Lawmakers, President Quickly Approve Coronavirus Emergency Spending Bill

March 3, 2020
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[Updated: 3/6/20]

A bipartisan emergency spending package to fight coronavirus rapidly worked its way through Congress, with funds to develop a vaccine, provide protective and laboratory equipment to workers who need it, and aid locations hit with the virus. President Donald Trump signed it into law March 6.

The new strain of coronavirus—known as COVID-19—has made its way to the U.S. and has claimed at least 14 deaths, mostly in Washington state. As the government prepares for a possible pandemic, lawmakers are looking for money to combat the disease's spread.

"There is still a lot we are learning about the novel coronavirus, but one thing is certain: it's going to take dollars to tackle," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the role of Congress is clear. "We need to support the federal, state and local public health officials and health care professionals who are working overtime to blunt, delay and mitigate the spread of the virus."

McConnell noted he was grateful to Congress members who worked through the weekend on a bipartisan agreement to provide supplemental appropriations.

We've rounded up articles and resources from SHRM Online and other trusted media outlets on the news.

$8.3 Billion Spending Bill Enacted

The legislation supplies an estimated $8.3 billion in emergency spending to combat the coronavirus. The law will provide more than $3 billion in the development of vaccines and treatment; $2.2 billion to help public health agencies respond; and approximately $1 billion for medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.

(The Washington Post)

What Is Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus that originated in Wuhan, China. The virus is contagious and potentially fatal. It is suspected that it is transmitted through coughing and sneezing by infected individuals. At the present time, there is no vaccine, cure or specific treatment. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the virus.

(SHRM Online)

Keeping Your Workplace Clean

Employers and employees alike are concerned about how the coronavirus may spread through the workplace. Keeping the workplace clean can inhibit the spread of communicable diseases, and in addition to limiting exposure to COVID-19, taking the following steps can help prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses.

(SHRM Online)

Quiz: Are You Prepared for the Coronavirus?

There are more than 100 cases of coronavirus in the U.S. Patients have been diagnosed in a growing number of states. Test your knowledge of the virus and an employer's responsibility to protect the workforce here.

(SHRM Online)

Health Care Staff Working Overtime? Make Sure They Are Properly Paid

Many employers misunderstand overtime requirements, which can be costly as the price of noncompliance is high. It's important that HR takes the lead in training line managers, particularly those overseeing workers newly reclassified as nonexempt, not to repeat the overtime errors other companies have made.

(SHRM Online)

 

Visit SHRM's resource page on coronavirus and managing communicable diseases.

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