COVID-19 Letters and Bills

I have co-signed and co-sponsored the following letters and bills regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Each item includes the sponsoring Senator and a link to the text. This list will be updated regularly as we work to combat the coronavirus and provide resources for Vermonters in these difficult times. 

Letters

Agriculture

  • To USDA on helping local food producers affected by the coronavirus (Brown, Stabenow)
    • Agriculture is an essential component of Vermont’s economy and lifestyle; we must help local food producers who have lost revenue from closed local food systems such as schools, farmers markets, and restaurants, and ensure they are eligible for payment under the CARES Act. (Link to letter)
  • To USDA following up on previous letter about helping local food producers affected by the coronavirus (Brown, Stabenow)
    • When finalizing the recently announced Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), USDA must take into account the challenges local producers face. (Link to letter)
  • To USDA on the impact of COVID-19 on dairy farmers and low milk prices (Leahy, Stabenow)
    • The USDA should re-open the 2020 sign up window for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program, which would protect farmers against volatile prices. (Link to letter)
  • To Vice President Pence, FDA, DHS, USDA, EPA on protecting food supply chains affected by the coronavirus (Stabenow)
    • We must do all we can to protect food supply workers from infection and ensure a stable food supply. (Link to letter)
  • To USDA on support to the dairy industry, which is struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Sanders, Leahy, Welch)
    • USDA should implement supply management, set a floor price for fluid milk, reopen the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC program), and compensate farmers for dumped milk. (Link to letter)

Business

  • To the Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding eligibility requirements, loan forgiveness, and lender participation in coronavirus relief programs (Gillibrand) 
    • Recent guidance on eligibility requirements, loan forgiveness and lender participation for SBA coronavirus relief programs has been muddled. Businesses need clear guidance on multiple fronts, including eligibility for businesses with employee stock ownership plans for SBA COVID-19 programs, proper use of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, and requirements for lenders. (Link to Letter)
  • To the Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding the lack of clear and consistent guidance on the implementation of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and Emergency Economic Injury Grants (EEIGs) (Wyden) 
    • Small businesses are relying on this relief, and they need accurate and consistent information about the application process and use of these relief funds. (Link to letter)
  • To the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding racial disparities in lending under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) (Harris, Brown)
    • Minority-owned businesses continue to face structural barriers in securing loans through PPP. The Trump administration must ensure that minority-owned businesses are not excluded from PPP funding and require lenders to report the demographics of any PPP lending. (Link to letter) 
  • To Senate leadership and the Treasury Department regarding emergency funding for state and local governments (Manchin)
    • State and local governments have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and will face a significant decline in revenues in the near future. A fourth legislative package to address this pandemic must include flexible, dedicated funding for state and local governments. (Link to letter)
  • To Congressional leadership regarding flexibility in local matching funds requirements for Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) projects (Leahy) 
    • NBRC funded projects require either a 50% or 20% local match, a requirement that will be increasingly difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The NBRC should have the discretion to let projects access up to 100% federal funding. (Link to letter)
  • To Congressional leadership regarding supplemental funding for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) (Shaheen) 
    • NBRC is uniquely equipped to help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and must receive funding in a fourth legislative package addressing this pandemic. (Link to letter)
  • To Treasury Department and Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Improper Enrichment (Klobuchar)
    • Recent reporting found that some businesses that do not need financial assistance are abusing PPP and crowding out small business owners who truly need assistance. Treasury and SBA must ensure PPP funding reaches small businesses as the CARES Act intended. (Link to letter). 
  • To Senate Leadership regarding COVID-19 support for cannabis small businesses (Rosen, Wyden)
    • This industry should not be excluded from receiving critical help from SBA. (Link to letter)
  • To Senate Leadership regarding support for nonprofits in the next COVID-19 relief package (Schatz)
    • Nonprofits provide many essential services and help millions of Americans meet their basic needs. At a time of increased demand and economic hardship, nonprofits need additional emergency funding. (Link to letter) 
  • To the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Treasury Department regarding the administration of economic injury disaster loans (EIDLs)
    • Thousands of applications for EIDLs are still pending without any clarity on when they will be processed or how much a business may receive. Businesses need answers so they can plan for the future. Moreover, SBA must accept new EIDL applications. (Link to letter) 
  • To Senate leadership regarding funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in the next COVID-19 legislative relief package
    • CDFIs fill critical needs in their communities and magnify appropriated funds to support small businesses across the country. Any new COVID-19 relief package should include $1 billion for CDFIs. (Link to letter) 
  • To the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department regarding the Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility program (Warren; Representatives DeFazio and Doggett) 
    • The Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility Program allows large corporations to access taxpayer funding with no strings attached. This program must include essential corporate accountability provisions and ensure workers and taxpayers are put first. (Link to letter) 
  • To the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding loan forgiveness in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) (Schumer, Cardin, Brown, Shaheen)
    • The PPP loan forgiveness application process is complex and long. Treasury and the SBA must streamline and simplify the PPP loan forgiveness application to ensure the smallest and most underserved businesses are able to take full advantage of PPP. (Link to letter) 
  • To the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for seasonal businesses (King) 
    • Many seasonal businesses have been unable to receive the PPP loan increases they need to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Treasury and the SBA must issue a new Interim Final Rule immediately to ensure seasonal businesses have access to the PPP funds for which they qualify. (Link to letter) 

