Coronavirus response: House lawmakers split on aid bill

Washington DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The United States House is working to pass a coronavirus aid package that would secure paid leave for sick workers and implement free COVID-19 testing.

Florida Rep. Kathy Castor – who represents the Tampa Bay area – is on board with the Democratic-led aid package to help families impacted by the virus.

“We’re going to respond as needed,” Rep. Castor (D-FL) said.

The bill includes free testing, nutrition assistance and paid leave.

“People shouldn’t be having to make the decision whether or not they have to go into work to pay their bills when they’re sick,” Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) said.

Cunningham introduced his own bill this week to provide emergency sick leave to people that tested positive for the coronavirus, are quarantined or are caring for someone with the virus.

“We have to contain this virus and make sure this doesn’t spread,” Cunningham added.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) introduced the aid package late Friday afternoon after a lot of back and forth with Republicans.

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) said he’s frustrated at the way the bill came together behind closed doors.

“We’re spending taxpayers’ money in the billions most likely that nobody’s read,” Rep. Norman said.

Alabama Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) said he’s worried the bill goes too far.

“Let’s stick with the things that are directly relevant with doing something about this virus,” Byrne said.

Fellow Republican, South Carolina Congressman Tom Rice, said he wants more time to find a solution.

“We need to make sure that we respond but we need to be deliberate,” Rice (R-SC) said.

On Thursday, the Senate canceled its scheduled recess to debate the bill next week.

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