House passes aid bill after Trump declares virus emergency

Coronavirus

WASHINGTON (AP/WTNH) — The House approved legislation Saturday to provide direct relief to Americans suffering physically, financially and emotionally from the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) said,

“This solid start to confronting a historic national crisis truly puts families first. The Senate – which should be at work right now – must now quickly approve it with the overwhelming bipartisan support that this emergency demands. This crisis has upended workplaces and homes, endangering lives and livelihoods, spreading disease and fear. It must be met with resolve, resilience, and compassion. These steps are a sound beginning to help families meet every day needs – putting food on the table and paying their mortgage – if workers must stay home or lose their jobs. It helps small businesses with the financially backbreaking shock of economic disruption. It helps states meet dire healthcare needs through expanded Medicaid funding. Its overwhelming bipartisan support reflects the courageous leadership of Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer, and more will follow.”

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn)

The action comes after President Donald Trump declared the outbreak a national emergency, freeing up money and resources to fight it, then threw his support behind the congressional package.

Still, he’s denied any responsibility for delays in making testing available for the new virus, whose spread has roiled markets and disrupted the lives of everyday Americans.

In a press conference Saturday, President Trump said he was tested for coronavirus and is waiting for results. When asked when the results would come in, he said, “I don’t know, whatever it takes.” He said he also had his temperature taken.

The House passed the bill after midnight on a bipartisan vote, 363-40. It now goes to the Senate.

“We did what we said we were going to do: Put families first,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said in a tweet Saturday morning he hopes the Senate votes on the bill quickly, even if it means calling lawmakers into session during the weekend.

The aid package from Congress would provide free tests, sick pay for workers and bolster food programs. The crush of activity caps a tumultuous week in Washington.

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