WASHINGTON – Wednesday on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) expressed his support for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to protect the health and safety of Texans and provide much-needed economic relief to those struggling with the impact of this epidemic.
Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s floor remarks are below, and downloadable audio and video can be found above.
“The difficult decisions that need to be made by elected officials and business owners and community leaders when they decide to shut down normal parts of our daily lives; these are not easy decisions for them to make.”
“This is an all-too familiar struggle for millions of Americans who are unable to go to work during this pandemic and are facing serious economic uncertainty about their future. Those in the service industry, especially those who rely on tips, are among the hardest hit. I’m glad to say that soon the Senate will take action to provide additional relief.”
“The Families First Coronavirus Response Act will help protect both the physical and financial health of our country by supporting workers and their families impacted by the virus. It will remove financial barriers for Texans who need access to coronavirus testing regardless of income or insurance coverage.”
“The bottom line is no one will have to pay to be tested for the coronavirus, period. This legislation also includes a range of provisions to provide financial security for those who are unable to work, and that’s because they are protecting the public health. It will create a new federal emergency paid sick leave program for those impacted by the coronavirus. That means that any Texan, any American who’s diagnosed, quarantining, or caring for a dependent who is impacted by this virus will be able to take 14 days of paid sick leave.”
“This bill also makes changes to unemployment insurance. It will temporarily waive requirements for workers to prove that they are actively searching for work during the public health emergency response, and it will provide $1 billion in emergency grants to states to support processing and paying unemployment insurance benefits.”
“This bill also takes serious steps to strengthen food security for those who are struggling with reliable access to healthy meals.”
“This legislation provides a quarter of a billion dollars for the Senior Nutrition Program to provide home-delivered meals to low-income seniors. It also provides a half a billion dollars for federal food stamps.”
“That’s why I plan to support this bill when a vote is scheduled.”
“It’s time to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and that we provide this needed relief to the American people as soon as possible.”
What the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Means for Texas
The Senate will soon vote on the Families Fist Coronavirus Response Act to help Americans deal with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act:
- Ensures no Texan will have to pay for COVID-19 testing by providing $1 billion to pay COVID-19 testing fees for the uninsured and requires all insurance to cover testing fees.
- Provides 14 days of paid sick leave for Texas workers to cover diagnosis, quarantine, or care for dependents and expands the Family Medical Leave Act to provide 12 weeks of paid leave for workers who need to care for affected dependents due to closures.
- Expands SNAP benefits to Texas families that depend on reduced or free meals through school, including two-thirds of schoolchildren in the state. Sen. Cornyn also recently announced that USDA provided Texas with a waiver to allow students to continue to receive free meals despite school closures.
- Expands access to home delivery meals for the elderly with $240 million so they can remain safely in isolation.
- Expands unemployment benefits during this time of uncertainty by waiving the work-search requirement so that Texans can practice isolation, and authorizes $1 billion in emergency grants for states and interest-free loans to process and pay unemployment insurance benefits.
- Takes care of servicemembers and veterans with $82 million for COVID-19 related expenses for military personnel and Dept. of Defense employees and $60 million for veterans’ related medical services.
- Authorizes an additional $500 million for low-income women and children affected by COVID-19 through the USDA Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program, in which 650,000 Texans are currently enrolled.
- Provides $400 million for food banks, including the at least 21 food banks in Texas that cover every one of our 254 counties.