Senate Passes Coronavirus Emergency Relief Bill After Some GOP Hesitation

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Posted: Mar 18, 2020 4:22 PM
Senate Passes Coronavirus Emergency Relief Bill After Some GOP Hesitation

Source: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act by a vote of 90-8 on Wednesday, after some initial hesitations from Republicans as to how the relief bill would affect small businesses. The measure will provide free COVID-19 testing to anyone who thinks they made need it, as well as paid medical leave for employees. President Trump, who endorsed the measure last week, awaits the bill at his desk.

Republicans were concerned about how the mandated paid sick leave would affect businesses, considering it offered no sunset provisions. But Republican leadership advised senators to vote for the admittedly imperfect legislation.

"I will vote to pass their bill," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. "This is a time for urgent bipartisan action, and in this case, I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers."

McConnell indicated that the Senate GOP is now working on a third, broader stimulus package to help Americans who have been physically or financially impacted by the pandemic. Previously, Congress passed an $8 billion package to combat the disease.