What’s in the coronavirus bill before Congress?

What’s in the coronavirus bill before Congress?

House lawmakers on Monday approved a revamped multibillion-dollar coronavirus relief package aimed at softening the blow many Americans will feel as stores shutter, people stay indoors and the stock market plummets as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The deal, which was hashed out by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., got the backing of President Trump and is expected to be voted on in the Senate on Tuesday.

Here’s a look at what is — and is not — in the bill:

Free COVID-19 testing

Even as the Trump administration continues to struggle to get the tests to public health providers, the bill would cover — free of charge — a test to anyone who needs it.

The legislation would require all testing costs to be covered under any private insurance plan and through government-funded plans like Medicare and Medicaid. The bill also includes $1 billion to the Disaster Medical System to cover costs for people without medical insurance, $82 million to the Defense Department, $64 million to the Indian Health Service and $60 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Paid sick leave and emergency leave

With one of the biggest economic concerns amid the outbreak being what happens to hourly workers when they can’t go to work, the bill would make governments and employers with less than 500 employees pay two weeks of sick leave if they get the coronavirus, while those workers forced to take care of a loved one with the virus would be paid two-thirds of their regular pay.

Workers would also be able to take another 10 days off work at two-thirds pay.

But there are exceptions.

Businesses that have 50 or fewer employees would be exempt if they are likely to go out of business, and self-employed workers would be able to claim a refundable tax credit to cover sick-leave costs. Large companies — like McDonalds, for example — would also be exempt, but Pelosi would like those companies to pay out of their own pockets.

Already Walmart and a few other major companies have pledged to do so.

Unemployment benefits

The legislation looks to provide additional funds to states that see a 10 percent increase in unemployment, while also loosening states’ requirements to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Health care worker protections

Doctors, nurses and other health care workers are on the frontlines of battling the coronavirus and the bill wants to make sure that they are protected. Included in the legislation is a provision requiring state and local hospitals, along with nursing facilities, to comply with additional, stricter safety and health plans.

Food assistance

The bill would give $250 million to give 25 million home-delivery meals to seniors, $400 million for food banks, $500 million to help feed mothers and young children, and $100 million to territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam.


It would also permit public schools that provide breakfast and lunch to low-income students to hand out the food on the go, inside of in a cafeteria.

The legislation would override a restriction set up by the Trump administration and due to go into effect on April 1, which would cut off benefits for 700,000 adults who are not working.

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