Civil Rights and Liberties 

  • To the US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) urging guidance on preventing and addressing anti-Asian racism and xenophobia (Warren, Duckworth, Hirono) 
    • The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a shameful increase in anti-Asian xenophobic and racist attacks, but there has been no coordinated federal response. USCCR should issue guidance to federal agencies on how to best prevent and address such racism and xenophobia. (Link to letter) 
  • To the Trump Administration regarding COVID-19 racial disparities (Menendez)
    • COVID-19 has disproportionately affected racial minorities in the United States, especially Black Americans. We need demographic and racial data on these disparities, and this administration must ensure that any vaccine or drug trials related to COVID-19 include women, minorities, and LGBTQ individuals. (Link to letter) 

Defense

  • To President Trump, DOD, and FEMA on the National Guard fighting COVID-19 (Bennet) 
    • The Trump administration must address National Guard federal status, leave, and healthcare to ensure all personnel receive the care and certainty they deserve. (Link to letter)

Disabilities

  • To Congressional Leadership on disability community priorities (Warren)
    • We must prioritize the needs of people with disabilities in the next coronavirus response package. (Link to letter)

Economy

  • To President Trump on the coronavirus pandemic’s exacerbation of the wealth gap (HELP Committee)
    • The Trump administration must stop its immoral dismantling of public programs that benefit low-income Americans – who have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic – and ensure affordable access to housing, food, health care, and other basic needs. (Link to letter)

Education and Childcare

  • To the Department of Education to issue guidance for K-12 and higher ed around COVID-19 closures (Murray)
    • The Dept. of Ed must offer clear guidance on school closures and the transition to online education. (Link to letter)
  • To the Department of Education on sharing COVID-19 information (Murray)
    • The Dept. of Education needs a plan to share information on the coronavirus and work with school districts, colleges, universities, parents, and students (Link to letter)
  • To the Department of Education on resources for children with disabilities (Murphy)
    • The Dept. of Ed must ensure these students receive the education they are guaranteed by law. (Link to letter)
  • To the Office of Child Care (OCC) regarding emergency child care needs of our frontline workforce (Hassan)
    • The Agency should provide additional guidance for how childcare programs that have remained open during this crisis can stay safe for the families they serve. (Link to letter)
  • To the Office of Early Childhood Development, the Office of Special Education Programs, and the Office of Early Learning on COVID-19 preparation (Casey)
    • Less is known about how coronavirus affects children; we must do everything we can to keep them safe. (Link to letter)
  • To Senator Blunt and Senator Murray on additional funding for schools and staff (Bennet)
    • We must compensate school staff such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and janitorial staff for their front-line efforts in keeping students and other staff safe during the coronavirus pandemic. (Link to letter)
  • To Congressional Leadership on support for libraries (Reed)
    • Libraries are essential institutions in providing resources during this crisis and in community recovery afterward.
  • To Congressional Leadership on relief for higher education institutions (Merkley)
    • We must provide financial support to students to ensure their financial aid is not disrupted and to tuition-dependent public institutions. (Link to letter)
  • To Congressional Leadership on homework gap funding (Van Hollen)
    • Congress must ensure that students who do not have internet access do not fall behind in their online classes. (Link to letter)
  • To Congressional Leadership on student loan cancellation (Warren)
    • We must provide relief to federal student loan borrowers, suspend monthly loan payments, and give a minimum $10,000 pay down to all borrowers. (Link to letter)
  • To the State Department on Fulbright scholars (Casey)
    • Fulbright scholars evacuated from countries affected by the coronavirus should have the opportunity to defer or re-apply to complete their programs.
  • To Senate Leadership on Funding for Childcare (Warren, Smith)
    • Many childcare centers and struggling financially as a result of the coronavirus. Senate leadership must prioritize additional funding for childcare in the next COVID-19 legislative package. (Link to letter)
  • To Senate Leadership on reopening school safely (Reed)
    • Congress must provide at least $175 billion in relief funds for elementary and secondary education in the next COVID package to ensure that schools can open safely this fall and students can continue learning. (Link to letter)

Energy

  • To President Trump opposing oil executive bailouts (Markey, Merkley)
    • I oppose the Trump administration’s reported proposal to bail out the oil industry in response to COVID-19. (Link to letter)

Foreign Relations

  • To President Trump on exemptions on certain travel restrictions across the Canadian border (Shaheen)
    • There should be uniform exemptions on certain travel across the Canadian border to ensure medical and other essential supply chains are not impacted. (Link to letter)
  • To the State Department about COVID-19 in the West Bank and Gaza (Warren, Van Hollen)
    • The President Trump Administration must provide a plan to help the Palestinian people combat COVID-19. (Link to letter)
  • To the State Department and Treasury Department on Iran sanctions (Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez)
    • The United States should relax sanctions on Iran, one of the epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak. (Link to letter)
  • To the State Department on U.S. contribution to UN humanitarian aid (Murphy)
    • The U.S. should provide a strong funding contribution to the UN’s $2 billion global appeal for emergency humanitarian assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak. (Link to letter)

Guns

  • To Senate leadership and appropriators regarding resources for communities experiencing gun violence in the next COVID-19 relief package 
    • The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have increased community gun violence in many locations across the country. Congress should include resources for these communities in the next COVID-19 relief package. (Link to letter) 

