Senator Kaine's Message on the Coronavirus
SENATOR KAINE'S MESSAGE ON THE CORONAVIRUS
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I understand this is a time of great concern for many people. As the coronavirus continues to spread, I want you to know my staff and I are continuing to work tirelessly to serve Virginians and ensure the Commonwealth gets the federal support it needs. I encourage Virginians to call our office if they need assistance. Please know our casework and constituent services teams stand by ready to help.
As I monitor the coronavirus outbreak in Virginia and across the nation, I want to share with everyone the steps Congress has taken so far to combat this public health threat, what I am fighting for moving forward, and what everyone can do at home to help keep their families and communities safe.
Congress has passed five important bipartisan laws to address this pandemic. In March, we first passed an $8 billion emergency funding bill to combat the coronavirus that included funding for diagnostic testing, vaccine development, and additional resources for state and local responders who are on the front lines of this pandemic. Virginia received more than $13 million of this federal funding to help cover the costs of preparations for this public health emergency. We then passed a second piece of legislation to provide emergency relief to workers and families, including paid sick leave and extended unemployment insurance.
The third bill – the CARES Act – invested roughly $2 trillion in the U.S. economy and health system to address the coronavirus. This package includes my priorities to provide financial relief to working Americans who are losing earnings, support small businesses, assist state and local governments, strengthen our health care system, and ensure that funding for larger businesses is used to protect their employees. The fourth bill we passed included supplemental funding to support critical efforts like the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
In December, Congress passed a fifth COVID relief bill that includes additional direct assistance for families in the form of stimulus checks, housing assistance, food aid, unemployment assistance, as well as funding for vaccine distribution, child care, and broadband.
However, we still have much more to do. We must make sure the five bills we have passed are implemented promptly and fairly, and keep pushing for reforms to confront this pandemic.
Every American needs to do their part to protect ourselves and those around us. Wear a mask, wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, and adhere to social distancing guidelines. If you are experiencing symptoms, please call your health care provider.
Sacrifice is hard, but a modest sacrifice in the near term can help save the lives of people we love. So I implore every American to follow the recommendations we get from our public health officials and find ways to safely reach out to friends and family during this challenging time.
My staff and I will continue working with officials across local, state, and federal levels to ensure the health and safety of all our fellow Virginians. In the meantime, please take a look at the resources below for more information about how you can protect yourself and reduce the spread of coronavirus.