03.12.20

Daines Introduces Bipartisan Legislation To Provide Unemployment Assistance To People Unable To Work Due To Coronavirus Outbreak

Coronavirus Worker Relief Act Expands Current Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program To More Workers

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today introduced the Coronavirus Worker Relief Act. The new bipartisan, bicameral legislation will provide disaster unemployment assistance to people who are unable to work due to the current coronavirus outbreak. Assistance will be available to individuals, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors, who are sick, quarantined, furloughed, or whose family circumstances keep them from working or reduce their pay as a result of the coronavirus outbreak or government containment efforts. 

“Montana’s working families shouldn’t have to compromise their health or the health of their loved ones over the fear of missing a paycheck and not being able to pay the bills,” Daines said. “This bipartisan legislation gets our workers the financial support and security they need during the coronavirus outbreak. It’s time we put politics aside and get this relief to American workers.” 

The Coronavirus Worker Relief Act will expand the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program by making those who are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak eligible for benefits. Specifically, the bill will:

  • Provide access to disaster unemployment assistance for workers, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors, who are sick, quarantined, furloughed, laid off, or whose individual or family circumstances have changed as a result of COVID-19 or government containment efforts;
  • Waive state waiting periods and work search requirements to ensure that workers can get the assistance they need as soon as possible;
  • Set a minimum amount of assistance at parity with that of state unemployment compensation laws; and
  • Assist states in the administration of this unemployment assistance.   

Background:

Daines has been leading the efforts in Congress to respond to the coronavirus outbreak impacting the country.

On March 9th, 2020, Daines unveiled a slate of proposals and priorities he’s working to advance that will help protect Montana families and their finances during the Coronavirus outbreak including paid leave, temporarily waiving payroll taxes, providing relief from tariffs, and ensuring access to affordable testing.

Earlier in the week, Daines sent a letter urging the Trump administration to take swift action to make testing for the Coronavirus affordable.

The following day the IRS immediately announced it would adopt Daines’ proposal to remove financial barriers to testing and treatment for the Coronavirus by allowing high deductible health plans to cover Coronavirus-related testing and treatment before a patient has met their deductible. 

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