02/26/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/26/2020 19:34
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) issued the following statement tonight on the U.S. government's ongoing fight against the coronavirus:
'Make no mistake, the health and safety of the American people remain our top priorities as the U.S. government works to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We also continue to be concerned about the potential for the virus to cause major disruptions to the U.S. economy, especially supply chains of American automotive firms.
But today was an important day in our ongoing fight against the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this afternoon, I participated in a Health Subcommittee hearing and had the opportunity to question the Coronavirus Task Force - including U.S. Secretary of Health Alex Azar - and heard from them directly about the U.S. government's efforts to help keep the American people safe. And tonight, the President and our nation's top health officials provided a further update on our response. I believe it is a positive step that Vice President Pence has been placed in a leading role to help combat this virus.
But there is more to do. Congress is 100 percent committed to providing the resources necessary to protect our communities and the overall well-being of the United States. It is important that we do so in a fiscally responsible way, without taking funding from other buckets.
We need every tool in the toolbox to protect the American people, that's for certain. All levels of government and every agency should continue to work closely together to prepare for the potential spread of the virus, and it is absolutely imperative that our nation remains vigilant to contain, understand, and eradicate the threat we are facing.'
As Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton helped lead the passage of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), important bipartisan legislation to help government agencies better coordinate to protect the American people from public health emergencies. President Trump last year signed into law the reauthorization of PAHPA.
On February 24 of this year, the Trump Administration proposed a $2.5 billion supplemental funding plan to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier this month, Upton and Rep. Debbie Dingell addressed a letter to Azar, Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow, and Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun asking for the U.S. government to work to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on the supply chain of American automotive firms. Hundreds of thousands of Michigan jobs depend on the auto industry and auto manufacturing and millions of more jobs rely on other Chinese exports.