Since the arrival of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States on January 20, 2020, I have been proud to witness Americans everywhere adhering to the practice of social distancing, washing hands and surfaces and self-quarantining when necessary. It is imperative that we all continue these practices along with following directives issued by the CDC and North Carolina state and local government officials.
In order to ensure the safety of staff and the community, my Washington and North Carolina office staff have instituted telework to maintain constituent and legislative services on behalf of all North Carolinians while observing social distancing directions from public health officials. Should you require assistance with a federal agency, I recommend contacting me through the following link and following the directions for submitting a casework request at https://www.burr.senate.gov/services/help .
The Coronavirus outbreak has placed considerable hardship on individuals, businesses, and communities throughout North Carolina. I hear daily from small businesses about the unprecedented strain being placed on them and their employees, as well as from individuals who depend on their jobs being there throughout the current downturn. I am focused on addressing ways to end the spread of this virus, while seeking ways to ensure our economy gets back on the strong footing it enjoyed for the past few years.
Congress has responded to this crisis in an unprecedented manner by passing two large pieces of legislation, both of which I supported. First, on March 18, 2020, I supported passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which sets forth paid family leave options for individuals caring for themselves and loved ones at home, and provides funding to businesses to pay their employees while they are on leave. Additionally, this legislation ensures no-cost diagnostic Coronavirus testing for all Americans.
Additionally, on March 25, 2020, the United States Senate passed the CARES Act by a vote of 96-0. In addition to providing immediate cash relief of $3,400 to a typical middle class family of four, the legislation provides $117 billion to hospitals on the front line of this crisis, and $350 billion to small businesses to maintain payrolls during closure. Importantly, this legislation also increases unemployment insurance for individuals who are furloughed or lose their jobs, providing an additional $600 per week above the current state unemployment insurance benefit. Know that I consider this just the beginning of what needs to be done for our fellow North Carolinians. I’m pleased President Trump signed this bill into law without delay so North Carolinians could begin seeking relief.
As we look to the next steps to combat this virus and its effects on our health care system, I am focused on the policies that we can put in place to improve our preparation, detection, and treatment of the coronavirus to fortify our public health infrastructure against this disease, and slow further damage to our economy.
For specific questions on how to keep your family safe, or to pursue the many relief programs available to you, I encourage you to visit www.Coronavirus.gov .
Again, thank you for contacting me. Please continue to observe the recommendations of CDC and North Carolina public officials to ensure the safety of you and your family during this time.