As you may have seen, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is redirecting or seizing personal protective equipment (PPE), tests, and other essential medical supplies ordered by states, hospitals, and other health care providers as they respond
to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Reports in the New York Times
and the Los Angeles Times have highlighted how Colorado had secured a shipment of 500 ventilators and Massachusetts had placed a large order of PPE, both of which were ultimately “swept up by FEMA.” Health care providers in California, Florida,
Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Texas have described similar experiences.
Help States Avoid Operating Cost Gaps Cosponsor The State Operation Operations Stabilization (SOS) Act
As states and localities continue to grapple with the novel coronavirus, many have already begun to calculate the years’ worth of problems ahead due to their estimated lost tax revenue. Already they are estimating gaping holes in their budgets and facing
incredibly difficult decisions of what services to cut in their already hurting communities. Therefore, I will be introducing the
State Operations Stabilization (SOS) Act to help make states and localities whole during and after this crisis. The bill expands the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which was recently enacted as part of the
CARES Act, to allow states and localities to utilize these funds to make up a deficit resulting from lost tax revenue due to disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. This would prevent state and local governments from being forced to cut critical social,
community, and educational services to make up shortfalls due to lost income during these difficult times.
Reports from the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak describe overflowing ICUs, severe shortages of equipment, and thousands of deaths, including of some healthcare workers. Healthcare workers are making enormous sacrifices every day to defeat this virus
and we must never forget their efforts. The horrific realities on the front lines also mean that we must ensure they have access to the mental health resources they need to endure the taxing months ahead and to recover in the outbreak’s aftermath.
I invite you to join Senator Coons and me in asking the Treasury Department to issue clear guidance to foreign banks regarding the legality of certain humanitarian transactions with Iran, such as trade in medical devices and personal protective equipment. We
also urge the State Department to pursue public diplomacy efforts to support and encourage non-governmental organizations who are working to combat COVID-19 in Iran.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases have exceeded 1.5 million around the world and 430,000 in the United States. Unfortunately, the virus is continuing to spread rapidly through
our communities and is projected to soon overwhelm our health care system. Health care providers are being forced to reuse the personal protective equipment (PPE) intended to prevent the spread of disease, ventilator supplies are a fraction of what experts
are pleading for, and testing components are in such short supply that only critically ill individuals can receive the COVID-19 test. The American people and our heroic frontline health care providers are desperate for the resources they need to prevent, identify,
and treat COVID-19 cases in order to minimize loss of life.
Sign-on: Letter to Leadership – Ensure COVID-4 Package Protects Healthcare Workers and Other Frontline Workers (Deadline COB 4/09/20)
We invite you to join us in urging House and Senate leadership to ensure that the next COVID-19 bill include health and safety protections for frontline workers who are likely to be exposed to COVID-19 on the job. These workers are essential to the health,
safety and continued functioning of the United States, and must be better protected with uniform standards to flatten the curve and to honor those workers’ dedication and dignity.
Please join me in ensuring that the uniformed servicemembers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic are eligible for Hazard Duty Incentive Pay, and cosponsor H.R.
6439, the Pandemic Hazard Pay Expansion Act.
Under current law, additional pay of up to $250 ($450 for combat duty) per month is authorized for servicemembers whose duties involve inherent danger, including service in designated combat zones; flight duty; diving duty; and work with hazardous pesticides,
viruses, or bacteria. Yet the uniformed medical professionals on the front lines of state and federal COVID-19 response efforts, including those in the Public Health Service, are not eligible. H.R. 6439 would change this by amending 37
USC 351 to expand hazard pay to servicemembers whose duties involve frequent exposure to a cause of a declared public health emergency.
As this global health crisis continues to escalate, it is important that we fully appreciate the unique threat it poses to medical professionals fighting to end it, including our men and women in uniform. In fact, as of April 6th, nearly 1,500 servicemembers
were confirmed to be infected—a number that is certain grow as the military expands its involvement in response efforts.
So far over 17,000 veterans have responded to the Army’s call for medical volunteers to return to active duty. Governors in all
50 states, in addition to Puerto Rico, Guam, and the District of Columbia have mobilized over 10,000 members of the National Guard to aid response efforts in their states. Last week, field hospitals in New York and Los Angeles announced that they will now care
for COVID-19 patients. And on military installations across the country, military medical professionals are providing care to the infected within their own ranks.
These brave men and women who have answered the call of duty in our time of need deserve to be recognized for their heroism. Granting them hazard pay would be an important step in the right direction.
If you have any questions or would like to cosponsor this bill, please reach out to David Ogle (email@example.com) on my staff. Thank you for your consideration.
Member of Congress
I invite you to cosponsor the Mobilizing America to Help Act, which would direct President Trump to invoke his existing authority to detail Peace Corps volunteers, who have all returned to the US from their posts overseas, to the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) to support emergency relief in the wake of COVID-19.
Please join me in sending a letter to Congressional leadership on the importance of adequately adapting and funding our election infrastructure during the COVID-19 crisis.
CLOSING SOON: Urging U.S. Leadership Promoting International Cooperation on COVID-19 Pandemic Response
I invite you to join me in sending a letter to Vice President Pence requesting information on the Administration’s efforts to prioritize sharing information and best practices with other countries that have also been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.