COVID-19 Update: Putting Families First

March 16, 2020
Blog Post

I want to ensure you have the latest available information to protect and care for yourself and your loved ones, as well as provide an update on what Congress is doing to address this public health threat.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) labeled the COVID-19 a pandemic and the situation is rapidly evolving. It is important that you are aware of the disease and the efforts necessary to prevent it from spreading. Click here if you would like to continue to receive updates, and visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website for the latest information and recommendations. 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act 

Early Saturday morning, I voted for H.R. 6201, the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act, critical legislation to support Arizona families facing COVID-19.

First and foremost, our bill ensures free coronavirus testing for every Arizonan who needs a test—including the uninsured. To get this outbreak under control and defeat it, we need to significantly expand testing so we can respond in a way that is precise and based in data and science.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act also includes:

  • Emergency paid sick leave to help replace lost wages for those who can’t work due to illness or caregiving responsibilities, including two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave
  • Enhanced, emergency unemployment measures that give states the resources and flexibility to offer unemployment benefits to laid-off and furloughed workers, as well as to those who exhaust their paid leave
  • More than $1 billion to expand food assistance programs to provide nutritious food to low-income pregnant women, mothers with young children, low-income seniors, and children who depend on schools’ free and reduced-priced meals in the case of school closures
  • Emergency measures to protect front-line health care workers
  • Funding for states to handle the ongoing economic consequences of the pandemic, including funding to state and territorial Medicaid programs to prevent states from cutting benefits

Arizonans deserve a coordinated, fully-funded, government-wide response to keep us safe from the coronavirus pandemic. And we have already begun work to develop a third emergency response package that will continue to put families first.

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act

Last week, I voted for an emergency coronavirus response package of $8.3 billion which included funding for vaccine development, support for state and local governments, and assistance for affected small businesses. This bipartisan package was signed into law by President Trump on March 6, 2020.

Changes to Operations in My Offices

As a member of Congress, the health and safety of Americans is my top priority. In that spirit, we have made changes to the way we’re conducting business in both the Phoenix office and Washington, D.C. office.

  • Starting last Friday, all staff members and interns who work in the Washington, D.C. office are required to telework until further notice.
  • Starting today, March 16, staff members and interns who work in the Phoenix office are encouraged to telework. Our Phoenix office will no longer be taking walk-in meetings.
  • Staff members in both offices will continue to receive and respond to telephone calls, provide casework assistance, and answer correspondence.
  • At the direction of the Sergeant-at-Arms and in consultation with the Office of Attending Physician, the Capitol complex is closed to members of the general public, including tours, from March 13, 2020 until at least the end of the month.

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. There are simple, everyday precautions you can take to help contain the spread of respiratory viruses, including: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

If you are sick or experiencing symptoms, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others you should:

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • Wear a facemask. CDC recommends facemasks be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also critical for health workers and care takers.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. 

Stay Informed

Experts have been working hard to understand this new strain of coronavirus. Because the situation is rapidly evolving, please visit the sites below to stay up to date.

The Centers for Disease Control provides updates on the virus and safety information for the public and healthcare professionals.

The State Department provides a list of travel advisories for those who are planning to fly outside of the United States.

The Arizona Department of Health Services provides Arizona-specific updates on COVID-19 testing and response. 

I will continue to work hard put families first and protect Arizonans. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Issues: