Skip to main content

Issue in Focus

COVID-19


COVID-19 is changing how Americans go about their lives and the federal government is moving quickly and decisively to respond to this outbreak.

For the latest COVID-19 updates from E&C click here.

Resources

Second Wave Project

E&C Republicans, led by full committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Republican Leader Brett Guthrie (R-KY), have been working over the last several months to develop recommendations to address a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections in the United States.  The results of this effort will be released in a series of working documents over the coming months.

In The News

Fox Business – Varney & Co.

E&C Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR),  joined “Varney & Co.” on Fox Business to further discuss the response to COVID-19 and efforts to reopen the U.S. economy.

The Hugh Hewitt Show

Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) joined the Hugh Hewitt Show to discuss Congress’ efforts to respond to the COVID-10 pandemic.

POLITICO – Huddle Virtual Briefing

Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) joined POLITICO Huddle’s Melanie Zanona for a Virtual Briefing to discuss COVID-19 response efforts.

MSNBC – Katy Tur

Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) went on MSNBC to answer questions from Katy Tur on ending surprise medical billing, a practice Walden calls a “rip-off” that “needs to end.”

CBS News – The Takeout Podcast with Major Garrett

Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) recently spoke about COVID-19 with CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent, Major Garrett. CBS News wrote about their conversation here, you can also listen to the whole interview with Major here.

“Pandemics shouldn’t be partisan. Fixing the problem shouldn’t be partisan. We just need to get it right for the American people.”

Fox Business – Varney & Co.

Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) joined Stuart Varney on Varney & Co. to discuss Congressional efforts to support American workers, small businesses, and oil producers during COVID-19.

The Erick Erickson Show

Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) joined The Erick Erickson Show to discuss government’s response to COVID-19 with host Erick Erickson.

“For our health care workers, not only do we invest in more protective equipment and the medicines that they will need, but we are making a huge investment to try and find a vaccine and a cure; including allowing medical innovators to access America’s – the world’s – fastest computers through our National Labs. They’re already pushing this virus strain against known medicines to see if maybe there’s something on the shelf that would work.”

CSPAN – Newsmakers

Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) joined C-SPAN’s Steve Scully and The Hill’s Bob Cusack on Newsmakers to talk about Congress’ efforts to combat COVID-19. 

Bloomberg TV

Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR)  joined Kevin Cirilli on Bloomberg TV to talk about how Congress is responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

FOX Business – Mornings with Maria

Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) joined Mornings with Maria with Maria Bartiromo along with Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) to discuss the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Congress’ efforts to provide relief during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Hugh Hewitt Show

Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) joined the Hugh Hewitt Show to discuss the CARES Act. You can listen to the full interview here.

“Americans are coming together – from sewing circles in my community making masks because we didn’t have enough. I talked to one of my county commissioners using the juvenile department to make the face masks for a hospital, plastic ones. I mean people are coming together. President Trump and his team have done an amazing job freeing up long overdue regulations that needed to be loosened, protecting public safety along the way but expediting the ability for ingenuity and innovation in America to do what we do best. That’s address a crisis, find a solution, and get to the other side.”

CNN – New Day

Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) joined New Day on CNN to discuss the latest developments with coronavirus.

Fox News – Bill Hemmer Reports

Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) joined “Bill Hemmer Reports” to share updates on the coronavirus and recommendations to mitigate the spread of the virus.

In the District

From designing surgical masks to making hand sanitizer, Americans are lending helping hands during the coronavirus outbreak to support heath care workers on the front lines and families protecting themselves and their loved ones. Energy and Commerce Republicans have amazing stories of people in their districts and states that exemplify what it means to step up during COVID-19.

 

Member Video Series

E&C Republican Leaders highlight how the committee and the federal government are responding to COVID-19

E&C GOP Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) highlights how #AmericaWorksTogether and how you can learn more by visiting gop.gov/america-works-together

Consumer Protection & Commerce Subcommittee GOP Leader Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) shares how E&C and the Federal Trade Commission are working to protect consumers from scammers during COVID-19

With illegal robocallers back at it again during COVID-19, Communications & Technology Subcommittee GOP Leader Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) shares how E&C and the Federal Communications Commission are working to put an end to illegal robocalls

Our nation’s public health professionals need all the support they can get during COVID-19, Health Subcommittee GOP Leader Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) explains how the CARES Act included an important provision to help stand up the Ready Reserve of the United States Public Health Service 

Bad actors have attempted to send fake COVID-19 testing kits into our country but the Food and Drug Administration, doesn’t currently have authority to destroy these tests when they arrive.  It makes no sense. Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee GOP Leader Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) explains how bipartisan Safeguarding Therapeutics Act would solve the problem

Legislative Response

H.R. 266

Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act provides a fourth installment of funds to continue to address the impact of COVID-19 on the American people.  The bill provides new funding for small businesses, health care providers, and expanded testing.

