Press Release

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor Statement on House Passage of Paid Sick Leave, No Cost Coronavirus Testing for Families and Seniors

f t # e
Washington, March 14, 2020 | comments

“Tonight, the House passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that provides paid emergency leave and no cost virus testing for American families. These measures, along with food assistance, unemployment benefits and family medical leave, should provide peace of mind and economic security to families as we weather this public health crisis.  Working families, our older neighbors and small businesses come first and we will not leave them in the lurch if they get sick, quarantined, or suffer.

“It will take all of us working together to stem the spread of coronavirus, and we cannot do that unless we know the extent of infections. That means everyone who needs a test should be tested – without a cost barrier to being tested. Health experts continue to share concerns that the United States is failing when it comes to timely testing for COVID-19, and I’m calling on the Trump Administration to increase the number of tests available in Florida and across the country, something the administration should have done months ago.

“In America, no one should have to make the impossible choice between a paycheck and staying home to avoid spreading the virus or caring for a loved one. Paid sick leave will replace a significant share of lost wages so that those who have symptoms can take leave without worrying about bills or feeding their family. Enhanced unemployment insurance also will be made available to furloughed workers here in Florida.

“Many in our community are concerned about the safety of our most vulnerable populations as we respond to COVID-19, and I’m pleased that this bill strengthens food assistance for seniors, children and our disabled neighbors. This bill appropriates substantial funds to provide food delivery for seniors and meals for students even if school closures occur. I am pleased that food banks like Feeding Tampa Bay will also be supported by this funding."

The Families First package follows on the emergency aid package passed by Congress last week to expedite testing kits, vaccine development, protective gear for health workers and help for small businesses.

“Last week’s $8.3 billion emergency package also contained resources for local public health departments, more robust testing, and vaccine development. These emergency aid packages demonstrate House Democrats’ commitment to decisive and urgent action to keep Americans safe, ease the economic pain of individuals, working families and small businesses and safeguard our economy.  This is an unprecedented moment in our history – Americans have always risen to any challenge and we will rally to support each other.  Kudos to Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her negotiating skill and compassion on behalf of working families. I call on my colleagues in the Senate to pass this package right away.”

f t # e