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Is Coronavirus bridging USA's political divide? Trump tweets support, 'free test' law proposed by Dems gets passed

Trump urged Democrats and Republicans to unite and vote in favor of the Coronavirus Response Act announced by Pelosi
UPDATED MAR 20, 2020
Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Mike Pence (Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Mike Pence (Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

As the number of those suffering from COVID-19 increases in the United States, the government is scrambling to introduce measures to combat the spread of the disease and improve testing among the population.

On Friday, March 13, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency freeing up as much as $50B for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak. He also announced a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities that include drive-through testing in some locations and an online portal to screen those seeking to get tested.

Later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that House Democrats have reached an agreement with the administration to introduce the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The legislation will mainly focus on COVID-19 testing measures in the United States. Pelosi urged free testing for everyone who requires it, including the uninsured. She added that the legislation also provides for paid emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave. Additionally, there will be "enhanced Unemployment Insurance" to extend protections to furloughed workers.

While there was confusion after the announcement of the deal whether President Trump had endorsed the package as several GOP leaders said that no agreement had secured, Trump later tweeted his support for the bill, writing, "I fully support H.R. 6201: Families First CoronaVirus Response Act, which will be voted on in the House this evening."

He further said, "I have directed the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations that will provide flexibility so that in no way will Small Businesses be hurt. I encourage all Republicans and Democrats to come together and VOTE YES!," adding that he was looking forward to signing the bill.

Early on March 14, the House passed the 110-page bill with an overwhelming 363-40-1 vote. The legislation will be up for approval in the Senate next week before Trump can sign it into law.