Coronavirus Update from Rep. Posey
March 16, 2020 -
As our nation rallies to battle the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) I wanted to take a moment to update you on our efforts in Congress to help our families, businesses and communities combat this disease.
Last week, with my support, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act which provided $7.8 billion in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus. This is new, additional funding that supplements the funding already available to the CDC and other response agencies.
Specifically, the legislation includes:
- Funding for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics & diagnostics to support treatment of those affected with the virus.
- Resources for the CDC’s response, including funding for state and local health agency responses.
- Funding for the procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.
- Funding to administer disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by the virus.
- Funding for foreign aid assistance to help protect Americans abroad, evacuate Americans from consular operations, and preventing future occurrences of the virus to reach the U.S.
I have also joined with my Florida colleagues in writing to the President requesting that states like Florida, which have a substantial senior citizen and tourist population, be prioritized for coronavirus response funding.
Furthermore, I supported passage of bipartisan legislation in the House which includes:
Earlier this year I introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 5982) to break our dependence on pharmaceuticals produced overseas. Eighty percent of the drugs that Americans depend upon come from overseas countries, and China, whose pharmaceuticals have been subject to numerous recalls, is the largest manufacturer. Our bill requires the federal government to examine where we are most vulnerable and make recommendations so we are not dependent on foreign suppliers for essential medications.
- More resources to help diagnose COVID-19 cases through testing.
- Funding to ensure that essential support services continue to operate.
- The creation of a temporary national paid sick leave program to provide relief to those out of work due to sickness, family need or temporary job loss due to COVID-19.
- A refundable payroll tax credit to enable employers to pay for employee sick leave.
- Funding for nutrition and food programs for senior citizens and low income families.
This is all in addition to actions taken by the Trump Administration and Governor DeSantis. In declaring a state of emergency, President Trump released billions of dollars to assist businesses adversely impacted by COVID-19 with very low interest on small business loans. The Administration has directed financial regulators to ensure that financial institutions are able to work with borrowers who are having difficulty making payments.
The Governor’s actions enable the state to take additional steps to prioritize funding and take further actions to curb the spread of the disease and prepare state resources to meet the needs of the people of Florida.
Finally, as we move forward, it's important to remember not to panic. Like other emergencies, we'll work together and get through this. If you feel that you should be tested you should call your doctor or dial 211 for guidance. Those who meet the criteria to be tested may be guided to the County Epidemiology Department. Some helpful contact information:
Our office has posted some other important resources about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on our webpage and if we can be of service to you, please do not hesitate to reach out – We’re here to serve you!
- The statewide 24/7 hotline number: 1-866-779-6121
- Epidemiology Department of the Florida Department of Health in Brevard County at 321-454-7101
- Epidemiology Department of the Florida Department of Health in Indian River County at 772-794-7472
- Epidemiology Department of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County at 407-858-1420 (afterhours, call 407-858-1400)
- More local contact information attached HERE.