Washington, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) delivered remarks on the House floor in support of the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. You can watch his full remarks, here, and read the transcript below.
Remarks As Prepared For Delivery
This package is not the first response to the COVID-19 pandemic, nor will it be the last.
The American people expect us to set partisanship aside in times of crisis and do what’s best for our country and for constituents, and that’s what we are doing today.
We are helping health care providers on the front lines back home get the personal protective equipment they need, and the medicines, and medical devices that will save the lives of their patients.
We are helping people who have lost their jobs get a lifeline.
We are helping our small businesses keep their workforce together.
And, were making record investments into finding treatments and a cure.
We’re helping our state and local governments too.
We’re all in this together.
And, with President Trump’s leadership, we’re all in this to win as fast as medically possible.
In order to prevent our health system from collapsing under the weight of this virus we will provide unprecedented support for nation’s health care providers—including $100 million for hospitals, labs, doctors, and increased reimbursement for treating COVID-19 patients.
We dramatically expand production and distribution of medical supplies, by providing liability protections through the PREP Act for respirator manufacturers.
Including $16 billion dollars for the Strategic National Stockpile to procure medical countermeasures, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and $11 billion for manufacturing, production, and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other items to address the nation’s medical or preparedness needs.
The CARE Act opens up the fastest computers in the world at our national laboratories for research and analysis related to the COVID-19 virus.
We helped EPA expedite the ability to get disinfectants into the market more quickly to protect the public from this virus and prevent its further spread.
And in a volatile oil market, the CARES Act smartly delays a mandatory 2020 sale of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve through 2022.
Included in this package are improvements to expand access to care through telehealth, including $200 million for the FCC for telehealth services and devices, and expansion of telehealth services in the Medicare program.
It extends vital Medicare, Medicaid, and public health programs, including community health centers among many others, until November 30th of this year.
We mobilize the nation’s health workforce by providing liability protections to those who provide volunteer medical services during the public health crisis by standing up the ready reserve, and we take steps to protect our medical supply chain – something I hope Congress will continue to work on after we pass this legislation today.
Today’s phase 3 approach is the most comprehensive and robust response to COVID-19.
Together, we’re going to win this war.