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Texas Democrat proposes COVID-19 victims' compensation fund

Texas Democrat proposes COVID-19 victims' compensation fund
© Greg Nash

Rep. Filemon VelaFilemon Bartolome VelaDemocrats try to draft Cardenas to run campaign arm after disappointing night Hispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden builds big lead in battleground Florida MORE (D-Texas) on Monday proposed a bill that would create a compensation fund for people who've become ill or died of COVID-19.

The bill, modeled after the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, would create a website and an office to manage funds appropriated by Congress to cover claims for at least five years.

“The novel coronavirus has drastically altered the lives of millions of Americans,” Vela said in a statement.

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"While other nations have swiftly enacted policies and procedures to flatten the curve and protect their nations’ citizens, America’s response, under the failed leadership of the Trump Administration, has been marred by a lack of a unified, coordinated and effective response. The consequences of these failures have now resulted in the loss of over 130,000 American lives, and millions of Americans infected by the virus," added Vela.

The bill would set up a "special master" to manage the compensation payments. This person would determine the amount of each victims' loss and order the fund to pay within 20 days.

The bill would allow the ill or the relatives of the deceased to request compensation from the government through a request to the special master.

Under the bill, Congress would allocate funds for five years, and stop funding the program a year after the special master dictates there are no additional claims to be filed.

The proposal is a direct criticism of the Trump administration's management of COVID-19. Vela has likened the effects of the pandemic on his South Texas district to a war zone.

"This administration failed to protect American lives and we will be living with the consequences of these failures for years to come. The Coronavirus Victims Compensation Fund of 2020 will help bring much needed relief to those who have been personally impacted by COVID-19,” said Vela.