Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Floor Speech

Date: March 13, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BRADY. Mr. Speaker, President Trump's declaration of a national emergency is a call to action to protect American's health and well- being and protect the economy.

This bill, thanks to the leadership of Secretary Mnuchin and Leader McCarthy, and working with both sides of the aisle, meets many of these goals.

The President has succeeded in working with the private sector to achieve free testing, and now our bill builds on that. Americans in need of lab tests for the coronavirus will get them free.

We are making good on President Trump's promise to provide financial assistance for working Americans who are ``ill, quarantined, or caring for others due to coronavirus,'' and it does so using our Tax Code rather than by creating a new entitlement.

The original bill contained provisions that would create undue burdens on America's small businesses. I have spoken directly with President Trump, the champion of small business, who agrees that America's small businesses need flexibility and cash flow when providing emergency leave for workers so that they can operate and survive during this economic challenge.

In order to help small businesses and their workers, language has been added to this bill, and President Trump is directing the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor to write rules to ensure that small businesses do have the flexibility to provide paid leave for their employees.

They shouldn't have to be concerned about cash flow when they work to retain the workers they need to operate and keep serving their customers and our communities. This is vital to America's economic rebound.

This bill also protects seniors and those with severe medical conditions by ensuring that the Social Security Administration is not running a new permanent mandate.

We were also able to stop some misguided demands. In this bill, the health provisions are now limited to COVID-19 without including unrelated treatments, ensuring that pro-life Hyde amendment protections remain intact to prevent taxpayer funds being used for abortions.

Republicans were able to block efforts to add new burdens on hospitals that would have overruled the CDC's science-based guidelines and prevented critical flexibility for our local healthcare providers.

These are temporary, targeted measures. They are temporary because we have seen what happens when a bill that is supposed to be ``timely, targeted, and temporary'' drags on for years. It prolongs economic hardship.

We will rebound, and we will rebound strongly. Good policies--ones that strengthen our local communities--result in speedy recoveries.

In America, we know we are blessed, even when faced with great adversity. We are blessed by an abundance not only of resources but of spirit. It is that very spirit that will get us through the coronavirus and the other challenges we face in the future.

While today's bill is not perfect, it is another step in the right direction toward safety and security and a revitalized economy.

I encourage my colleagues to vote for this bill and then come back to the table so we can continue our work to keep American workers and families prepared, safe, and healthy.