We are all in this together

Published 10:14 am Saturday, April 11, 2020

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This is a time of great concern for so many of us. As we monitor the COVID-19 pandemic in Virginia and across the nation, we worry about the health of our loved ones and the financial security of millions of American families who are losing income during this crisis.

Congress has passed three important bipartisan laws to address this pandemic. We first passed an $8 billion emergency funding bill to combat the coronavirus that included investments in diagnostic testing, vaccine development and additional resources for state and local responders who are on the front lines.

Virginia received more than $13 million of this federal funding to help cover the costs of preparations for this public health emergency.

We then passed a second piece of legislation to provide emergency relief to workers and families, including paid sick leave and extended unemployment insurance.

Last week, we passed a third bill that makes a historic, unprecedented investment of $2 trillion in the U.S. economy to meet the needs of our health sector to contain coronavirus and address the nationwide economic fallout the virus has caused. This package includes my priorities to provide direct cash payments to Americans, expand unemployment assistance for those who are losing earnings, support small businesses, assist state and local governments, strengthen our health care system, increase access to child care for our frontline workers, provide resources to schools and colleges and ensure that funding for larger businesses is used to protect their employees.

However, we have much more to do. We now have to make sure the three bills we have passed in recent weeks are implemented promptly and fairly. And we need to keep our eye on our number one priority – getting through this health crisis by following science-based guidance. We cannot waste any more time denying the scope of the problem.

Sacrifice is hard, but a modest sacrifice in the near term can help save the lives of people we love. So I implore every American to follow the recommendations we get from our public health officials and find ways to safely reach out to friends and family during this challenging time. I have confidence that Virginians and all Americans will meet this challenge.

We’re all in this together.

Tim Kaine is a U.S. Senator from Virginia. He can be reached by visiting https://www.kaine.senate.gov/contact.