Rep. Susie Lee Urges Colleagues to Support Comprehensive Coronavirus Relief, Joins House to Pass Second Funding Package

March 13, 2020
Press Release



Washington D.C. - U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (Nev.-03) voted in favor of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which passed the House of Representatives tonight.

Ahead of the vote, Rep. Lee spoke in support of the legislation at a press conference with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.-12), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Mary.-05), and her Freshman colleagues ahead of Friday night’s vote. She highlighted her bill to guarantee family and medical leave to workers during the coronavirus pandemic, which is included in the underlying bill.

Excerpts of Rep. Lee’s Press Conference comments:

“We are in a state of emergency in this country, which we have been for quite a while. And the fact that we have not had testing readily to the American public means that we’re calling on everyone in this country to stand, and not only protect yourself and your community, but protect others--most importantly the most vulnerable in our community. 

“I come from Las Vegas, which is a community that is already feeling the impact of coronavirus with cancellations and with travel restrictions. We are calling on workers to stay home because they’re sick. 

“When they’re staying home we have to take care of their families. 

“That’s why I was so proud to get my bill, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act in this bill, because it will provide families with that support that they need as we work together as a country to make sure that impact we are already feeling from coronavirus is not as extended as deep as it could be.”

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes:

  • Free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured;
  • Paid emergency leave with both 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave;
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance, a first step that will extend protections to furloughed workers;
  • Strengthened food security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors nutrition and food banks; 
  • Clear protections for frontline workers, including health care workers and other workers who are in contact with those who have been exposed or are responsible for cleaning at-risk places; 
  • Increased federal funds for Medicaid, as states face increased costs. 

BACKGROUND: Read the full details of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act here

Yesterday, member of the House Committee on Education and Labor U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (Nev.-03), Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (Va.-03), Workforce Protections Subcommittee Chair Alma Adams (N.C.-12), and Rep. Mark Takano (Calif.-41) introduced the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act to ensure workers have access to extended, job-protected leave to care for themselves and their families amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislation significantly expands the number of U.S. workers who can take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in the event of a quarantine, illness, or school closure related to COVID-19. The bill is supplemented by separate legislation that would provide workers a wage replacement of two-thirds of their wages—up to $4,000 per month—that they can draw down while taking emergency FMLA.

On Mar. 4, Rep. Lee and the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan emergency supplemental appropriation bill of $8.3 billion to address COVID-19 with a vote of 415 to two. The emergency supplemental provides $8.3 billion in entirely new funding—not funding taken from other critical public health priorities—to combat the coronavirus epidemic and keep Americans safe. It includes:

  • More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics;
  • $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response, $950 million of which is to support state & local health agencies;
  • Nearly $1 billion for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity;
  • $61 million to facilitate the development and review of medical countermeasures, devices, therapies, and vaccines, and to help mitigate potential supply chain interruptions;
  • $1.25 billion to address the coronavirus abroad to help keep Americans safe here at home; and
  • Allows for an estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses, to help cushion the economic blow of this public health emergency.

On Feb. 28, Rep. Lee and a group of her congressional colleagues sent a letter to House and Senate leadership voicing support for the appropriation of comprehensive supplemental funding to address COVID-19. Follow the link to read the letter.

As a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC), Rep. Lee called for bipartisan cooperation across the country, congressional leadership, and the administration to combat COVID-19. Follow the link to read PSC’s statement. Rep. Lee and PSC met with Vice President Mike Pence on Mar. 3 to discuss the spread and potential global impact of COVID-19.

Follow the links below for more information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on COVID-19 and steps to take to prevent the spread of the virus: