Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, families, businesses and health care providers are facing unprecedented tough times. However, during these trying times I’m encouraged to see the strength exemplified by communities across the nation to support each other and heed warnings.
On March 27, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law, providing significant financial relief for Americans and small businesses, funding to continue to combat the pandemic, and access to care for Americans. While not perfect, this bill is a necessary step forward to safeguard our economy and the well-being of our citizens.
Congress and the administration have been hard at work to implement solutions for businesses, hospitals and individual Americans. My staff and I have worked to remain accessible throughout this time for my constituents. We recently conducted a tele-townhall so I could hear directly from Kentuckians, and I’ve held calls with hospital leaders and business owners in the 1st District to better understand the challenges they’re facing and assistance they need moving forward.
Like many of my congressional colleagues, I had concerns related to the massive cost of the CARES Act and some of the provisions in it that are unrelated to the pandemic. Nevertheless, this was a significant step to secure our nation’s economy, particularly Main Street small businesses, and preserve our economic foundation. This expansive bill that President Trump signed into law gives cash assistance to Americans and keeps small businesses on their feet through loan forgiveness. It aims to increase access to testing and the ability for the Food and Drug Administration to swiftly approve new medications and treatments. With this legislation, direct funding is provided to combat the pandemic —
$150 billion will go towards states, cities and localities to support hospitals, health care workers and first responders, as well as more personal protective equipment for those working on the front lines.
As we work to see that this bill is implemented effectively, I worked to introduce a bipartisan bill to ensure children have access to full, healthy meals despite school closures. I partnered with Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) to introduce the COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response Act to protect students’ access to school meal benefits. This will allow school officials to distribute food in any number of settings across all nutrition programs and allow for flexibility on meal components if food supply or procurement is disrupted. On March 18, President Trump signed this legislation into law. I’m grateful that we took this step forward to prioritize families and children affected by the coronavirus and I look forward to the positive impact it will have.
As we work through this volatile time, it is especially critical that we look out for our seniors’ well-being. One positive step forward for all senior citizens was President Trump’s recent signing of the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 (H.R. 4334), which prioritizes the delivery of critical services to Kentucky’s senior citizens. I was a lead Republican co-sponsor of the legislation, which reauthorizes the Older Americans Act (OAA). H.R. 4334 promotes seniors’ ability to live independently in their homes and reauthorizes comprehensive programs to deliver meals at senior centers, schools and churches.
Senior citizens have spent a lifetime supporting our communities and raising future generations. Now, it is our responsibility to support them. As we continue to closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak, I am steadfastly committed to supporting America’s seniors through effective policies like this.
Throughout our nation’s history, we’ve been confronted with tumultuous events that called on Americans to work together to make it through times of crisis. That’s what we’re being called on to do now, and I am confident that our country will overcome this present situation. I give great thanks to everyone who is on the front lines of combating the coronavirus, from our health care workers and first responders to our local government officials and businesses.
Everyone is working together to make positive progress each day. I look forward to continuing my work on behalf of our resilient Kentucky families to aid in that progress.
Congressman James Comer can be reached at his Washington D.C. office at (202) 225-3115 or the Paducah office at (270) 408-1865.