Washington – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) released the following statement in response to the President’s announcement that he will invoke the Defense Production Act of 1950 in the wake of the Coronavirus:
“Earlier this week, I signed on to a letter urging President Trump to utilize the Defense Production Act (DPA) to help our country better respond to the growing Coronavirus pandemic. Today, I am glad to see the Administration take that action,” said Congresswoman Bustos.
“One consistent concern expressed by local and state public health officials in my many conversations this week has been the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis. By invoking the DPA, our country can begin the mass production of supplies needed to address the ongoing threat and help our hospitals and health care providers access necessary resources.”
A copy of the letter can be found here.
In response to the Coronavirus, Congresswoman Bustos’ office has conducted outreach to every hospital in the district, the Illinois Hospital Association, the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network, every County Health Department in the district and several Community Health Clinics. The Congresswoman has also been closely engaged with Governor Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, in order to better help her advocate for the district at the federal level. From her outreach to medical leaders throughout the district and state, Congresswoman Bustos has learned that dwindling supplies is a main concern among health care providers.
Early Saturday morning, Congresswoman Bustos helped passed a bipartisan legislative package addressing the outbreak of coronavirus, the Families First bill prioritizes the needs of hardworking Americans, in order to help them navigate challenging financial times. The bill also helps families make good public health decisions by removing barriers and empowering people to follow medical advice.
The package includes:
- Free Coronavirus Testing: No one will be denied a test due to cost.
- An Emergency Paid Leave Program: Up to two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave for employers with fewer than 500 employees.
- Food assistance: Support for nutrition security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, meals for seniors and food banks. In the 14 counties that Illinois’ 17th Congressional District covers, 55.2 percent of school-age kids are eligible for free/reduced lunch.
- Enhanced Unemployment Benefits: States must have the resources and flexibility to provide unemployment benefits to laid off and furloughed workers.
- Safeguards for Medicaid Benefits: Increased federal funding for Medicaid.
An $8.3 billion Coronavirus emergency funding package was passed by Congress and signed into law in early March. The bill includes funding for vaccine development, support for state and local governments and assistance for businesses effected by the coronavirus, as well as “fair and reasonable” price protections for vaccines and diagnostics. In order to allow Medicaid providers to deliver telehealth services to patients around the country, it also includes a waiver on certain Medicare telehealth restrictions.
The funding package includes:
- Small Business Disaster Loans –$1 billion in loan subsidies to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture producers, and nonprofit organizations impacted by coronavirus.
- Support for State and Local Health Department – $2.2 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.
- Support for Vaccine and Diagnostic Development – More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of coronavirus.
- Funding for Medical Supplies – $500 million for the procurement of pharmaceuticals, masks, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies, which can be distributed to state and local health agencies.
- Support for Rural Health Clinics – $100 million for health services through Community Health Centers, which will support smaller health clinics across the country in under-served urban and rural areas.