Senator Cornyn

What the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Means for Texas

March 18, 2020

The Senate will soon vote on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to help Americans deal with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Sen. Cornyn spoke about his support for the bill on the Senate floor earlier today, and below is a summary of its positive impact on Texas.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act:

  • Ensures no Texan will have to pay for COVID-19 testing by providing $1 billion to pay COVID-19 testing fees for the uninsured and requires all insurance to cover testing fees.
  • Provides 10 days of paid sick leave for Texas workers to cover diagnosis, quarantine, or care for dependents and expands the Family Medical Leave Act to provide 12 weeks of paid leave for workers who need to care for affected dependents due to closures.
  • Expands SNAP benefits to Texas families that depend on reduced or free meals through school, including two-thirds of schoolchildren in the state.  Sen. Cornyn also recently announced that USDA provided Texas with a waiver to allow students to continue to receive free meals despite school closures.
  • Expands access to home delivery meals for the elderly with $240 million so they can remain safely in isolation.
  • Expands unemployment benefits during this time of uncertainty by waiving the work-search requirement so that Texans can practice isolation, and authorizes $1 billion in emergency grants for states and interest-free loans to process and pay unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Takes care of servicemembers and veterans with $82 million for COVID-19 related expenses for military personnel and Dept. of Defense employees and $60 million for veterans’ related medical services.
  • Authorizes an additional $500 million for low-income women and children affected by COVID-19 through the USDA Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program, in which 650,000 Texans are currently enrolled.
  • Provides $400 million for food banks, including the at least 21 food banks in Texas that cover every one of our 254 counties.