A bill to ease the financial burden from the coronavirus has passed the House but may face opposition from senators concerned about its paid sick leave provisions.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act — which passed the House on a 363-40-1 vote on Saturday — had yet to be delivered to the Senate on Monday as lawmakers continued working with the White House on technical corrections.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said senators “will need to carefully review” the proposal but he believes “the vast majority of senators in both parties will agree we should act swiftly to secure relief for American workers, families, and small businesses.”

But how swiftly it will pass the Senate remained uncertain. “The 14 days of paid sick leave the legislation guarantees has spurred concerns from Republicans, who are worried the proposal could put too much pressure on small businesses,” Vox reported.

“We worry that the bill [sets] up a new and complicated system relying on businesses giving paid sick leave and then getting a refundable tax credit that won’t move quickly enough and could put pressure on those businesses to lay workers off,” Sen. Tom Cotton, Republican from Arkansas, said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged those concerns, saying on Sunday, “We are hearing feedback that certain small businesses are concerned about the burden” of paid sick leave.

The relief package passed by the House also, among other things, requires private health plans to cover coronavirus testing at no cost and puts $1 billion into emergency state grants for providing unemployment insurance benefits.

But according to Vox, “Republicans in the past have long been skeptical of implementing paid sick leave programs … and it seems like the coronavirus relief bill simply offers the latest opportunity for them to make their point.”

Under the House legislation, however, the federal government would cover the costs for small businesses that offer paid sick leave. “Much of the Republican pushback … appears to discount this fact,” Vox noted.

According to The New York Times, the bill guarantees sick leave only to about 20% of workers.

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One response to “Coronavirus Relief Bill Faces Holdup in Senate”

  1. Letter sent to Senators:
    Congress is going to pass a new set of laws where the federal government is going to take care of those affected by the coronavirus however, latest reports point out that their approach will take care of around only 20% of those who will be affected. To be fair those affected will be far more than those who are infected by the virus. What about all of those who have already been or will be laid off do to things like sports cancelations or the next businesses whose sales are way down and cannot afford to keep so many on their payrolls or have other employees who do not have the virus but must take the time to directly take care of those who do? The US Government cannot even begin to deal with the many sides of the issue and to be fair nor can the applicable states. These problems need to become local issues and hence only the local governments can or should be required to deal with these problems. However, what about their money problems? Most cannot afford to spend that which they do not have and unlike the feds they do not have a monetary system where they can simply create the money (that is another problem but we will not discuss it today). So, here is a very simple solution which unfortunately will take another vote at the federal level and this is where you need to become involved. First, the feds need to let the counties throughout the nation know that the feds will cover all the related direct costs for such things as lost wages, additional medical expenses, which include both testing and treatments, which the counties will cover. Second, the counties will have to set up a data management system which identifies their disbursements for only the auditable items defined by the feds. Third, the counties will have to correctly bill the feds every month following their month of related disbursements. Forth, included in this federal commitment will be a new law which will hold anyone in the local governments who misrepresents their federal reimbursement expenses, aside from corrections that will most likely be made and where the county gets more than that for which they will become legally entitled, to a federal charge which should be life in prison. Finally, this approach will need to be in place for as long as the virus is still affecting the applicable county. Are you ready to take on this challenge and will you be the elected official who will be the first to make this type of proposal to our proven out of touch government? Let me and your voters know.

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