Closely Monitoring Coronavirus and Keeping Constituents Informed

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As a Member of Congress, I am closely monitoring the spread of coronavirus and the impact that it is having on the North Country and our nation as a whole. Our district has one of the largest constituencies of seniors in the country, and I am particularly concerned with ensuring they are protected and have the best information available. I remain in close contact with our local elected officials and local healthcare providers to ensure all of my constituents are receiving the most up to date information. For resources and information from the Center for Disease Control, The World Health Organization, and the public health departments of each of our twelve counties, visit my website here. Make sure you are washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, avoiding large gatherings, and calling seniors and loved ones to make sure they are aware. If you feel sick, do not hesitate to call your doctor. 

Today, at the urging of our office and the State, the FDA announced that private labs will be able to conduct these tests in New York State. My office will continue to work immediately and diligently to address all concerns related to COVID-19. We encourage all constituents to continue to access CDC.gov as a resource for guidance, and anyone who has questions to call any of my offices, or the CDC at 800-CDC-INFO.

Legislative Efforts to Combat the Spread of Coronavirus 

Last night, I voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a legislative package to combat coronavirus. This bipartisan legislative package will support North Country families during this public health emergency as we face and ultimately beat COVID-19. My number one priority in Congress is to deliver results to my constituents in New York 21st District and my office successfully advocated for significant federal support to ensure free testing, resources for North Country seniors and the most vulnerable, and relief for small businesses and hardworking families. In particular, I am grateful that legislation I cosponsored to maintain student access to school meals during closures was included in the final package. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress on legislation to combat this pandemic and to provide my constituents with up-to-date information

This legislative package:

  • Eliminates cost barriers by providing free COVID-19 testing.
  • Provides paid leave for working Americans who are ill, quarantined, or caring for others due to coronavirus through a tax credit to employers.
  • Protects student access to meals during school closures related to COVID-19 by allowing school officials and child care centers to distribute food in alternate settings.
  • Bolsters state Unemployment Compensation (UC) systems and directs states to make UC payments more accessible for individuals whose employment has been disrupted by the coronavirus.   
  • Expands access to food assistance programs and provides $250 million in additional funding for key Older Americans Act nutrition programs, including Home-Delivered and Congregate meals for seniors. 
  • Temporarily increases the federal share of Medicaid payments (FMAP) by 6.2%, reducing the percentage that must be paid by New York counties, which will free up local resources to respond to this crisis. Importantly, states will be prevented from increasing the percentage of Medicaid payments that counties must pay while the temporary FMAP increase is in place.

 Last week, the House voted to provide $7.8 billion for the United States' emergency response. This provided provide an installment of funds to expedite vaccine development, purchase essential equipment and supplies, and assist state and local health departments. It included making diagnostic tests more broadly available and supporting treatment of those infected. It also supplied $2.2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $1 billion for state and local response efforts, and $1.25 billion for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to protect Americans abroad and prevent the spread of the virus worldwide.

Encouraged by the President's Leadership and Staying in Touch with our Northern Neighbors

I support President Trump’s announcement today declaring a national emergency to bring all possible resources of the federal government to bear as we beat #COVID?19. I also strongly support the robust partnerships with the private sector, bringing together all Americans who are stepping up to work together.

I'm grateful President Trump highlighted the strong economic relationship and partnership with Canada while answering questions today. Immediately following his press conference, I called Quebec's Minister of International Relations, Nadine Girault, to discuss the importance of a nuanced approach that balances public health and the importance of trade and commerce across the Northern Border. 

Cosponsoring Legislation to Protect School Meal Access During Coronavirus Closures

This week, I became a cosponsor of the COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response Act, bipartisan legislation that would protect students’ access to school meal benefits during school closures that occur as a result of coronavirus. The legislation will create a nationwide waiver authority, 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.  It is imperative that our students maintain access to the school meals they rely on, even in the event of school closures as a result of coronavirus. As schools close to prevent further spread of coronavirus, we must ensure that meals will still be available to these children. As a member of Congress, I remain committed to keeping my constituents informed and providing the most up to date information about the Coronavirus as it is made available. I am proud to be cosponsoring this legislation and will be monitoring school closures as they pertain to the North Country. I continue to encourage anyone with questions to reach out to any of my offices. Read more here.

  Announcing the Amended Older Americans Act is Headed to the President’s Desk 

This week, I announced that the Older Americans Act, as amended by the Senate, has cleared the House and is headed to the President’s desk. I was proud to lead the House passage of this bipartisan legislation, which reauthorizes the Older Americans Act and improves the delivery of services so aging Americans can remain in their communities. Provisions from three pieces of separate legislation that I authored remain included in the final version. These provisions are:

  • The Supporting Family Caregivers Act encourages the use of individual assessments to identify the needs of family caregivers and allow services to be targeted more effectively to aging individuals. This more person- and family-centered approach to care will ensure that both caregivers and those who require assistance in our district are provided with adequate services to ensure the best possible health outcomes.
  • The Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Act ensures those diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s receive equal recognition and protection under the law.
  • The TIME (Trauma-Informed Modernization of Eldercare) for Holocaust Survivors Act gives Holocaust survivors living in the United States access to specialized care and services for their unique needs.

The North Country is home to one of the largest constituencies of older Americans in the country, and I’ve been honored to lead the effort to ensure they have the support and dignity they deserve in their elder years. I’m grateful the final bill includes critical provisions from three pieces of my legislation: to enhance individualization in caregiving, give those diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s receive equal recognition under the law, and ensure our country’s Holocaust survivors are given specialized care for their unique needs due to the unconscionable suffering they faced. I’m looking forward to seeing the Supporting Older Americans Act, which will directly benefit North Country seniors, signed into law by the President soon. Read more here.

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