Rep. Payne, Jr. Demands More Federal Action During Coronavirus Crisis

March 29, 2020
Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --  Patrick.Wright@mail.house.gov

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. is extremely angry with the lack of urgency in the Trump administration’s efforts to deal with the nation’s coronavirus crisis.  The Congressman said the President failed to deliver crucial supplies to hospitals and health care centers quickly, showed personal bias in how he appropriates those supplies to states, and refused to use all the powers at his disposal to prevent and treat American victims of this disease.        

Rep. Payne, Jr. was particularly upset with the President’s decision to withhold his use of the Defense Production Act to get companies to manufacture critical ventilators.     

“Americans are dying of this disease every day and the President waits two weeks to order companies to make ventilators,” said Congressman Payne, Jr.  “Instead of showing true leadership, he prefers to pick fights with state governors and wait for companies to volunteer to make medical supplies without any direction on how many they should make.  He has failed to take this public health and economic crisis seriously since day one.  We have more coronavirus cases than any other country, yet he seems far more concerned with reopening Mar-a-Lago and his other resorts than saving American lives.”       

Rep. Payne, Jr. has been working diligently to help get life-saving aid to his constituents and all Americans during this difficult time.  As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response & Recovery of the House Committee on Homeland Security, he has been in constant contact with FEMA officials to press them on when supplies will be available nationwide.  Recently, he asked FEMA to establish a third federally-funded coronavirus testing facility in New Jersey in a letter signed by the entire New Jersey Congressional Delegation.  The Congressman would like to locate it in Essex County, part of his district, because it is second in state coronavirus cases behind Bergen County.  Essex County does have a local testing facility, but it is for residents only. 

In addition, he has supported three coronavirus-related aid bills in the House.  The first one, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074), provided $8.3 billion to fund medical efforts and became law on March 6, 2020.  The second one, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), provided free coronavirus testing for all Americans and mandatory paid sick leave for all workers.  The House passed it on March 14, 2020.  The third one, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748) provided $2 trillion in emergency financial aid to Americans through direct payments, unemployment benefit increases and funds to state and local governments to combat this global public health threat.  The bill would give direct payments of $1,200 to Americans who earn less than $75,000 and $2,400 to families who earn less than $150,000 as well as $500 for each child.  Also, it would provide $375 billion to small businesses through grants and interest-free loans, $150 billion to state and local governments to help them handle coronavirus-related expenses, and $200 billion to support America’s hospitals and health care workers.    

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