Health Care

  • To Vice President Pence on protecting coronavirus response from political interference (Warren)
    • The federal response to the coronavirus outbreak must follow evidence-based public health principles. (Link to letter)
  • To HHS on health care sabotage (Murray, HELP Committee)
    • HHS must ensure the affordability of a COVID-19 vaccine, stop offering junk plans that do not provide actual coverage, and stop attacking Medicaid. (Link to letter)
  • To FCC to increase subsidies to health care providers through the Rural Health Care program (Schatz)
    • These subsidies allow rural providers to invest in necessary additional telehealth capacity. (Link to letter) 
  • To President Trump on invoking Defense Production Act (DPA) authorities (Markey)
    • We are facing an alarming shortage of ventilators and medical supplies; President Trump must invoke the DPA authorities now. (Link to letter)
  • To Vice President Vice President Pence and Assistant Secretary for Health Giroir on COVID-19 tests (Warren)
    • The Administration’s failure to ensure the availability of COVID-19 tests is unacceptable. (Link to letter) 
  • To health insurers: Kaiser Permanente, Aetna, Humana, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and UnitedHealth Group on cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment (Murphy)
    • Health insurance companies must waive all cost sharing for emergency department care, virtual and telehealth visits, health center and urgent care settings, and refills on prescription medication. (Link to letter)
  • To President Trump on providing medical supplies and equipment to states, territories, and tribal organizations (Bennett)
    • The American people have a right to know about the status of available supplies, national testing capacity, and the Administration’s plan to help state and local governments. (Link to letter)
  • To Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer about a coronavirus relief and stimulus package (Markey, Duckworth)
    • The COVID-19 stimulus package must prioritize health; provide economic relief directly to the people; support workers instead corporate executives; invest in the economy to ensure recovery; and protect democracy. (Link to letter)
  • To FDA on Men who Have Sex with Men (MSM) blood donor deferral (Baldwin, Warren, Booker)
    • At a time when we are facing a shortage of donated blood and blood products, the FDA should move away from discriminatory policies that put restrictions on who can donate blood and base their policies on science. (Link to letter)
  • To House and Senate Leadership on community health center funding (Sanders, Pressley, Warren, Davis)
    • We need a dramatic increase in long-term funding for community health centers (CHCs). (Link to letter)
  • To HHS on supporting rural hospitals (Bennet, Barrasso) 
    • Rural hospitals are on the front lines of this pandemic. The Trump administration must provide immediate financial assistance to our rural hospitals. 
  • To Congressional Leadership on emergency funding for the District of Columbia (Van Hollen)
    • Washington, D.C. requires emergency funding to fight its rising number of coronavirus cases. (Link to letter)
  • Open letter urging self-response to the Census (Schatz)
    • Census self-response, rather than having a census worker visit your home, is the easiest and safest way to be counted, and can be done online, by phone, or by mail.
  • To FTC on protecting consumers from price gouging
    • The FTC must prevent price gouging of consumer health products, such as hand sanitizer and soap, in this time when people need them most. (Link to letter)
  • To the Postmaster General on protecting postal employees and customers from COVID-19 (Sanders)
    • Many Postal Service workers have reported that they have been told to keep working despite exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. This is unacceptable. USPS must provide postal workers with protective equipment and sick leave. (Link to letter)
  • To President Trump expressing serious concerns with the administration’s mismanagement of the Strategic National Stockpile (Baldwin, Murray) 
    • The American people deserve to know how the administration makes medical supply distribution decisions and that these decisions are free from political interference. (Link to letter)
  • To Senate Leadership on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) (Baldwin) 
    • OSHA should implement an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect frontline workers. (Link to letter)
  • To Senate appropriators requesting funding for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Programs (Merkley, Durbin) 
    • I am pleased that Congress reauthorized Title VIII in the CARES Act. We must appropriate no less than $15 billion in supplemental funds for the program in the next coronavirus response package. (Link to letter)
  • To drug companies requesting diversity in clinical trials related to COVID-19 (Menendez)
    • Drug companies must include diverse group of patients in COVID-19 clinical trials. (Link to letter)
  • To Congressional leadership requesting funding for mental health and addiction treatment providers (Warren, Markey, Murphy) 
    • Congress must provide at least $38.5 billion in emergency funding for mental health disorder and addiction treatment providers, including community mental health centers, in the fourth COVID-19 package. (Link to letter)
  • To Vice President Pence on mental health resources (Murray)
    • The Trump administration must respond to the impacts of the coronavirus on mental health, particularly for front line and essential workers. (Link to letter)
  • To the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding their dismantling anti-discrimination protections during the COVID-19 pandemic
    • The Trump Administration’s proposed rule for implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act would roll back anti-discrimination protections for many Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS must reconsider this proposed rule. (Link to letter) 

