Pelosi Dear Colleague on Coronavirus Next Steps

March 9, 2020
Press Release

Dear Democratic Colleague,

Thank you for your strong leadership to deliver the bipartisan emergency coronavirus response bill as a first step to provide urgently needed funds for the response effort and to enable an estimated $7 billion in low-interest SBA loans to small businesses impacted by the epidemic.  It is clear that further legislative action will quickly become necessary as the epidemic spreads and the impacts on workers and families in our communities deepen. 

At our Caucus tomorrow morning, we will hear from the Sergeant at Arms (SAA), the Attending Physician and the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for an update on the continuity of operations protocols for the Capitol and to prepare our offices.  The SAA, Attending Physician and the CAO are constantly monitoring developments.  At the present time, there is no reason for us not to continue with our vital legislative work in the Capitol.  Tomorrow morning, we will have an opportunity to hear from these officials together and discuss in greater detail. 

In light of reports that the Trump Administration is considering new tax cuts for major corporations impacted by the coronavirus, Leader Schumer and I released a statement calling on the Administration to prioritize the health and safety of American workers and their families over corporate interests.  Those needs include:

  • Paid sick leave — workers impacted by quarantine orders or responsible for caring for children impacted by school closures must receive paid sick leave to alleviate the devastating consequences of lost wages;
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance — we must ensure unemployment insurance benefits are available and sufficient for workers who may lose their jobs from the economic impacts of the epidemic;
  • Food security — we must expand SNAP, WIC, school lunch and other initiatives and suspend implementation of any regulations that weaken federal food assistance, in order to ensure vulnerable populations do not lose access to food during this epidemic;
  • Clear protections for frontline workers — we must have clear standards and sufficient distribution of necessary protective equipment for health care and other workers who are in contact with people who have been exposed or are suffering from the virus as well as the people responsible for cleaning buildings and public facilities;
  • Widespread and free coronavirus testing — to control the spread of coronavirus, the Administration must ensure that all who need an evaluation are able to access locations for cost-free testing and rapidly increase the unacceptably low daily test processing capacity inside the U.S.;
  • Affordable treatment for all — patients must be reimbursed for any non-covered coronavirus-related costs, or else the epidemic will be worsened because families will fear they cannot afford the costs associated with treatment;
  • Anti-price gouging protections — we must ensure that hard-working families are protected from price gouging of medical and non-medical essentials during this emergency;
  • Increase capacity of medical system — we must use our emergency response mechanisms to mobilize resources and facilities in order to respond to surges in demand.

Tonight, we will be having further conversations with the Chairs of our Committees of Jurisdiction and the Leadership on the path forward.  Thank you to all of our Members for your input and thoughtfulness as we work on next steps.

Thank you for your leadership.

best regards,