WASHINGTON, DC – E&C Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), who was recently chosen to serve on President Donald Trump’s Opening Up America Again Congressional Group, joined “Varney & Co.” on Fox Business to discuss the response to COVID-19 and efforts to reopen the U.S. economy.
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“…the President and his team are leading the effort to do that in a safe way. They understand the science, they’re listening to the doctors and the scientists… There’s a way to do it. There’s a regional way to do it. His cabinet is working on those ideas. He’s laid out his 3-part framework for states.”
“…I represent two-thirds of the land mass of the state [of Oregon], an area that would stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to Ohio, so big, wide-open spaces. So social distancing is a way of life in my district because you’re so far apart from people we don’t have the high-density populations in much of the district. Certainly, we have some cities that have higher densities. So in those rural areas where you have huge counties bigger than states and no COVID cases, they’re pretty restless about it. Their hospitals have lost their revenues because they can’t treat elective surgeries or patients. They’re laying off people so they’re saying, ‘I think we can manage through this now.’ It will be up to our governor to make that decision, ultimately, but they believe…that they can reopen carefully, thoughtfully….And I have faith in the local county commissions and cities and their health departments to do this and do it carefully and smartly.”
“You know I’ll be measured, but some people just can’t quit the hateful rhetoric towards this president. They’re not listening to what’s being done; they’re not listening to the challenge. It’s really, it’s really, it’s unnecessary; it’s unfair; it lacks a certain element of truth shall I say. Look, they’ve done a really good job under very tough circumstances. I was just on the phone for half an hour with the head of the FDA walking through the partnerships he has, with NIH, National Institutes of Health, as well as internationally. And they’re working around the clock to try to expedite prophylactic treatments, the testing. They have blown through any, any record in terms of getting new treatments, new testing to market quicker. I mean it’s never happened this fast. We’ve seen the Airbridge effort to bring supplies in from around the world that the president and vice president’s team have led on to bring supplies clear out into Oregon and out to our National Guard to distribute them. It’s not like you can wave a magic wand and suddenly have everything you need in a pandemic or a crisis. I’m sure there are things – and we’re looking at them – in the future that we know we could do better, that we weren’t prepared for. We can’t lay that blame on this Administration. I was part of the effort that wrote the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act. It passed Congress unanimously in the House under my Chairmanship. Then, again [when] eventually the Senate agreed, and it went into law a year ago. That’s where we laid out in a bipartisan way how to deal with a pandemic. We’ve learned a lot since then. So I don’t know what that rhetoric does other than play to a left-wing progressive base.”