Housing

  • To American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA) regarding a moratorium on evictions (Warren)
    • AAOA, the largest property owner association in the country, should suspend evictions and offer deferred rent payment options with no late fees for tenants not able to pay rent because of the COVID-19 outbreak. (Link to letter)
  • To HUD regarding a moratorium on evictions (Warren)
    • HUD must issue an immediate moratorium on evictions for individuals living in HUD-assisted rental housing, public housing, and for Housing Choice Voucher recipients. (Link to letter)
  • To National Rental Home Council (NRHC) regarding a moratorium on evictions (Warren)
    • NRHC must issue an immediate moratorium on all eviction proceedings in rental homes and offer deferred rent payment options with no late fees to tenants impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. (Link to letter)
  • To Congressional Leadership on ensuring that persons experiencing homelessness are considered in the stimulus package (Schatz)
    • We must do all we can to protect our most vulnerable people. (Link to letter)
  • To federal housing agencies on resources for homeowners and renters (Schatz, Brown)
    • Federal housing agencies should create a single federal resource for information on available assistance for homeowners and renters that is easily understood and broadly accessible. (Link to letter)
  • To Treasury Department on federal relief for people experiencing homelessness (Reed, Schatz)
    • The Treasury should expand automatic payments to individuals who may not file tax returns but receive other government benefit payments, such as VA disability benefits, SSI, SNAP, and Medicaid. (Link to letter)
  • To the Senate Committee on Appropriations requesting funding for USDA Rental Assistance in the next COVID-19 package (Smith)
    • We must fund USDA Rental Assistance to provide rural rental housing to low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities. (Link to letter)
  • To Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding stopping collection of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data during the COVID-19 pandemic (Cortez Masto)
    • CFPB must reverse a recent decision to stop quarterly collection of HMDA data during this public health crisis and rescind rulemaking exempting at least 100,000 lenders from reporting HMDA data. We cannot allow discrimination in lending to occur during a time when consumers are especially vulnerable (Link to letter) 

Hunger and Nutrition

  • To USDA on child nutrition program flexibilities and ensuring full funding for additional child nutrition programs (Schatz)
    • USDA needs to inform states about waivers for the Child Nutrition Program so that schools can have the flexibility to continue to provide meals to students during school closures. (Link to letter)
  • To USDA on federal purchase of dairy products for emergency distribution (Sanders, Leahy, Welch)
    • USDA should supply food banks with healthy dairy products to help combat food insecurity during these difficult times. (Link to letter)
  • To Senate leadership on addressing college student hunger in the next COVID-19 package (Harris, Warren, Murphy)
    • College students are facing unique food insecurity challenges, with the closure of resources including campus dining halls, on-campus food banks, and student jobs. (Link to letter)
  • To Senate leadership on addressing SNAP  in the next COVID-19 package (Merkley, Murphy)
    • In light of the heightened food insecurity many are facing during the coronavirus pandemic, we must increase both the monthly minimum and monthly maximum SNAP benefit and suspend the cruel rules proposed by USDA to cut eligibility. (Link to letter)
  • To USDA on food delivery for SNAP participants (Casey)
    • USDA must continue to expand online purchasing and delivery options for SNAP participants. (Link to letter)
  • To Senate leadership on SNAP work requirements for college students (Harris)
    • The Families First Act waived the SNAP work requirement for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs), but not college students. I urge Senate leadership to authorize USDA to waive the SNAP work requirement for college students in the next coronavirus relief package. (Link to letter)
  • To USDA on the impacts of the coronavirus on those living in food deserts (Klobuchar, Brown)
    • I am concerned that the coronavirus is having a disproportionate effect on individuals living in food deserts — places without easy access to a grocery store or place to buy affordable healthy foods, many of which are in rural areas, low-income neighborhoods, and communities of color. (Link to letter)
  • To USDA on delivery efforts for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program (Casey, Fischer, Murray)
    • The Farmers to Families Food Box Program has provided fresh produce, meats and dairies from farms across the country. We need to do more to ensure that these products can be delivered directly to those most in need, such as the elderly or immunocompromised, who may not be able to get to a food bank or distribution site. (Link to letter)

Immigration

  • To the President’s Coronavirus Task Force demanding DHS stop immigration enforcement activities around hospitals (Merkley)
    • DHS must not enforce the “public charge” rule for any person seeking testing or treatment for coronavirus. (Link to letter)
  • To the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on coronavirus preparedness in detention centers (Harris)
    • We need policies and procedures for preparing for and managing the spread of COVID-19 at immigration detention facilities. (Link to letter)
  • To the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) following up on the previous letter, above (Harris)
    • DHS should release low-risk and vulnerable detainees from custody to help prevent the spread of the virus. (Link to letter)
  • To President Trump strongly urging to extend work authorizations Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and other impacted immigrants (Durbin)
    • Thousands of DACA and TPS recipients are working in health care, education, and other essential industries – we must protect them as they work to protect us. (Link to letter)

