WASHINGTON — Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) on March 14 released this statement after the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in the House:
“While President Trump is parading around with corporate CEOs and making lofty promises, House Democrats have taken action and passed sensible legislative solutions that put families first. During this public health emergency, Congress must address healthcare costs and lack of access to paid sick leave to meet the needs of working people.
“To prevent the spread of this virus and keep our communities safe, it is crucial for every American to have access to COVID-19 testing. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act guarantees access to COVID-19 testing at no cost, including to those who are uninsured. This removes a significant cost burden for those who are experiencing symptoms or who have been exposed to someone diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
“It is also essential for everyone to take precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. One of the leading CDC recommendations is to stay home while sick. Unfortunately, for millions of working people across the country who do not have access to paid sick leave, staying home would lead to lost wages.
“Missing one day of work could put a significant dent on a family’s budget; missing the mandated 14 days of work for people who have been exposed to COVID-19 would cause many families extreme hardship.
“I’m glad that this legislation included my provision to provide emergency paid family and medical leave (FMLA) benefits to workers who need to stay home sick or care for a loved one who is sick due to COVID-19.
“This legislation prioritizes the health, food, and economic security of the members of our community. I urge my Senate colleagues to pass this legislation swiftly. There is no time to waste.”
A pared-down House version of the bill was passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump on March 18. It will take effect not later than 15 days after enactment.