Along with last week’s roll call votes, the Senate also passed a bill (S. 3501), to provide a 77-day extension of certain authorities for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations; and a bill (S. 3503), to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to treat certain programs of education converted to distance learning by reason of emergencies and health-related situations in the same manner as programs of education pursued at educational institutions.

The House also passed a bill (S. 3503), to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to treat certain programs of education converted to distance learning by reason of emergencies and health-related situations in the same manner as programs of education pursued at educational institutions.

HOUSE VOTES

CORONAVIRUS SPENDING: The House has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), sponsored by Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y. The bill would provide emergency spending in fiscal 2020 to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, for measures including free testing for the virus, and food and unemployment benefits. Lowey said: “This bill will give the president and our public health officials the tools that are needed right now to respond to this quickly changing threat.” The vote, on March 13, was 363 yeas to 40 nays.
NOT VOTING: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District
YEAS: Jared Golden, D-2nd District

SENATE VOTES

CORONAVIRUS PAID LEAVE: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), that would have required employers to provide two weeks of paid emergency days, 12 weeks of paid emergency leave, and seven days of accrued paid sick leave payments to employees, with the federal government to then reimburse employers for the payments. Murray called the payments a commonsense means of “getting people the support they need right now for this emergency that is at hand.” The vote, on March 18, was 47 yeas to 51 nays.
NAYS: Susan Collins, R-Maine
YEAS: Angus King, I-Maine

CORONAVIRUS LEAVE BENEFITS: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201). The amendment would have replaced the bill’s provision for federally mandated sick pay and paid family leave provided by employers and instead provided for payments through federal unemployment insurance programs that are administered by state governments. Johnson said the sick pay and paid family leave mandate would “do a great deal of economic harm,” and the better approach was to enact temporary emergency federal unemployment payments that utilize existing programs administered by the states. An amendment opponent, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said: “Requiring people to quit their jobs so they can care for a child who has been sent from school is absurd. It is far better to have a national paid leave program.” The vote, on March 18, was 50 yeas to 48 nays, with a three-fifths majority required for approval.
NAYS: Collins, King

CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY SPENDING: The Senate has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), sponsored by Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y. The bill provides emergency spending in fiscal 2020 to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, for measures including paid sick leave, free testing for the virus, and food and unemployment benefits. A supporter, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said: “This legislation will go a long way in providing immediate relief for those who are struggling to make ends meet during this challenging time.” The vote, on March 18, was 90 yeas to 8 nays.
YEAS: Collins, King

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