Justice and Prisons

  • To Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and private prison companies about planning for outbreak in prisons (Warren)
    • BOP and private prisons must have policies and procedures to ensure the health and well-being of incarcerated individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. (BOP; GEO; CoreCivic; MTC) 
  • To Bureau of Prisons (BOP) urging to waive fees associated with phone calls for incarcerated people (Klobuchar and Durbin)
    • BOP should waive phone fees and allow unsupervised phone calls or video conferencing and emails with legal counsel until in-person visits are reinstated. (Link to letter)
  • Follow-up to Attorney General Barr and Bureau of Prisons (BOP) regarding waiving fees associated with phone calls for incarcerated people (Klobuchar and Durbin)
    • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides BOP authority to waive charges for phone calls and video teleconferencing for incarcerated people if the Attorney General deems necessary during this emergency. BOP must do this now. (Link to letter) 
  • To the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) expressing concern for the wellbeing of families who face an increased risk of domestic violence due to the coronavirus (Klobuchar)
    • Emergencies have historically led to an increase in reports of domestic abuse. ACF and OVW must take immediate action to prepare for increased incidents of domestic violence and ensure victims and survivors have access to needed services. (Link to letter)
  • To Senate Leadership regarding the urgent housing needs of sexual and domestic violence survivors (Cortez Masto)
    • Any new COVID-19 relief legislation must include further resources to address the critical housing needs of survivors. (Link to letter)  
  • To the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission regarding antitrust enforcement during the COVID-19 pandemic (Klobuchar)
    • Continued antitrust enforcement is crucial to prevent anticompetitive conduct and protect consumers during and after this public health crisis. (Link to letter) 
  • To the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) regarding demographic data on COVID-19 cases in federal prisons (Klobuchar, Durbin)
    • While BOP regularly releases data on the number of COVID-19 cases among federally incarcerated individuals and staff, it does not release demographic data. Considering the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on communities of color, BOP should include demographic data in its public reporting. (Link to letter) 
  • To the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) regarding medically vulnerable pregnant inmates during the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Pregnant incarcerated individuals are especially vulnerable during this public health crisis. BOP must immediately take steps to release or move to home confinement medically vulnerable individuals, including pregnant individuals. (Link to letter) 
  • To the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) regarding how the Juvenile Justice system has handled the COVID-19 pandemic
    • COVID-19 has spread at juvenile facilities due to the difficulty of following the Center for Disease Control’s recommended public health measures in such locations. The OJJDP should publicly share how our youth are kept safe and how facilities have prepared for COVID-19. (Link to letter)
  • To the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) regarding nationwide protests, law enforcement and COVID-19 (Baldwin, Murray, Harris)
    • Law enforcement tactics – including the use of tear gas, widespread arrests and confinement of protestors – at the Black Lives Matter protests across the United States may exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 and further worsen health disparities. As Americans exercise their constitutional right to protest, law enforcement must not contribute to the spread of COVID-19. (Link to letter)
  • To the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) regarding Attorney General Barr and the DOJ’s response to recent protests (Hirono, Van Hollen)
    • Peaceful protestors around Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. were cleared using excessive force – including tear gas or similar gas, rubber bullets, and batons – for President Trump’s photo op. The DOJ OIG must investigate Attorney General Barr and DOJ’s involvement. (Link to letter)

Labor

  • To Department of Labor to advocate for workers on coronavirus task force (Murray)
    • I am concerned about the lack of Dept. of Labor input in the Administration’s response to COVID-19. (Link to letter)
  • To President Trump on economic relief for the American worker (Warner)
    • We need an economic stimulus package focused on working Americans, their families and those who will be most hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, not on company returns. (Link to letter) 
  • To the business community (Business Roundtable, Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers) 
    • Companies should prioritize employee health and well-being by providing job security, adequate sick leave during outbreaks, flexible scheduling and work options, and financial assistance. (Link to letter) 
  • To Department of Labor on their response to COVID-19 (Murray)
    • The Dept. of Labor must protect listen to science and public health experts to protect workers and ensure the safety of their families. (Link to letter)
  • To Department of Labor on workers with disabilities (Hassan)
    • The Dept. of Labor must provide guidance on the rights of disabled and immunocompromised workers. (Link to letter)
  • To Amazon about Protecting Workers from COVID-19 (Booker)
    • I am very concerned that Amazon is not taking the necessary steps to protect its workers from COVID-19. (Link to letter)
  • To Amazon about protecting its warehouse workers (Sanders, Omar)
    • I am very concerned about Amazon’s lack of pandemic preparedness and responsiveness to worker safety needs. (Link to letter)
  • To Congressional Leadership on the airline industry (Markey)
    • Any airline industry relief package must protect airport employees and contractors. (Link to letter) 
  • To President Trump on federal employee telework (Van Hollen)
    • All telework-eligible federal workers should telework full-time, and the Administration should evaluate how to move non-eligible employees to telework as soon as possible. (Link to letter)
  • To Congressional Leadership on the impact of COVID-19 on the creative economy (Udall)
    • Congress’s response to the coronavirus should include funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and economic assistance for artists. (Link to letter)
  • To Department of Labor on distributing unemployment benefits (Schumer, Wyden, Sanders)
    • The Dept. of Labor must do everything it can to expedite the distribution of unemployment benefits to millions of Americans in desperate financial need. (Link to letter)
  • To President Trump about his Executive Order to use to Defense Production Act to keep meat processing facilities open (Brown)
    • Meat processing is one of the most dangerous industries. President Trump must amend his Executive Order so that meat processing facilities are only reopened after they have met all OSHA and CDC safety guidelines. (Link to letter)
  • To USDA about President Trump’s Executive Order to use to Defense Production Act to keep meat processing facilities open (Stabenow, Agriculture Committee)
    • I am very concerned that USDA is pressuringmeat processing facilities to operate without following CDC and OSHA guidance for worker health and safety. (Link to letter)
  • To Department of Labor on Gig Worker Misclassification (Cortez Masto)
    • The Department of Labor should clarify the eligibility of gig workers for unemployment benefits to ensure these workers receive all the benefits they deserve. (Link to letter)

