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U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

02/14/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/14/2020 17:08

As Global Coronavirus Outbreak Grows, Peters Continues Oversight of Federal Government’s Preparedness and Response Efforts

Friday, February 14, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, this week continued his oversight of the Trump Administration's strategy to respond to the global Coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 60,000 individuals worldwide and left nearly 1,400 dead. On Wednesday, Peters helped convene a roundtable discussion with public health and security leaders as well as infectious disease experts to examine the federal government's actions to limit the spread of the deadly virus. On Thursday, Peters was briefed at the White House by Administration officials on the ongoing efforts to contain the outbreak.

'The Coronavirus outbreak is a serious global health crisis, and federal and state agencies must work closely together to prevent this highly contagious virus from spreading within the United States,' said Senator Peters. 'As Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I'm working closely with public health and security experts and my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that the federal government is taking every appropriate measure to protect the health and safety of the American people.'

While the risk of a largescale coronavirus outbreak in the United States remains low, Peters is working to ensure the federal government is fully prepared to respond to this and future pandemics. This week, he pressed the Department of Health and Human Services to provide clear guidance on how state and local governments will be reimbursed for any costs they incur in responded to the current outbreak. Detroit Metro Airport and facilities in Southeast Michigan are supporting screening and quarantine efforts for Americans that have recently traveled to China.

Peters also joined his colleagues in calling on the Administration to appoint a global health security expert to the White House's National Security Council (NSC) to coordinate the Administration's Coronavirus response efforts. The NSC has been without a health expert for almost two years.

Earlier this month, Peters and his counterpart on the Homeland Security Committee, Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI), pressed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide details on the Administration's strategy to respond to the emerging Coronavirus outbreak. Last week, Peters called on the Trump Administration to fully fund pandemic preparedness and response efforts in the 2021 budget.

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