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house Bill H.R. 6201

Providing Free Coronavirus Testing, Paid Leave, Plus Expanded Food Aid & Unemployment Benefits During the Outbreak

Argument in favor

It may not be perfect, but the updated version of this bill represents a genuine, bipartisan compromise between Democrats & Republicans to protect Americans from the harmful effects of the coronavirus outbreak by ensuring they can get tested at no cost, have access to paid leave, food security programs, and unemployment insurance if they get sick.

Dicr's Opinion
···
03/12/2020
Let’s be realistic, Moscow Mitch doesn’t lift a finger unless he gets all the credit for something. Along with Rand Paul, Kentucky Senator’s have been screwing over America for years with their selfish voting.
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Yours.Truly's Opinion
···
03/12/2020
Providing free testing and care, plus food aid and other things that will actually help working people in this pandemic, is a much better thing to do than lowering the payroll tax or bailing out shale companies.
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jimK's Opinion
···
03/12/2020
UPDATED: Another reason that broad scale testing is needed is to identify those who have already unknowingly contracted COVID-19 and recovered. If these people are health workers, they can operate more effectively without the added fear of contracting the disease. If they are seniors, they will know that they can safely help watch the kids that being kept home from school and free-up healthcare workers or those economically distressed parents unable to work from home. It is part of aiding the recovery to know who has contracted this disease and has recovered- these folks can be invaluable resources in helping the country cope during this health emergency. … … … trump’s plan boils down to using a pandemic as an excuse to further goose the economy and has fairly little to do with protecting the populace. The economy has been propped up already so far that we can look forward to an extreme recession if not a full blown depression - and all his unprecedented propping up has sacrificed much of the margins needed for realistic economic stimulus needed to recover. trump’s actions so far have been mainly for economic electability. The pandemic is a big deal; the only country that appears to have it’s spread under control is China and the only reason it is under control is China, due to the massive control of their populace by means that most democracies could not exert over their population. There can be no effective control if you cannot measure the extent of the problem, that is why testing must be available to everyone that needs it- wether they have insurance or not. Covering sick time income losses is mandatory because we need to keep all infected people from spreading the disease. It has nothing to do with being a ‘welfare state’; it has everything to do with protecting our country from a preventable disaster. It is not unlike calling the Army Corp of Engineers to protect coastal cities by building barriers for storm surge or managing water runoff in areas prone to flooding. It is much like anticipating a known disaster and investing to mitigate it’s impact. If trumpublicans block this sound apolitical legislation in order to politicize it, they will be adding to our country’s irresponsible delays and will further damage our future. Our Country’s response has been an international embarrassment. This is a spreading humanitarian disaster supported by facts and world-wide measures that we cannot seem to muster. Disinformation campaigns can’t fix the problem- only concrete expedient actions will. Increasing ‘capital liquidity’ and reducing payroll taxes are not the answers; The ‘all-significant’ markets indices further collapse today proves that even big money does not support trump’s asinine solutions and highlights our government’s demonstrated lack of leadership.
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Argument opposed

The updated version of this bill is only a marginal improvement on the original, and still constitutes a drastic overreach of the federal government. It is still a massive extension of federal welfare programs, and the House is going to vote on it before a cost estimate is available to gauge how it will spend taxpayer dollars to grow the deficit.

B.R.'s Opinion
···
03/12/2020
I would not approve this bill as written. While there are some valid recommendations, there are others that are unrelated to the issues of the virus and appear to be past wish list items woven in.
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Ronald's Opinion
···
03/12/2020
Food aid, and unemployment are Democrat wish list items. Just say "NO". Payroll tax holiday for employers, and employees will deal better with this situation. Above all: All Politicians Must warn against panic. This morning in my local supermarket I saw panic buying I have not seen since the 2K Farce. Media, and Democrats, and drive by media must denounce this. It will lead to violence, shortages, and issues not needed. If Democrats, deep state traitors, or media cared about any American Citizen they would be warning against panic, hoarding food, or money. Anything else in this situation. People working to make life harder in a crisis are not your friends. They are to be opposed. Federal Government isw not the answer to this, or any crisis. Our Free Market has helped far more people than any government, ever.
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David's Opinion
···
03/12/2020
You Democrats don’t waste any time in expanding the welfare state in order to buy more votes. Having said that, I think the measure is premature. I’m open to consider each issue *individually* later on.
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What is House Bill H.R. 6201?

