Congress Passes, Trump Signs Second Coronavirus Emergency Bill

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed a $100 billion proposal trying to position the federal government to respond to the coronavirus outbreak and help Americans impacted by the economic downturn that has accompanied it.

The Senate passed the bill on a 90-8 vote. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., voted for the bill while U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., did not vote as he continues to self-quarantine after being exposed to a staffer working for the Brazilian president who tested positive for coronavirus.

All eight votes cast against the bill were from Republicans including U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Jim Inhofe and James Lankford of Oklahoma, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Tim Scott of South Carolina.

The bill, which has the support of President Donald Trump and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., expands Medicaid to deal with coronavirus and offers up to two weeks of paid leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave though companies with more than 500 employees are exempt from these provisions.

On Saturday, every Democrat in the House and 140 Republicans backed the bill while 40 Republicans and no Democrats opposed it. U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., voted present. U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., was the only member of the Florida delegation to vote against the proposal. Three Republicans from the Sunshine State–U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz, Francis Rooney and Ted Yoho–did not vote.

Trump signed the bill on Wednesday, even as plans for a third round of legislation dealing with coronavirus continues, members of the Florida delegation continued to push for action.

“While this is an important next step, it’s clear much more needs to be done in order to effectively confront the economic and healthcare fallout that has resulted from this global pandemic,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., on Wednesday “Free testing, paid sick leave, and unemployment insurance are all critical to individuals and families in South Florida, and I’m glad to see it pass in this bill.  I will continue fighting for more science-based measures and resources that will help families and businesses get through this crisis”

“Nothing is more important than keeping American’s safe. I commend President Trump for having negotiated this package with us and for swiftly signing it into law,” said U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla. “Aside from the economic relief this bill will bring to millions of families and small businesses, we must continue ensuring that our local and state officials have the necessary resources they need to treat our communities moving forward.”

In the meantime, plans for a third federal response to coronavirus continue with some estimates showing the federal government could spend $1 trillion including $500 billion going directly to Americans, $300 billion for small businesses, $50 billion for the airline industry and $150 billion for other industries.


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