’s desk for signature.

A web version of this release is here.