(UPDATED - 3/13/20): This bill has been amended prior to reaching the House floor for a vote. Known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, this bill would ensure coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for all at no cost to the consumer; provide paid leave related to the outbreak; reform & expand unemployment benefits during the outbreak; and increase funding for food security programs. A breakdown of the current provisions of the bill can be found below.

Supplemental Appropriations & Nutrition Waivers: This section would provide additional appropriations to address aspects of the coronavirus outbreak, including:

  • $500 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to support low-income pregnant women or mothers with young children through FY2021;

  • $400 million for the commodity food assistance program to purchase food, up to $100 million of which could be used to cover distribution & storage costs, through FY2021; and

  • $100 million in grants to U.S. territories and commonwealths for nutrition assistance in response to a designated COVID-19 public health emergency.

  • $82 million for the Defense Health Program for COVID-19 related items & services.

  • $64 million for the Indian Health Services for COVID-19 related items & services.

  • $30 million for the Veterans Health Administration for COVID-19 related items & services, including those provided through VA Community Care.

  • $15 million for taxpayer services through FY2022 to fund the Internal Revenue Service’s processing of tax returns filed under extension.

A $1 billion Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund would be established under the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) to pay claims of providers for reimbursement of health services & items related to COVID-19, including those for uninsured patients. All healthcare funds appropriated under this bill would be subject to the Hyde Amendment’s restrictions, which prohibit the use of federal funds for abortions.

During FY2020, any case in which a school is closed for at least 5 consecutive days during a designated public health emergency would a household with at least 1 eligible child to receive nutrition assistance benefits under a state agency plan. Those benefits would be at least the value of meals at the free rate over the course of 5 school days for each eligible child.

Additional appropriations include:

  • $250 million for aging & disability services programs at the Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS), including $160 million for Home-Delivered Nutrition Services, $80 million for Congregate Nutrition Services, and $10 million for Nutrition Services for Native Americans, through FY2021. 

  • These programs would help low-income seniors who are home-bound, have disabilities, have multiple chronic illnesses, as well as their caregivers.

This bill would waive requirements to allow meal and meal supplement programs to continue for children under school lunch and other child and adult care food programs in compliance with appropriate COVID-19 safety measures in individual settings. Meal pattern requirements could be waived if there is a food supply disruption in the course of the public health emergency.

Low-income jobless workers would be eligible for supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits unless they fail to comply with the requirements of the state agency’s program for the duration of the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.

Paid Leave: Employees of employers with less than 500 employees and government employers who’ve been on the job for at least 30 days would have the right to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for any of the following reasons:

  • To adhere to a requirement or recommendation to quarantine due to exposure to or symptoms of coronavirus;

  • To care for an at-risk family member who is adhering to a requirement or recommendation to quarantine due to exposure to or symptoms of coronavirus; and

  • To care for a child of an employee if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the child-care provider is unavailable, due to coronavirus.

After two weeks of paid leave, employees will receive a benefit from their employers that will be no less than two-thirds of the employee’s usual pay.

Unemployment Insurance: This section would provide $1 billion in 2020 for emergency grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance (UI) benefits under certain conditions. Of the total, $500 million would be used to provide additional funding to all states for staffing, technology, systems, and other administrative costs so long as they met basic requirements about ensuring access to benefits for eligible workers, including:

  • Require employers to provide notification of potential UI eligibility to laid-off workers;

  • Ensure that workers have at least two ways (such as online or by phone) to apply for benefits.

  • Notify applicants when an application is received and being processed and if the application can’t be processed, provide information to the applicant about how to ensure successful processing.

States would be required to report on the share of eligible individuals who received UI benefits and the state’s efforts to ensure access within one year of receiving the funding, which would be distributed in the same proportions as regular UI administrative funding provided through annual appropriations.

The remaining $500 million would be reserved for emergency grants to states which experienced at least a 10% increase in unemployment. Those states would be eligible to receive an additional grant in the same amount as the original grant to assist with costs related to the unemployment spike and would be required to take steps to temporarily ease eligibility requirements that may limit access to unemployment insurance during the COVID-19 outbreak, like work search requirements, waiting periods, and requirements to increase employer UI taxes if they have high layoff rates. Depending on the state, those actions may require changes in state law or policy. There would be temporary flexibility for UI restrictions in federal law.

Health Provisions: This section would require private health plans to provide coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, including the cost of a provider, urgent care center, and emergency room visits to receive testing. Coverage would have to be provided at no cost to the consumer.

Diagnostic testing, including the cost of the visit in order to receive testing, would be provided at no cost to the beneficiary under:

  • Medicare Part B;

  • Medicare Advantage;

  • Medicaid and CHIP; and

  • TRICARE.

