ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed expects the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), an aid bill being considered by the Senate, will be approved and signed on Tuesday. He said it will quickly make necessary funds available across the country.
He said part of the coming package will include income assistance to help people who have been laid off due to quarantine or business closures.
“There’s immediate access to paid time off for 14 days in that bill,” Reed said. “There’s potentially 10 weeks of additional time off that is in this bill. God forbid we have to go through that entire 10 week period of time.”
Reed said the bill includes enhanced unemployment benefits for people who are laid off because of the economic effects of the novel coronavirus.
He said that next step for Congress is to work on ways to fill the gap between unemployment benefits and a person’s regular wages.
On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all restaurants, gyms, and some other types of businesses to close or limit service to takeout orders only for an indefinite period of time. Cuomo made the decision to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Reed also said that Congress is keeping an eye on the needs of families while schools are closed.
Congressman Tom Reed said H.R. 6201 includes funds that schools can use to help provide meals to children who need them while schools are closed in response to COVID-19.
He also said Congress is considering the need for more food aid to schools in the future.
“If this situation continues beyond this immediate need, that is one of the areas we are paying particular attention to make sure that, that resource of food supply, food security from our schools is continued as we go through this, down the road.”
On Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all New York schools to close by March 18 and stay closed for at least two weeks until April 1.
All public schools in Tompkins County are already temporarily closed until April 13. The Ithaca school district has six school locations for families to pick up meals for students.
Reed represents New York’s 23rd congressional district which includes Ithaca, Hornell and Corning.