Burchett: Technical changes to H.R. 6201 slow relief, show need for open process
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (March 17, 2020) -- Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives, with few members of Congress present, passed a corrected version of H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The original bill passed last week contained dozens of pages that required corrections before the Senate would take it up for consideration, further delaying our nation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rep. Tim Burchett (R, TN-02) voted against H.R. 6201 when it came to the House floor last week because the text of the bill was only made public just minutes prior to the floor vote, giving members of the House little time to review the text to identify mistakes, like those corrected last night, or to ensure the effectiveness of the measure.
On March 4, Rep. Burchett supported the $8.3 billion supplemental Coronavirus response bill. The funds from this package are currently being used to develop vaccines, contain the disease at home and aboard, and assist state and local health authorities response to any Coronavirus cases.
Today, Rep. Burchett released the following statement:
“The original bill was rushed through with virtually no input or oversight from Congress, and as a result, any positive impact of this relief package is even further delayed. By some counts, there were errors on 45 of the bill’s 110 pages, and major holes in the legislation are now clear and, hopefully, fixed. The way to help in this situation is not to bankrupt the very small business owners our economy depends on to employ workers, and that is exactly what I heard will happen when I talked to local employers in our community. Workers need help, companies need help, and Congress needs to do its job and do it right.”
Important technical corrections to H.R. 6201 include additional tax credits for businesses to offset the costs of paid leave requirements, clarification on eligibility for sick or paid leave, and caps on how much time off is allowed and the amount of paid leave that can be collected. The language added to the legislation will soften the economic damage done to small businesses resulting form the Coronavirus pandemic. These changes will help assistance flow to American workers and small businesses, and prevent abuse of the federal benefits offered in H.R. 6201.