- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Late Wednesday night, House Democrats unveiled the text of their multi-billion economic package, aimed at assisting low-income families and hourly workers hit by the economic consequences of the coronavirus.

The ambitious package includes Democrats’ top three priorities: free coronavirus testing, paid emergency sick leave for all workers, and $1 billion in grants for state unemployment-insurance programs.

It also addresses food security for those being hit by school closures or are otherwise isolated.

This second piece of coronavirus legislation comes on the heels of a strongly bipartisan $8.3 billion emergency spending bill to shore up state and local governments’ ability to respond to the rapidly spreading virus.

“The coronavirus has officially reached a pandemic level, with a rising death toll and deepening impacts on workers and families in communities across the United States,” Rep. Nita Lowey, New York Democrat and Appropriations Committee chairwoman, said in a statement.

“While the $8.3 billion coronavirus supplemental we enacted into law was a crucial step that stabilized our public health system, more support for working families is clearly needed,” she said.

As the House rules committee worked on the bill, Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat and that panel’s chairman, said the administration has until the morning to send any changes it would like to add.

“If the administration has constructive feedback, we will certainly look at it,” he said.

The House will vote on the Democrats’ plan Thursday morning before lawmakers across Capitol Hill leave for a one-week recess.

The Democrats’ bill, which was announced earlier Wednesday morning, was finalized hours after President Trump touted his administration’s plans in a national address.

Mr. Trump announced that he was suspending travel from most of Europe for 30 days starting Friday and reiterated his call for a payroll tax cut, a move that has been met with skepticism across Capitol Hill.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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