Read a PDF of our statement here.

On Saturday morning, the U.S. of House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), an important piece of legislation that provides federal funding and guarantees to begin to address Americans’ increasingly urgent health, social, and economic needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) calls upon the United States Senate to immediately take up and pass this bill as a first step to helping Americans obtain much-needed support.

Crucially, the bill ensures that all Americans receive free coronavirus testing, improved unemployment insurance, and paid emergency leave from work if they or a family member become ill. The bill also increases funding for Medicaid and strengthens food security, among several other important initiatives.

Black Americans are particularly vulnerable to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, 40 percent of Black workers do not have paid sick days, and Black Americans are also more likely to lack health insurance coverage than white Americans. H.R. 2601 is an important initial step in diminishing pandemic-induced hardship in the African American community.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic expands, a comprehensive solution is urgently needed to address the significant and mounting public health and economic challenges. The Families First Coronavirus Act is a strong step in the right direction,” said Lisa Cylar Barrett, LDF’s Director of Policy. “The bill focuses on supporting those who stand to be harmed the most by this crisis – the poor, the underinsured, and low-income workers and individuals, including many people of color. Senators must act right now to thwart the potential socioeconomic catastrophes that could quickly result from this pandemic by passing H.R. 6201. Though, they should also simultaneously recognize that this legislation must only represent the beginning of multiple relief measures that will undoubtedly be needed to fully address the complex issues stemming from COVID-19.”

LDF calls upon the United States Senate to immediately pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to stem the rapidly increasing threats to health and financial security in this country that will most significantly affect Americans who are already disenfranchised. This bill should serve as the foundation for a series of coronavirus relief legislation, such as future bills that guarantee coronavirus treatment for the uninsured, protections for frontline health care workers, and rental and mortgage payment relief, among other crucial initiatives.

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Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.

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