Phase III – H.R. 748

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act into law.  The CARES Act represents the third phase in the Congressional response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency relief package provides tax rebates, expanded unemployment benefits, and numerous tax-relief provisions aimed at shoring up individual, family, and business finances, among other provisions.

Phase II – H.R. 6201

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law.  The bill represents the second phase in the Congressional response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The bill provides an additional $2.5 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for the U.S. response to coronavirus, ensures free tests for COVID-19, provides emergency paid leave for workers who become sick, or have to care for a loved one who falls ill, food assistance for the needy, strengthens unemployment insurance, and provides, assistance, support and flexibility for small businesses.

Of the items included under Energy and Commerce’s jurisdiction:

  • $1.2 billion to help cover the costs of COVID-19 testing, including $142 million to eliminate copay requirements for servicemembers and veterans.
  • $1 billion into the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for the National Disaster Medical System to pay provider claims for health services consisting of SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 related items and services for uninsured individuals.
  • $64 million to the Indian Health Service (IHS) for health services consisting of SARS–CoV–2 or COVID–19 related items and services.
  • $250 million to the Administration for Community Living for activities authorized under the Older Americans Act, consisting of Home-Delivered Nutrition Services, Congregate Nutrition Services, and Nutrition Services for Native Americans.
  • Ensures coverage of testing for COVID-19 by requiring all commercial insurance to cover diagnosis of COVID-19 with no cost-sharing, including the administration of tests and office visits, urgent care center visits, and emergency room (ER) visits related to testing for COVID-19 (Section 6001)
  • Waives cost sharing for seniors under the Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage Program relating to testing for COVID-19 (Sections 6002-6003)
  • Ensures coverage of COVID-19 testing under Medicaid and CHIP at no cost-sharing (Section 6004)
  • Codifies HHS administrative action to provide temporary liability protections for approved personal respiratory devices under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, to help increase the supply of respirators (Section 6005)
  • Provides coverage of testing for COVID-19 for Indian Health Service (IHS) at no cost sharing (Section 6007)
  • Provides states with increased Medicaid Funding for all medical services for the duration of the public health emergency (Section 6008)
  • Provides U.S. territories with increased Medicaid funding for all medical services for the next two fiscal years (Section 6009)
  • Makes technical improvements to Medicare telehealth authority to make it easier to waive current prohibitions surrounding telehealth during the current public health emergency (Section 6010)

Phase I – H.R. 6074

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act

On March 6, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act into law.  The bill represents the first phase of the Congressional response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provides $8.3 billion to increase the availability of tests, support public and private efforts toward developing a vaccine, purchasing essential equipment and supplies, and assisting state and local health departments.

  • Summary Courtesy of House Appropriations Committee

Of the items included under Energy and Commerce’s jurisdiction:

  • More than $4 billion to make diagnostic tests more broadly available; to support treatments to ease the symptoms of those infected with the virus; and to invest in vaccine development and to procure vaccines when they are available. Additionally, funds were made available to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect the integrity of medical products manufactured overseas and identify and prevent potential shortages.
  • $2.2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a robust response, including nearly $1 billion exclusively for state and local response efforts; and $300 million for CDC’s Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund.
  • The package also includes a bipartisan provision championed by E&C Republican Leader Walden to improve the use of telehealth during this public health emergency, allowing more patients to get the care they need at home to avoid potentially overcrowded health care facilities especially in rural areas.

S. 1379

Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act

On June 24, 2019, President Trump signed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPAIA) into law, which modernized the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, or PAHPA. This law sets up the framework to deal precisely with this type of an outbreak.

  • Reauthorizes our nation’s public health preparedness and response programs.
  • Bolsters the nation’s health security strategy, strengthens the country’s emergency response workforce, helps coordinate multiple health entities, and accelerates the advanced research, development, and federal purchasing of medical countermeasures.

Additional Resources

COVID-19 Response Timeline Courtesy the House Republican Whip

“House Republicans Have Worked to Combat the Coronavirus” Courtesy House GOP Conference

“A Month of Posturing” Courtesy House GOP Conference

Coronavirus Guidelines for Americans from the White House

Download Graphics and More from the White House Coronavirus Task Force

E&C COVID-19 Updates Repository




Issues
COVID-19