The following was shared with What’s Up Newp by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s office.

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse this afternoon voted to approve a deal negotiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that will put supports immediately in place for Rhode Island workers affected by the economic fallout from COVID-19.  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act will also make coronavirus testing free.  The legislation passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and awaits the President’s signature.

“I know Rhode Islanders are hurting right now.  Small businesses and their employees are making enormous sacrifices to keep the community healthy,” said Whitehouse.  “Congress is working in bipartisan fashion to quickly get resources to everyone affected by those difficult decisions.  And Rhode Island’s health care system will get a big lift from this Medicaid funding as it ramps up preparations to fight the virus.  Further steps will be needed to strengthen the safety net and our health care system in the days ahead.” 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act mandates paid medical and family leave, expands food security programs, and injects an enormous boost into state Medicaid programs.  By one estimate, the legislation will direct about $150 million to Rhode Island’s Medicaid program.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to