Senate Passes Coronavirus Bill, Bipartisan Response Package Heads to President’s Desk

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced the U.S. Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will help Michigan families during the national coronavirus crisis. 


The bipartisan bill will give eligible individuals paid leave and food assistance. As Congress takes additional action, Senator Stabenow strongly believes all workers should be covered with paid leave. In addition, unemployment insurance will be expanded, and Medicaid funding to states will be increased.


“Our nation is experiencing an unprecedented moment that demands strong bipartisan leadership from Congress. This bill will give many employees that are experiencing symptoms or taking care of a child paid sick leave, paid family and medical leave, and enhanced unemployment insurance. I worked to ensure that this bill increased access to food for expecting mothers, seniors, and children. The bill also ensures that people tested for coronavirus will not have to pay for the test. The President should sign it immediately,” said Senator Stabenow.


The Families First Coronavirus Response Act:


Implements Free Testing for Coronavirus

The bill ensures that all individuals, including those with private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, VA, FEHBP, and TRICARE, as well as the uninsured, will not be charged out of pocket for coronavirus testing. 


If you are experiencing symptoms, visit the CDC website for more information and call your local health care provider or the Michigan coronavirus hotline at 888-535-6136 about testing.



Strengthens Food Assistance

The bill includes more than $1 billion to provide nutritious food to pregnant women and mothers with young children, help food banks, and provide meals to families and seniors. Senator Stabenow also worked directly with the Michigan State Superintendent and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure Michigan would be able to distribute healthy meals while schools in the state are closed. 


If your child’s school has closed, you can find student meal locations at:


Safeguards Medicaid Benefits

The bill increases the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) that the federal government provides to states. Depending on the length of the pandemic, this will provide Michigan approximately $850 million to improve health care services through Medicaid.


For more information on Medicaid coverage, visit:


Enhances Unemployment Aid

The bill gives states the resources and flexibility to provide unemployment benefits to laid off workers and other workers who may need income assistance during the coronavirus crisis.


Eligible employees should apply for unemployment benefits online at or 1-866-500-0017. A factsheet on how to apply for benefits can be found here.


Establishes Paid Leave

The bill establishes emergency paid leave programs for some employees should they have to stay home to care for a child or if they are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus. Employers and self-employed workers will be reimbursed for wages paid under these programs through refundable tax credits. Senator Stabenow is continuing her fight to expand paid leave to every worker affected by this crisis. As Congress takes additional actions, this is a priority.


For more information on paid leave, visit