Larsen votes to boost federal Response to COVID-19, provide relief to families

  • Thu Mar 19th, 2020 6:19pm
  • News

Submitted by the Office of Rick Larson

Last night PST, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) voted to boost the federal government’s response to COVID-19 and deliver relief for families suffering disruption from the virus’ outbreak. The bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Act passed the House by a vote of 363 to 40.

“My top priority is the health and well-being of all Washingtonians. This bipartisan bill helps to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in my state and provide critical relief for families in the Pacific Northwest whose lives have been upended by the virus outbreak,” said Larsen.

“Specifically, the bill ensures that if you need a COVID-19 test, you do not pay for it, regardless of insurance coverage. The Families First Coronavirus Act includes expanded paid emergency medical leave, extended unemployment insurance and help for health care workers who are working around the clock to keep Washingtonians healthy and safe. It also includes vital federal assistance for children and seniors who rely on nutrition programs like free and reduced lunch and Meals on Wheels – a provision I championed in the final bill.”

Larsen has been a strong advocate for ensuring state and local public health officials and providers have the federal resources needed to combat and mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Last week, Larsen voted for an $8.3 billion supplemental funding bill to help state and local agencies better address the outbreak. Last Friday, Larsen met and spoke with public health and elected officials in Snohomish, Skagit, Island, San Juan and Whatcom counties in the Second District to discuss the local response to COVID-19 and the concerns and needs of communities. Larsen also joined Vice President Mike Pence, Governor Jay Inslee, members of Washington state’s congressional delegation and public health officials last Thursday for an update on critical federal, state and local efforts to combat the virus.

Yesterday, Larsen announced temporary changes to office operations in both his Washington state and Washington, D.C. offices after receiving recommendations from the House Sergeant-at-Arms to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Local offices in Everett and Bellingham and the Washington, D.C. office will be physically closed the week of March 16, and staff will be teleworking and monitoring email and voicemail. All staff meetings will be held virtually. To contact district offices, call 425-252-3188. To contact the Washington, D.C. office, call 202-225-2605. Wait times may be longer than typical. Larsen will continue to hold small meetings with constituents, stakeholders and local officials in the Second District while physical offices remain closed.

For a summary of the Families First Coronavirus Act, click here.

For bill text of the Families First Coronavirus Act, click here.

For the Washington State Department of Health website, click here.

For Second District-specific health department websites, click here.