Golden Statement on Bipartisan Deal to Address Coronavirus

March 14, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Following his vote early this morning to pass a bipartisan deal to further address the coronavirus in America, Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) released the following statement.

 

“The political posturing and hand-wringing over who gets the credit and who takes the blame are sadly the norm in Washington, but they have no place in the fight against the coronavirus. The bipartisan legislation we passed this evening took longer than necessary at a moment when time is critical. Thankfully, this bill will increase our ability to provide virus tests, allow paid sick days off from work, and expand unemployment assistance for individuals who lose their job due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

 

“The legislation we passed today is an important step to ease the burden this pandemic may have on communities and people across the country, but our job isn’t done. In the coming weeks, it’s likely that Congress will need to do more as we learn about the virus’ spread in our country.
 

“The next several weeks will challenge Mainers as we all take steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus, protect our families and our communities, and lean on each other to withstand this pandemic. We need to be clear-eyed about what’s next — more people in our state will contract the virus and face very serious health risks, and many Maine workers and small businesses will suffer economic hardship. My staff and I stand ready to assist Mainers as we work through this struggle together.” - Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02)
 

The bipartisan legislation passed in the House this morning provides, among other provisions:

  • Free COVID-19 tests to Americans across the country;

  • Two weeks of paid sick leave and ten weeks of paid family and medical leave for workers impacted by the virus, with tax credits to compensate employers for these costs;

  • Enhanced unemployment benefits to assist workers who are laid off due to economic effects of the coronavirus; 

  • Increased federal funds to address the greater burden placed on MaineCare and other Medicaid programs;

  • Strengthened nutrition programs for vulnerable populations, such as low-income students, pregnant women, infants, and seniors.
     

Last week, Golden helped pass a previous emergency supplemental funding bill to address the threat posed by the coronavirus. That legislation provided $8.3 billion in resources to address the pandemic, including: 

  • Public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response, including support for 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;

  • $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics;

  • Low-interest loans for small businesses who have been affected by the coronavirus.
     

Earlier this week, Golden called on the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make public detailed criteria, a timetable, and an outreach plan for their low-interest loans as soon as possible. The congressman announced changes to his office policies to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, protect the health of his constituents and staff, and continue to provide services and support to his constituents.