Congressman Panetta Votes for the Bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act

March 14, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) voted for H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, comprehensive legislation aimed at bolstering the federal government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and addressing the severe impacts of the coronavirus on Americans’ personal safety and financial security. 

“The bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides solutions to some of our community members’ most pressing challenges as the coronavirus crisis continues to grow and evolve,” said Congressman Panetta.  "This package provides emergency paid leave, the stabilization of our unemployment insurance system, and free coronavirus testing, even for the uninsured.  Other important measures increase federal funds for Medicaid, strengthen food security programs, and improve protections for health workers at the frontlines of the emergency.  I urge the Senate to pass this critical legislation without delay so that the President can quickly sign it into law.”  

The legislation will:

  • Ensure free testing for coronavirus: The legislation ensures that all individuals who need a test, including those with private insurance, Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, VA, FEHBP, and TRICARE, as well as the uninsured, will have access at no cost.
  • Provide economic security: The legislation provides two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave.  The bill also provides enhanced unemployment insurance, giving states the resources and flexibility to provide unemployment benefits to laid off and furloughed workers, as well as to those workers who exhaust their allotted paid leave.  This measure also provides additional funding to help the hardest-hit states immediately and in the future if conditions worsen.
  • Provide food security: The legislation includes more than $1 billion to provide food to low-income pregnant women and mothers with young children, help local food banks, and feed low-income seniors.  It ensures that students who depend on schools and childcare for free and reduce-priced meals continue to have access to nutritious foods during closures.  It provides women, infants, and children with the flexibility to access food and infant formula without having to make unnecessary or unsafe visits to clinics.
  • Increase health security: The legislation increases the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), which the federal government provides to state and territorial Medicaid programs.  This will prevent states from cutting benefits, reducing their Medicaid rolls, or imposing greater costs on enrollees.

Last week, Congressman Panetta voted for H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, to support federal, state, and local efforts to treat and prevent the spread of COVID-19.  That bipartisan funding package included funding for vaccine research, development, and therapeutics, preparedness and prevention efforts, and the purchase of medical supplies and support for community health centers.