Additionally, uninsured individuals, veterans, federal civilians, American Indians, and Alaska Natives would receive COVID-19 diagnostic testing at no cost.

States would receive a temporary increase to the federal medical assistance percentage for the duration of the public health emergency of 6.2%.

Impact

People, families, healthcare workers, and businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak; healthcare providers; and government agencies at the federal and state levels.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6201

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) offered the following statement on this package after a compromise was reached with the Trump administration:

“By now, you know from the President’s tweet that he has joined in support of our bipartisan legislation to put Families First and address the coronavirus crisis. I am writing to thank you for your patience! Because it was essential for us to have legislation pass the House by this weekend, it required intense and constant negotiations for what could have been an elusive agreement… While we could have passed this bill on our own, I believe it was important for us to assure the American people that we can work together to manage this crisis. Our agenda which puts Families First with the $8.3 billion bipartisan emergency coronavirus response bill last week and tonight’s legislation presents a strong stimulus to our economy to protect the health and financial security of America’s working families as we fight the coronavirus crisis.”

President Donald Trump tweeted his support for this agreement:

“I fully support H.R. 6201: Families First CoronaVirus Response Act, which will be voted on in the House this evening. This Bill will follow my direction for free CoronaVirus tests, and paid sick leave for our impacted American workers. I have directed the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations that will provide flexibility so that in no way will Small Businesses be hurt. I encourage all Republicans and Democrats to come together and VOTE YES! I will always put the health and well-being of American families FIRST. Look forward to signing the final Bill, ASAP!”

House Republicans and the Trump administration opposed the original version of this bill for, among other things, containing no restrictions on the use of the $1 billion in healthcare funds for abortions (those Hyde Amendment restrictions are typically attached to spending bills) and no sunset for the paid sick leave program. Those provisions led House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called the original bill, which was drafted exclusively by Democrats, “completely partisan” and “unworkable”

The original 124-page bill was introduced at 11:01pm EDT on March 11th, and Democratic leadership announced that it would receive a vote on the House floor between 1:00 and 2:00pm EDT on March 12th. Its consideration was postponed after it became clear it lacked the support of Republicans and the White House.

The revised bill is expected to receive a vote on the House floor the night of Friday, March 13th, or after midnight on Saturday, March 14th, under the suspension of the rules process that allows for expedited debate and requires a two-thirds majority for passage. The Senate will consider it as soon as Monday, March 16th.

Of Note: An $8.3 billion package for coronavirus response, preparedness, and vaccine development was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump during the week of March 4th.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / narvikk)

AKA

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Official Title

Making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate Passed March 18th, 2020
    Roll Call Vote 90 Yea / 8 Nay
  • The house Passed March 13th, 2020
    Roll Call Vote 363 Yea / 40 Nay
    IntroducedMarch 11th, 2020

