Dear Colleague: Update on Coronavirus Relief Negotiations and the Need for our Strategic, Science-Based Plan to Crush the Virus

October 11, 2020
Press Release

Dear Democratic Colleague,

Yesterday, over 54,000 new cases of the virus were reported.  This is the fourth day of over 50,000 new cases. It has always been imperative that we follow the science with a bold strategic plan to crush the virus.  As the infections soar and the deaths increase, this priority continues to be urgent.

This past week, the President demonstrated very clearly that he has not taken the war against the virus seriously, personally or nationally.  This attitude is reflected in the grossly inadequate response we finally received from the Administration on Saturday.

The news is filled with the numbers in terms of dollars.  The heart of the matter is: can we allow the virus to rage on and ignore science as the Administration proposes, or will they accept the scientific strategic plan in the Heroes Act to crush the virus.

We have other differences in terms of who benefits from the spending.  But in terms of addressing testing, tracing and treatment, what the Trump Administration has offered is wholly insufficient.

We cannot safely reopen schools, the economy and our communities until we crush the virus with the science-based national plan for testing, tracing, treatment and isolation, and for the equitable and ethical distribution of a safe and effective vaccine once developed.  This strategic plan is contained in the Heroes Act, which includes $75 billion to fund this crucial work.  It is explained more fully in the fact sheet that Chairman Pallone sent out once again on Thursday.

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration proposal does not meet the health needs of this crisis:

  • Total Funding:  The Administration has offered what seems to be about $45 billion in new money, which is only about 60 percent of what is needed, according to medical experts.  More importantly, it is not spent strategically. 
  • Testing: It delays funding to states unless they enter into compacts that require legislative action by each participating state.  Mandatory compacts are a recipe for delay when the country must move forward with a national plan as soon as possible.
  • Metrics: The definitions for community spread and rate of transmission under the Trump Administration are too low.  They are one-tenth of what needs to be recognized to stop the continuing spread of the virus at unacceptable rates.
  • Territories and Tribal Communities: Unacceptably, the Trump plan offers no support for territories and very minimal support for tribes.
  • Communities of Color: Cruelly, nothing to address inequities in COVID incidence and impact on communities of color.
  • National Plan: Tragically, the Trump Administration has no national plan for testing, tracing, and treatment.

It is hard to understand who is shaping their approach, which to date has been a miserable and deadly failure.

Until these serious issues are resolved, we remain at an impasse.  However, I remain hopeful that the White House will join us to work toward a relief package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America’s families and will do so soon.

Updates will continue to be ongoing.

Thank you for your leadership.

best regards,