Senator Tom Cotton Statement on Phase II Coronavirus Response Bill

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after the vote on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act:

“The China virus is a great national challenge that threatens every American. But I have every confidence in our fellow citizens to rise to this challenge, as we have time and again across the ages.

Today, I voted for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act because it includes urgently needed measures such as free testing for the virus, so we can track outbreaks more quickly and ensure that no American is turned away because they’re unable to afford a test. This bill also enhances unemployment-insurance funding for Americans who have already lost and, sadly, who will soon lose their jobs during this crisis, as well as legal protections for the manufacturers of respirator masks, so they can surge desperately needed supplies to our brave doctors and nurses.

Unfortunately, this bill also imposes burdensome new paid-leave mandates on small and medium-sized business owners who are already struggling to meet payroll and avoid layoffs. I offered an amendment to eliminate these mandates while giving even more temporary relief to workers, but it regrettably failed.

As Abraham Lincoln said as a young congressman, ‘the true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject anything, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more of evil, than of good.’ While this bill doesn’t go far enough or fast enough to protect workers and employers who are already struggling to pay the bills, on the whole it still helps our nation respond to this grave emergency.

I urge small and medium-sized businessowners who may be affected by this legislation to contact my office so we can work with the Treasury Department to expedite tax credits and other funds to your business to quickly cover the costs of this bill’s mandates. Meanwhile, I’m actively working on bigger, bolder legislation that will protect every American from the threat that the China virus poses to our nation.”