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!
    Let’s be realistic, Moscow Mitch doesn’t lift a finger unless he gets all the credit for something. Along with Rand Paul, Kentucky Senator’s have been screwing over America for years with their selfish voting.
    Like (361)
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    I would not approve this bill as written. While there are some valid recommendations, there are others that are unrelated to the issues of the virus and appear to be past wish list items woven in.
    Like (62)
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    Share
    Providing free testing and care, plus food aid and other things that will actually help working people in this pandemic, is a much better thing to do than lowering the payroll tax or bailing out shale companies.
    Like (288)
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    UPDATED: Another reason that broad scale testing is needed is to identify those who have already unknowingly contracted COVID-19 and recovered. If these people are health workers, they can operate more effectively without the added fear of contracting the disease. If they are seniors, they will know that they can safely help watch the kids that being kept home from school and free-up healthcare workers or those economically distressed parents unable to work from home. It is part of aiding the recovery to know who has contracted this disease and has recovered- these folks can be invaluable resources in helping the country cope during this health emergency. … … … trump’s plan boils down to using a pandemic as an excuse to further goose the economy and has fairly little to do with protecting the populace. The economy has been propped up already so far that we can look forward to an extreme recession if not a full blown depression - and all his unprecedented propping up has sacrificed much of the margins needed for realistic economic stimulus needed to recover. trump’s actions so far have been mainly for economic electability. The pandemic is a big deal; the only country that appears to have it’s spread under control is China and the only reason it is under control is China, due to the massive control of their populace by means that most democracies could not exert over their population. There can be no effective control if you cannot measure the extent of the problem, that is why testing must be available to everyone that needs it- wether they have insurance or not. Covering sick time income losses is mandatory because we need to keep all infected people from spreading the disease. It has nothing to do with being a ‘welfare state’; it has everything to do with protecting our country from a preventable disaster. It is not unlike calling the Army Corp of Engineers to protect coastal cities by building barriers for storm surge or managing water runoff in areas prone to flooding. It is much like anticipating a known disaster and investing to mitigate it’s impact. If trumpublicans block this sound apolitical legislation in order to politicize it, they will be adding to our country’s irresponsible delays and will further damage our future. Our Country’s response has been an international embarrassment. This is a spreading humanitarian disaster supported by facts and world-wide measures that we cannot seem to muster. Disinformation campaigns can’t fix the problem- only concrete expedient actions will. Increasing ‘capital liquidity’ and reducing payroll taxes are not the answers; The ‘all-significant’ markets indices further collapse today proves that even big money does not support trump’s asinine solutions and highlights our government’s demonstrated lack of leadership.
    Like (271)
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    Strong measures so people can stay home while sick, or care for kids during school shutdowns will not only lessen spread but restore confidence of citizens & the stock market! Luckily, governors handle day-to-day operations conducting daily televised briefings while Mitch McConnell contemplated Senate recess for 10 days but instead opted for a 3 day long weekend. Fund the states & let them get the job done using their evidence-based public health experts! @Robert: Agree this should not be political. Suggest Countable posters stop with the politics and address the pros & cons of options. Tired of hearing people or parties called dumb or stupid! Thank you Jamie Raskin for voting “Yea”! List of 40 House Representatives voting “Nay”! [NOTE: All Republicans] Bradley Byrne Ala. 1 Andy Biggs Ariz. 5 Debbie Lesko Ariz. 8 Tom McClintock Calif. 4 Ken Buck Colo. 4 Michael Waltz Fla. 6 Greg Steube Fla. 17 Jody B. Hice Ga. 10 Barry Loudermilk Ga. 11 Steve King Iowa 4 Russ Fulcher Idaho 1 Jim Banks Ind. 3 Tom Emmer Minn. 6 Billy Long Mo. 7 Jason Smith Mo. 8 Dan Bishop N.C. 9 Ted Budd N.C. 13 Jim Jordan Ohio 4 Warren Davidson Ohio 8 Kevin Hern Okla. 1 Joe Wilson S.C. 2 Jeff Duncan S.C. 3 William R. Timmons IV S.C. 4 Ralph Norman S.C. 5 Tim Burchett Tenn. 2 Scott DesJarlais Tenn. 4 John W. Rose Tenn. 6 Mark E. Green Tenn. 7 Louie Gohmert Tex. 1 Lance Gooden Tex. 5 Randy Weber Tex. 14 Chip Roy Tex. 21 Michael Cloud Tex. 27 Brian Babin Tex. 36 Ben Cline Va. 6 Bryan Steil Wis. 1 Jim Sensenbrenner Wis. 5 Glenn Grothman Wis. 6 Mike Gallagher Wis. 8 Alex X. Mooney W.Va. 2 https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/14/us/politics/coronavirus-house-vote.html
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    This legislation is at least a month late. The GOP hitched its wagon to Donald Trump thinking it will take them to the mountain top. How long will they stay hitched before they realize it's leading them off a cliff?
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    If Korea could test 10,000 a day since January, why is it that we haven’t even tested that much altogether?? Ofc w/out tests, could it be that Trumps “numbers” wouldn’t look so good if they rose?
    Like (63)
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    The focus is on health, security, and well-being of people, unlike Trump's preoccupation on banks, businesses, and the stock market.
    Like (58)
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    Yes, but the horse is already out of the barn. Free of charge testing sounds good until you realize that there are no test available. Too little too late.
