March 18, 2020

Duckworth Votes for the Bipartisan Coronavirus Response Act in the Senate


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today voted for the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which cleared the U.S. House of Representatives last week and now heads to the President’s desk. She issued the following statement regarding her vote:

“We must always put families first in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and I’m proud to vote for this bipartisan agreement that does just that. This bill pushes the Trump Administration to improve its inadequate and counterproductive efforts to protect Americans from COVID-19 by refocusing our nation’s response to where it should have been from the beginning: testing. That’s the first and most important thing we have to do better in order to keep our nation healthy, and I’m pleased that this agreement vastly expands testing access and makes it free for those who need it.

“The legislation also addresses other important policy issues related to coronavirus, including guaranteed paid sick leave so workers don’t have to choose between a paycheck and going to work while sick, expanded emergency unemployment insurance to help those who’ve lost their jobs as a result of this crisis, as well as increased investments in Medicaid and food security. The President needs to sign this bipartisan response into law immediately.”

“While this is a positive development, there’s still a significant amount of work to be done to provide adequate and necessary emergency response assistance. This includes an injection of emergency appropriations targeted at programs that support the pandemic response, support for social safety net programs that help the working class during economic crises and policy changes to better protect hard-working Americans from financial ruin caused by COVID-19.”

Senator Duckworth has taken a range of actions to encourage the federal government to better support Americans and help defeat the spread of COVID-19. Last week, she introduced the COVID-19 Health Care Worker Protection Act to ensure health care facilities implement comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plans to keep front line health care workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Duckworth cosponsored the Free COVID-19 Testing Act, which would expand free tests to confirm coronavirus infections.

She pressed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield for information on the potential shortage of enzymes needed for CDC coronavirus test kits. Duckworth also wrote to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to highlight her concerns that the Department of Defense has not yet taken proactive steps to ensure the readiness of National Guard and Reserve units to support local civilian authorities should the COVID-19 pandemic continue to spread. She wrote to the U.S. Small Business Administration to request the agency establishes a task force focused on effectively and efficiently providing assistance to small businesses harmed by the outbreak of COVID-19. Duckworth sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging the agency to dramatically improve establish clear diagnostic testing procedures, capabilities and production capacity to better mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Senator Duckworth also spoke out about Donald Trump’s long-overdue decision to issue an emergency disaster declaration under the Stafford Act so that state and local governments can receive much-needed support. Duckworth joined U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in demanding additional federal resources from the Trump Administration for O’Hare International Airport after hundreds of passengers were forced to wait in close quarters for hours in order to clear medical screenings at customs.