House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during her weekly press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on February 13, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Pelosi says deal reached on US coronavirus response bill
02:34 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday a third legislative package is in the works in response to the spread of coronavirus and urged lawmakers to promote social distancing in their Washington, DC, offices out of an abundance of caution.

“We have already begun work to develop a third emergency response package that will continue to put Families First,” Pelosi said in a statement to lawmakers. “In bipartisan consultation with the Attending Physician and the Sergeant at Arms, and out of an abundance of caution, I am writing to encourage you to take steps to promote social distancing within your Washington, D.C. office as we engage in the District Work Period. This may entail more than half of your Washington staff teleworking from home.”

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Health officials continue to urge “social distancing” as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Dozens of national and local events have been canceled or postponed in recent days as companies, organizations and governments try to reduce the number of people congregated in a single area.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines “social distancing” as “remaining out of places where people meet or gather,” and “avoiding local public transportation.”

Pelosi’s guidance comes a day after the House reached a deal with the Trump administration and passed a bipartisan legislative package, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, that contains a number of provisions.

In a letter announcing the deal late Friday night, Pelosi said the package includes “free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured.” It also includes “paid emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave” and will expand funding for Medicaid “to support our local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems, so that they have the resources necessary to combat this crisis.”

Late in the day on Friday, President Trump Donald tweeted his support for that measure – a move that cleared the way for a broad, bipartisan vote in the House with the Senate expected to take up the measure when it returns to session.

Earlier this month, Trump signed an $8.3 billion bipartisan spending package that designates funding to the federal government for response to the virus, but there is a strong sense among lawmakers that more is needed to be done to respond to the economic fallout from the spread of the virus.

As of Sunday afternoon, there were at least 3,155 cases of coronavirus in the US and the disease had resulted in at least 62 deaths, according to figures from state and local health agencies, governments and the CDC.