Postal Service

  • To Senate Leadership regarding funding for the US Postal Service (USPS) in the next coronavirus relief package (Booker) 
    • USPS provides reliable, low-cost, critical services to all communities in America. These services may be at risk this year due to lost revenue and required pre-funding of retirement benefits (a unique requirement Congress placed on USPS). USPS must receive funding in the next coronavirus relief package to ensure continued operations during this crisis and into the future (Link to letter) 
  • To Treasury regarding President Trump’s threats to jeopardize the United States Postal Service (USPS) (Udall) 
    • President Trump has demanded postal package rate increases as a condition for a $10 billion loan, doing so for his own political purposes. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin must reject the use of such burdensome conditions – including privatization – on USPS. (Link to letter)
  • To Senate leadership regarding protections for the Postal Service and its 633,000 employees, including nearly 100,000 veterans
    • The Postal Service provides good-paying jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans, it is the largest employer of veterans, and it will be crucial to our recovery after this public health crisis. Congress must provide funding to support these veterans and the Postal Service as a whole. (Link to letter) 

Puerto Rico

  • To FEMA on preparation for hurricane season in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (Schumer)
    • Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, as well as past hurricanes and earthquakes. FEMA must be prepared for the upcoming hurricane season to ensure American safety. (Link to letter)

Science

  • To the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on scientific information (Markey)
    • We need apolitical and unbiased information available to the American public, and state and local leaders, on COVID-19. (Link to letter)

Seniors

  • To Vice President Pence regarding access for home and community based services (Casey, Aging Committee)
    • Seniors and people with disabilities must continue to receive critical services like home-delivered meals. Home care workers must have personal protective equipment and training. (Link to letter)
  • To Vice President Pence regarding coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes (Casey, Aging Committee)
    • We have a duty to protect nursing home residents, workers, and their families. (Link to letter)
  • To Vice President Pence regarding accessibility of government communications about coronavirus (Casey, Aging Committee)
    • Important public health messages must be available to everyone, including those with disabilities or limited English proficiency. (Link to letter)
  • To FTC regarding protecting seniors from coronavirus scams (Klobuchar)
    • The FTC must protect seniors from scammers claiming to supply fake tests and other fraudulent services in exchange for personal information. (Link to letter)
  • To President Trump on stopping proposed rules and regulations that would hard seniors and people with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis (Casey, Aging Committee)
    • The Trump Administration must put a halt to proposed and developing rules and regulations that target Medicaid, Social Security, and SNAP. (Link to letter)

Taxes

  • To IRS requesting a 90-day extension to the tax filing deadline (Murphy) 
    • The tax filing deadline should be extended to July 15 to make sure everyone has time to complete their taxes properly. (Link to letter)
  • To Treasury Department and Social Security Administration on ensuring everyone in need receives economic stimulus payments (Hassan, Brown)
    • I was concerned that seniors, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable people who do not usually file tax returns would need to in order to receive much-needed payments. Following calls from the Senators, I am pleased the Treasury Department announced that Social Security recipients will automatically receive direct cash assistance included in the CARES Act without having to file tax returns. (Link to letter)
  • To Treasury, Veterans Affairs and Social Security Administration regarding automatic checks for beneficiaries (Brown, Hassan, Bennett, Booker)
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Affairs (VA) beneficiaries should automatically receive stimulus checks without needing to file a federal income tax return (Link to letter)  
  • To Treasury Department and Social Security Administration regarding dependent stimulus payments for Social Security recipients (Hassan, Brown, Bennet, Booker) 
    • The Treasury recently gave Social Security recipients who do not need to file tax returns 48 hours to provide the IRS additional information in order to receive their $500 payment per dependent child. Treasury must find another way to ensure non-filers receive the payments they are owed; they should not need to wait until 2021 (Link to letter). 
  • To Treasury Department regarding lost revenue for state and local governments (Reed)
    • Lost and delayed revenues are clearly a direct cost of the COVID-19 pandemic. States, Tribes and localities need urgent assistance, and Treasury must confirm that CARES Act funding may be used to replace these lost revenues. (Link to letter)
  • To Treasury regarding Economic Impact Payments for vulnerable populations (Durbin)
    • Treasury must ensure Economic Impact Payments reach the most vulnerable Americans, especially those without internet access. (Link to letter) 
  • To Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding delays in Vermonters receiving Economic Impact Payments (Sanders, Leahy, Welch)
    • The Vermont delegation has heard from many Vermonters who have not yet received their Economic Impact Payments. While we recognize that Treasury and the IRS face a great challenge in sending these payments to so many Americans, they must also provide clear guidance and ensure that individuals and families receive the full amounts they are owed. (Link to letter)
  • To the Department of Education and the Treasury Department regarding the seizure of tax refunds from student loan borrowers (Wyden, Murray)
    • While the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act made clear that all collections on federally-held defaulted student loans must be suspended until September 30, 2020, collections have continued. We requested information regarding the Education and Treasury Departments’ implementation of Congress’ mandate under the CARES Act to stop offsetting federal and state tax refunds to pay defaulted student loans. (Link to letter) 
  • To Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell regarding state and local funding (Feinstein)
    • State and local governments have experienced sharp drops in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senate must provide aid to state and local governments before July 1, when the new fiscal year begins for most states. (Link to letter) 
  • To the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding Economic Impact Payments for domestic violence survivors (Cortez Masto)
    • The Economic Impact Payments authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act have been a lifeline to millions of Americans, but survivors of domestic violence face significant barriers to accessing their funds. The Treasury and the IRS should take action to ensure survivors receive their rebates. (Link to letter)

