Rep. Axne Votes to Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Address Health Impacts of Coronavirus

March 14, 2020
Press Release
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act ensures free testing for COVID-19, establishes an emergency paid leave program, and enhances unemployment aid

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted with a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives to pass comprehensive legislation to bolster the federal government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and address the outbreak’s impact on Iowa families’ health and financial stability.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes provisions to establish an emergency paid leave program to replace lost wages for those taking leave to avoid spreading the virus and to ensure all individuals – regardless of insurance status – have access to COVID-19 testing at no cost.

“This coronavirus outbreak is a national emergency — we know it, our public health officials know it, Governor Reynolds knows it, and President Trump knows it,” said Rep. Axne.

“I’m proud to join my colleagues to pass a series of serious public health solutions to provide essential benefits for Iowa families and workers to protect our communities,” continued Rep. Axne. “This legislation provides access to testing without financial burden, gives states the resources to help furloughed or laid off employees, and establishes emergency sick leave so that Iowa workers can follow CDC protocols and stay home if they’re sick.”

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act:

  • Ensures all individuals, regardless of insurance status, will have access to coronavirus testing at no cost.
  • Provides paid emergency sick leave — two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave — to help workers follow prevention guidance and avoid spreading the virus if they’re sick.
  • Gives states the resources and flexibility to provide additional unemployment benefits to laid off and furloughed workers, as well as to those workers who exhaust their allotted paid leave.
  • Includes funding to ensure nutrition assistance programs have adequate resources to deliver food to seniors, food banks, and students who may miss meals if their schools close.
  • Increases federal funding for Medicaid to ensure that state and local public health departments have the resources to fight this disease.

“As a mom and a small business owner, I know the threat that this outbreak presents to our families and businesses,” continued Rep. Axne. “As we strengthen our public health responses, we’ve also provided funding to offset economic consequences for states battling the outbreak and reimburse small businesses for the costs of providing emergency sick leave.”

Last week, Rep. Axne voted to pass legislation that provided $8.3 billion to reinforce federal, state, and local efforts to combat COVID-19 across the United States.

The funding bill, which was signed into law by President Trump on Friday, allocates billions to support public health prevention and response efforts, the development of improved testing and treatment, and authorization for nearly $7 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) loans for impacted small businesses and nonprofits.

Rep. Axne’s website includes prevention recommendations for any Iowans who want updates about novel coronavirus, and is encouraging Iowans with questions to visit the websites for the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).