Sen. Johnson one of a handful of senators to vote against coronavirus relief bill

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Posted at 3:51 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 18:11:34-04

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was one of eight senators that voted against the coronavirus relief bill.

The bill, called The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, includes free coronavirus testing, expanded family and medical leave for some, paid emergency sick leave for some, unemployment benefits, food assistance, and protections for health care workers. It passed the Senate in a 90-8 vote.

In a statement, Sen. Johnson explained the reason behind his "no" vote.

"Although I want to provide immediate financial support to Americans and American businesses affected by the coronavirus, I voted no on HR 6201 because the Senate failed to address the major problem with the bill that was eminently fixable.

My amendment, which received bipartisan support but not enough to be adopted, would have removed mandatory burdens on employers, temporarily expanded eligibility, and waived the waiting period for state unemployment benefits and increased state benefits to provide two-thirds of actual wages up to $1,000 per week. It also would have reimbursed employers with fewer than 500 employees who voluntarily provide paid sick and family leave to employees affected by the coronavirus.

Now that the House bill passed unamended, laid-off workers will get far less from state benefits, and many employers will be forced to shoulder a financial burden they cannot afford."

The bill now goes to President Trump's desk for his signature. He is expected to sign it.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there are 108 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee County has the most cases, with 47 confirmed.

Wisconsin CountyTotal Cases as of 3/18/2020
La Crosse1
Fond du Lac12

* An asterisk indicates community spread has been identified.

There have been over 1,500 negative cases throughout the state.

Earlier Wednesday, Governor Tony Evers ordered a scaling down of all child care settings in the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Centers now may not operate with more than 10 staff members present at one time and more than 50 children present at one time.

The restriction goes into effect at 8 a.m. on March 19.

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“Child care is an essential service for many of the folks working on the front lines to provide healthcare and vital services to our communities during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Gov. Evers. “This is another step forward to ensure that service continues, while protecting our child care providers who are going above and beyond their regular duties to support our families, communities, and state.”

Evers said those using child care who can keep their kids at home should do so.

Health officials reiterated for residents to take simple steps to help prevent the spread of coronavirus:Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water.Covering coughs and sneezes.Avoiding touching your face.Staying home when sick.

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Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

Check out county-by-county coronavirus case numbers here.

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

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