Telecoms 

  • To Internet Service Providers (ISPs) on suspending broadband data caps (Warner)
    • ISPs must suspend broadband data caps and other associated fees as an unprecedented amount of Americans move to telework and online education/distance learning. (Link to letter) 
  • To companies that participate in the Federal Lifeline service program, which offers free calls, text, and cellular internet service to low-income Americans (Wyden)
    • Lifeline providers should increase the monthly data quota, and permit the use of the Wi-Fi hotspot feature, so that children provided with school laptops or tablets can use Lifeline phone service to do their schoolwork. (Link to letter)
  • To Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Lifeline program eligibility (Klobuchar)
    • The FCC should work with USDA and HHS to ensure that Americans who are eligible for SNAP and Medicaid are informed that they are also eligible for the Lifeline program. (Link to letter)
  • To Senate Leadership on digital-native news organizations (Kaine, Gillibrand)
    • Americans must have access to reliable sources of information – such as broadcast television, newspapers, and radio – during the coronavirus. The next coronavirus stimulus package should include digital-native news payroll support for workers to ensure the survival of news organizations. (Link to letter)

Transportation

  • To airline CEOS on cash refunds (Markey, Blumenthal, Warren) 
    • Airlines should issue full cash refunds to all customers who cancel their flights during the COVID-19 crisis, and to American citizens who encounter flight cancellations while stranded in countries that implemented travel restrictions. (Link to letter)
  • To the Federal Transit Administration on protecting transit workers (Peters)
    • Transit agencies should receive federal support to provide personal protective equipment and ensure worker safety. (Link to letter)

Tribal Issues

  • To Vice President Pence on including Indian Health Service and tribal leaders in coronavirus planning (Udall)
    • An IHS representative should serve on the Administration’s COVID-19 taskforce to provide tribal leaders with the same information that is provided to their state and local counterparts. (Link to letter)
  • To the Department of the Treasury and the Department of the Interior (DOI) on relief to tribal to governments (Smith)
    • Treasury and DOI must immediately distribute the $8 billion in coronavirus relief funding allocated for tribal governments. (Link to letter)
  • To Senate Leadership on Indian Health Service (IHS) funding (Harris)
    • Congress should appropriate funding for IHS, Tribal Health Programs, and Urban Indian Organizations to make up for lost revenue from private and public insurance during the coronavirus pandemic. (Link to letter)
  • To Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tribal Broadband (Heinrich)
    • The FCC should extend the 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window to give tribal communities more time to apply for this broadband coverage. (Link to letter)
  • To Senate Leadership on Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) (Smith, Cramer)
    • Given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on tribal communities, the next coronavirus stimulus package should include funding for TCUs. 
  • To Department of Interior and Department of Education on funding for Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) (Udall, Murray)
    • I am very concerned that CARES Act funding has not yet been allocated to BIE, and the effect this will have on educational disparities in tribal communities. (Link to letter)

Veterans

  • To VA on coronavirus follow-up (Senate Veterans Affairs Committee)
    • The VA must protect veterans, especially now that the outbreak has expanded nationwide. (Link to letter)
  • To VA on testing homeless veterans for coronavirus (Tester)
    • The VA must do more to help veterans by testing all homeless veterans in shelters for COVID-19. (Link to letter)

Bills

Agriculture

  • Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act (Gillibrand)
    • Provides debt relief to small farmers during the coronavirus pandemic. (Link to bill)

Business

  • A bill to require companies that accept COVID-19-related bailout funding to put workers on boards and discontinue stock buybacks (Baldwin) 
    • Bans public companies that receive economic stimulus support from doing stock buybacks and requires them to let rank-and-file employees elect 1/3 of company board members. (Link to bill) 

Civil Rights and Liberties 

  • A resolution condemning anti-Asian racism prompted by COVID-19 (Harris, Duckworth, Hirono) 
    • Individuals of Asian descent are facing growing anti-Asian racism and stigmatization. This resolution recognizes the critical contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during this crisis and calls for denunciation of this racism. (Link to resolution) 
  • COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force Act (Harris) 
    • Establishes an interagency task force at Health and Human Services (HHS) to gather data and feedback on racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 infections and treatments and work to address these disparities. (Link to bill) 

 

Defense

  • National Guard COVID-19 Response Stability Act (Van Hollen, Duckworth)
    • Ensures that National Guard members activated in response to COVID-19 receive additional benefits. Extends Title 32 authority so that the federal government continues to cover all of the costs of coronavirus-related activation until the end of the Public Health Emergency declared by the Secretary of HHS, plus an additional 30 days. (Link to press release)

Elections

  • Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act (Klobuchar, Wyden)
    • Requires States to establish contingency plans for the conduct of elections for Federal office in response to national disasters and emergencies, and for other purposes. (Link to bill)

Energy

  • A bill to eliminate DOI’s authority to lower or eliminate royalty rates for fossil fuel leases (Merkley)
    • Removes the potential avenues the Trump administration could use for their proposed bailout of the fossil fuel industry. (Link to bill)

Families & Children

  • All Dependents Count Act (Smith) 
    • Extends eligibility for the $500 dependent credit from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to 17- and 18-year olds, college students, and adult dependents. (Link to bill) 
  • Child Care is Essential Act (Murray)
    • Provides $50 million to help child care providers, many of whom were gravely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, stay in business. (Link to bill fact sheet) 

