Protecting our communities
As the nation and our own state of Colorado continues to face the threat of the coronavirus, it’s important that all of us are doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this illnesses within our communities. This week, Congress approved a bipartisan emergency spending bill to provide our federal, state and local health agencies the tools and funding they need to respond to the virus.
Included in this bill is more than $3 billion to fund the search for a vaccine. It will also provide state and local governments with $2.2 billion to protect their communities from the spread of the virus, and nearly $1 billion for these agencies to procure the medical equipment, such as masks and respirators, they will need.
While this funding is vital to our efforts to protect the public’s health from this virus, it is only the first step in a much-broader approach that will be needed. What we have learned in combating similar viruses – such as MERS, SARS and Ebola – is that time is of the essence and we need an all-hands-on-deck approach from every level of our government in order to be successful.
As chair of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations panel – which oversees much of the nation’s health care infrastructure – I have been working closely with local state and federal health officials to ensure they have the resources they need to fight this virus.
I also introduced legislation this week to increase the diagnostic testing capabilities of health laboratories across the country, in part to better respond to emerging public health threats, such as the coronavirus.
Ensuring our hospitals and laboratories have the tools they need to quickly and accurately diagnose patients is essential to preventing the spread of viruses such as coronavirus.
To help them do that, this legislation will overhaul the federal government’s outdated system, which health care workers are saying is slowing down their ability to quickly respond to these threats. It will ensure that, going forward, our hospitals and health labs are able to begin testing patients immediately.
While combating the spread of the coronavirus has become a nationwide priority, we are also fighting this week to protect our right to reproductive care.
Over the last year, we have seen more than half a dozen states pass new laws aimed at limiting access to abortion services. This recent wave of anti-abortion legislation is not a coincidence. It’s all been part of a concerted effort by some conservative groups to take this issue back to the Supreme Court where they believe that the Court’s two newest justices – appointed by President Trump – will help overturn the protections guaranteed under Roe v. Wade.
On Wednesday, I joined with hundreds of pro-choice advocates to rally in front of the Supreme Court as it took up the first such case, known as June Medical vs. Russo. As I said on the steps of the court that day, this case is about more than just women’s right to reproductive care – it’s about women’s ongoing fight for true equality in this country. We, as women, will never be truly equal in this country if we can’t control what happen to our bodies.
This is a fight that has been going on for many years now, and it’s one we don’t plan on backing down from now.
As always, if you have any questions, or need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 303-844-4988. Or you can visit my website at DeGette.house.gov to learn more about all of the different ways that my staff and I are available to assist you.
Member of Congress