Pappas Supports House Passage of Bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act

March 14, 2020
Press Release
Legislation strengthens federal response by providing paid leave, establishing free testing, and providing important benefits to affected families

WASHINGTON, DC - Early this morning Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) voted to pass the House’s second emergency package to bolster the federal government's response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Following the first response package passed on March 4th, this new legislation establishes free coronavirus testing for all who need it, ensures emergency paid leave, enhances unemployment benefits, expands food assistance, and provides additional funding to states and small businesses and their employees for the ongoing economic consequences of the pandemic. 

“As the medical community acts swiftly to contain and mitigate the outbreak of COVID-19, it is crucial that we provide immediate relief to the families, communities, and local economies that have already felt its effects,” said Congressman Pappas. “New Hampshire families need our support during this uncertain time, which is why I voted to pass the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This legislation strengthens the federal government’s initial $8.3 billion response package to the coronavirus by creating an emergency paid leave program, expanding food assistance programs, and strengthening unemployment benefits. This package also provides free testing to ensure we can catch and contain this virus as quickly as possible.” 

“I have faith in our nation’s ability to fight this pandemic, but the spread of the coronavirus will continue to present new challenges impacting every corner of our state,” continued Congressman Pappas. “Moving forward we must support students being affected by university closures, expand access to health services, ensure everyone is still able to receive their prescription drugs, and mitigate the impacts on New Hampshire’s small businesses and industries. Now more than ever we must work together and put the health and economic priorities of this nation first," Pappas continued. 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act will: 

  • Establishes Emergency Paid Leave Program that replaces a significant share of lost wages so that those who take leave to avoid spreading the virus
  • Strengthens food assistance by providing more than $1billion to help local food banks and provide home-delivered meals to seniors
  • Enhances unemployment aid for laid off or furloughed workers 
  • Ensures free coronavirus testing for those with private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, VA, TRICARE, and the uninsured 
  • Safeguards Medicaid benefits by providing additional federal funding to Medicaid programs and preventing states from cutting Medicaid benefits

Yesterday Congressman Pappas, along with Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TX-35) and Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), also led over 100 lawmakers urging HHS to establish a Special Enrollment Period for patients to seek ACA Marketplace coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is particularly important for New Hampshire, which is one of the 38 states covered by the federal exchange. 

On Tuesday afternoon Congressman Pappas and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) hosted a telephone town hall for over 10,000 Granite Staters with Dr. Benjamin Chan, State Epidemiologist for New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH-DHHS); and Beth Daly, Chief of the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at NH-DHHS to answer questions and give updates on coronavirus mitigation and best practices. 

In Manchester on Monday, Pappas met with city health and public safety officials for a briefing and update on Manchester’s coronavirus preparation.