Food/Nutrition

  • Closing the Meal Gap Act (Harris)
    • In light of increased food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic, requires that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits be calculated based on the low-cost food plan. (Link to bill)

Health Care

  • Health Care Workers Protection Act (Duckworth)
    • Issues a standard for employers to set necessary infectious disease control procedures to protect health care and other at-risk workers. (Link to bill)
  • Free COVID-19 Testing Act (Smith, Peters) (full caucus bill)
    • Waives cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and related health care services for private health plans, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, VA, federal employees, American Indians and Alaska Natives. (Link to bill)
  • Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act (Baldwin/Murphy) 
    • Requires the President to fully utilize the Defense Production Act to manufacture and distribute much-needed medical supplies. (Link to press release)
  • Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act (Warren) 
    • Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to issue demographic breakdowns of COVID-19 testing, treatment, and fatalities, and creates a commission to study COVID-19 disparities. (Link to press release) 
  • Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act (Sanders)
    • Eliminates out-of-pocket health care expenses during the coronavirus pandemic. Empowers Medicare to pay all treatment costs for the uninsured and all co-pays and deductibles for the insured. (Link to bill)

Immigration

  • Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act (Hirono, Harris)
    • The bill ensures free COVID-19, testing and treatment, regardless of immigration status, suspends the public charge rule and in-person ICE checks, allocates funding for the CDC to provide outreach to those with disabilities or limited English proficiency, and extends nutrition assistance through the Disaster SNAP program, among other initiatives. (Link to bill)

Justice and Prisons

  • Emergency Community Supervision Act (Booker) 
    • Immediately places those who are most susceptible to COVID-19 including those who are pregnant, have underlying health conditions, and are age 50 or older into community supervision outside of prison until after this national emergency is over. (Link to bill)  

Labor

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act (Wyden)
    • Provides unemployment insurance to workers affected by COVID-19. (Link to bill)
  • Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act (Murray)
    • Requires employers to provide a minimum of 7 days of paid sick leave, with an additional 14 days during declared public health emergencies. (Link to bill)
  • Preventing Layoffs During a Public Health Emergency Act of 2020 (Reed)
    • Provides federal financing for work sharing programs, which would allow businesses, when faced with the need to temporarily downsize, to reduce work hours across the board for all workers instead of laying off a smaller number of workers. (Link to bill)
  • Job Protection for Quarantined Individuals Act of 2020 (Smith)
    • Prohibits employers penalizing quarantined employees during a declared public health emergency. (Link to bill)
  • Layoff Prevention Act (Reed)
    • Provides temporary funding for short-time compensation (Link to bill)
  • Providing Americans Insured Days of Leave (PAID Leave) Act (Murray)
    • Gives workers 14 sick days and 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. Reimburses employers for paid sick days and leave in 2020 and 2021. (Link to bill)
  • Protecting Collective Bargaining and Official Time for Federal Workers Act 
    • Nullifies Trump administration executive orders that undermine the collective bargaining rights of federal workers. (Link to bill)
  • Every Worker Protection Act (Baldwin, HELP Committee)
    • Requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to protect workers from coronavirus. Protects workers against employer retaliation for using own personal protective equipment (PPE) or reporting insufficient infection control practices. (Link to press release)
  • Paycheck Security Act (Sanders, Warner, Jones, Blumenthal)
    • Requires the government to guarantee 100 percent of the paychecks and benefits of American workers at businesses and nonprofits affected by the coronavirus pandemic, at up to $90,000 per worker. (Link to bill)
  • FARM (Frontline At-Risk Manual) Laborers Protection Act (Merkley)
  • Requires recipients of future agricultural COVID-19 funding to provide workers with sick pay and pandemic premium pay, as well as implement sanitation and social distancing protocols. The bill provides grants to these agricultural producers to help provide premium pay and buy public health equipment such as handwashing stations and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). (Link to bill summary)

Oversight

  • Coronavirus Oversight and Recovery Ethics (CORE) Act (Warren, Blumenthal, Coons)
    • Institutes stronger oversight, accountability, transparency, ethics, and anti-corruption provisions on Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding. (Link to bill) 
  • COVID-19 Whistleblower Protection Act (Harris) 
    • Ensures whistleblower protections for people who expose misuse of government funds intended to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. (Link to bill)

Seniors

  • COVID-19 Relief for Seniors and People with Disabilities Act (Casey)
    • Provides funding to help low-income seniors pay their Medicare premiums and cost sharing and helps states increase access to and address waitlists for Medicaid home and community-based services. It provides funding for Older Americans Act programs, including nutrition programs and expanding eligibility for home-delivered meals. Finally, it provides funding to increase wages and provide paid leave for home health and direct care workers. (Link to bill)

Telecoms 

  • Emergency Broadband Connections Act (Wyden, Blumenthal)
    • Provides free or low-cost broadband internet to low-income individuals and those who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. The bill also improves upon the preexisting FCC Lifeline program, which offers free calls, text, and cellular internet service to low-income Americans. (Link to bill summary)

Tribal Issues

  • Tribal COVID-19 Disaster Assistance Cost Share Relief Act (Heinrich, Udall)
    • Eliminates the non-federal cost share for emergency protective measures taken by tribal governments in response to COVID-19. Currently the non-federal cost share for states and tribal governments is 25%, but during past emergencies this has been waived in the past for states and reduced for tribes. (Link to press release)