WASHINGTON — A federal financial aid package to fight the coronavirus and offer free tests, sick pay for workers and other measures has been agreed upon.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the aid deal Friday afternoon. The agreement with the Trump administration for an aid package from Congress would provide free testing, sick pay and also bolster food programs.
A statement from Pelosi's office says the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will be passed soon following the agreement. It says that while the Senate works to pass the bill, the House will start working on a third emergency response package to combat the COVID-19 crisis.
An $8.3 billion emergency funding package was passed last week.
The paid emergency leave includes two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave. Enhanced unemployment insurance protections for furloughed workers are also part of the deal.
Federal funds for Medicaid will be increased to support local governments and health systems. Nutrition security initiatives will also be strengthened for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, student meals, seniors and food banks.
The coronavirus testing will be free for everyone who needs a test, including those without health insurance.
"We cannot fight coronavirus effectively unless everyone in our country who needs to be tested can get their test free of charge," the statement says.
The Associated Press contributed.