    Like (49)
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    Katie Porter is the BOMB! (congress woman from CA) If you don't know about her, find the interview from Lawrence O'Donnell on 3/12. Katie held the head of the CDC to the fire today. He is legally authorized to release funds in a health emergency. OMG! she got him to say, "Yes." The release of funds do not require any legislation. I believe it's 20 billion. Covid-19 testing is going to be FREE to EVERY AMERICAN! He said YES that he would use his lawful authority! I would love to be a fly on the wall during the discussion with the orange one.
    Like (46)
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    Only way to stop this epidemic is by supporting public health, providing free testing and healthcare and paying people to stay home if exposed or ill.
    Like (44)
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    @Pedro and @Dave since you said the exact same thing bots. I’m curious. How much later on are you willing to consider this bill? The Market has tanked twice in one week making another first for the Trump Administration. With the Market at 21,580 I quit watching. We are in a Bear market after 11 years of Bull. WHO has declared a Global Pandemic and the WH is not only not prepared but deliberately concealing and floating misinformation about COVID-19 to the Public. Will you wait until everyone has been exposed? Until it has so effected the economy that we can’t recover for decades as in the Depression? Until the death toll reaches a certain point? What is your it’s not premature point?
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    A friend in NY who has insurance was exposed to the coronavirus and it was recommended that he be tested because he had mild symptoms. The test after insurance was $600. If he had no insurance it would cost $1000. This is a public health matter. If we are to flatten the curve of the spread of the virus, as Dr. Fauci is urging us to attempt to do, testing has to be widespread and be either no cost or negligible cost. No one should profit from this outbreak. Testing needs to be widespread and easily gotten. Not doing what’s necessary to float us all through this unchartered territory will cost us all even more dearly. The incompetence of this administration’s handling of this crisis and Trump’s minimizing and politicizing the crisis has delayed our response. He’s the wrong man to speak to the public. Between Fox News and Trump a sizable proportion of people still think the virus is a hoax cooked up by Democrats. This is dystopian theater. It has to stop.
    Like (34)
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    Food aid, and unemployment are Democrat wish list items. Just say "NO". Payroll tax holiday for employers, and employees will deal better with this situation. Above all: All Politicians Must warn against panic. This morning in my local supermarket I saw panic buying I have not seen since the 2K Farce. Media, and Democrats, and drive by media must denounce this. It will lead to violence, shortages, and issues not needed. If Democrats, deep state traitors, or media cared about any American Citizen they would be warning against panic, hoarding food, or money. Anything else in this situation. People working to make life harder in a crisis are not your friends. They are to be opposed. Federal Government isw not the answer to this, or any crisis. Our Free Market has helped far more people than any government, ever.
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    As I write this all major sports are shutting down. Broadway, Disney. DC. Children in this country rely on school. For food, safety AND EDUCATION. This is disgusting. A Disgrace. As I write this the tRumpublicans are still in Court fighting the ACA. Fighting against coverage of pre-existing conditions. The most vulnerable among us. The tRumplicans are fighting IN REAL TIME RIGHT NOW AGAINST FREE TESTS, FOOD AND VACCINES. AS I WRITE THIS. POTUS is lying . Over and over again. I find some of this to be very rich and interesting. Wonderful obnoxious Matt Gaetz wearing a gas mask in the Capital just to be obnoxious. Now in quarantine. Rick Scott acting like a responsible leader, standing by THE MAN. Now in question. AS I write this can’t help but to review tRump economy plan for this year. This proposal cut. $750,0000 from CDC. As I write this AMERICANS ARE DYING. You tRumpsters are pathetic and dangerous. I hope we are ALL WRONG. I WISH YOU HEALTH. I HOPE YOU DON’T HAVE SENIORS THAT YOU LOVE. AS I WRITE THIS I AM SCARED FOR OUR COUNTRY. I WANT F*#&#Ing TESTS
    Like (27)
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    This should not be a political situation like quite a few in both sides have made it. We need solutions, this is what you were elected to do, work together and lead the country. Stop the political infighting!
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    In what world shouldn’t testing be free of charge when a national emergency is in place? That just SCREAMS eliminate the lower class. Just saying.
    Like (24)
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    This plan is much more of a working plan than the “plan” Trump rolled out. A tax break isn’t going to help a lot of people especially those on SNAP who need it to feed their children, particularly since the mean, nasty Republicans are still planning on cutting SNAP EVEN AS WE ARE FACING THE LOSS OF MUCH OF THE LOWER INCOME EARNERS INCOME. HOW IS CUTTING PAYROLL TAX FOR PEOPLE GOING TO HELP ANYTHING??? What if they lose their job??? What if their hours are cut?? There is not going to be any money for the families!!!! HIW IS THE GOVERNMENT GOING TO PAY FOR TRUMP’S GOLFING TRIPS IF OUR PAYROLL TAXES ARE CUT. WE ARE THE ONLY ONES PAYING INTO THE GOVERNMENT BECAUSE OF THE REPUBLICANS CUTTING ALL TAXES PAID BY THOSE WITH THE MONEY TO PAY —-THE RICH!!!!
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    We are so far behind. Pence is NOT a leader and not right for this job. Get real scientists NOW.
    Like (22)
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    We need everyone who may think he has Covid-19 to feel able to go to their doctor and get tested. This bill removes barriers that might stop people doing that and you MUST VOTE YES!!
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