@MyKitchenTable: Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Ahead of the 4th of July holiday, Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Independence Day: freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”
Another full day in Washington and a number of new developments.
First, Pfizer, who is working in tandem with BioNTech, announced today encouraging news on the vaccine front. Early trial results show that the experimental vaccine generated immune responses to the virus and there were no life-threatening side effects, which you can read more about HERE. We heard from Pfizer that they hope to be able to manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and potentially more than 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021.
Earlier today I participated in a No Labels/Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC) call with Sen. Tim Scott, who introduced the Justice Act in the Senate but had it blocked from even coming to the floor for debate let alone a vote. We are all trying to salvage a bipartisan police reform package – we have to get something done. Last week I did vote for the House police reform package, which passed 236-181. I supported a number of reforms included in the package and thought it was important to move forward in order to keep the conversation going. I am certainly opposed to the Qualified Immunity provision in the bill as is, which would truly hinder law enforcement’s ability to train and recruit good officers. But I believe we can fix that QI provision and consequently pass a bipartisan bill. The Washington Post reported today that some of the country’s top CEOs who are part of the Business Roundtable (BRT) have endorsed calls for police reform, including ending chokeholds, a national police misconduct registry, and other changes, which you can read HERE.
The National Journal reported this morning that our schools are facing steep budget cuts, which you can read HERE. Lawmakers in state capitals across the country are slashing their budgets because of a loss in revenue from the COVID-19 crisis. In response, I helped introduce the bipartisan State and Municipal Aid for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Fund Act. This legislation would provide $500 billion in emergency funding to every state, county, and community in the country to help keep essential workers on the payroll and Michigan residents safe. I hope to see this legislation move as part of the next COVID relief package later this month.
Today, Rep. Clyburn and I also reintroduced our bicameral, bipartisan rural broadband legislation with about 20 cosponsors – H.R. 7447 – and hope it is part of the COVID relief package later this month. With students taking classes at home, patients using telehealth services at home, and folks working from home, access to quality broadband is needed now more than ever, especially in rural areas. Stay tuned for developments.
A few additional notes:
- HHS announced it will extend its partnership with CVS, Rite Aid, Quest (through services at Walmart) and eTrueNorth (through services at Kroger, Health Mart, and Walmart) to provide community-based testing. This partnership has scaled up to more than 600 COVID-19 testing sites in 48 states and the District of Columbia, which you can learn more about HERE.
- NIH posted a blog saying that while nearly everyone who recovers from COVID-19 produces antibodies that specifically target SARS-CoV-2, many critical questions remain. A new NIH found that while most people produced antibodies that can effectively neutralize SARS-CoV-2, 99 percent of the study’s participants did not make enough neutralizing antibodies to mount an ideal immune response. You can read more HERE.
- Today, Governor Whitmer signed a bill providing nearly $880 million in federal funding to support various COVID-19 response actions across the state. The supplemental budget includes a number of provisions that assist Michigan in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, which you can read more about HERE.
- The FDA released guidance to help facilitate the timely development of safe and effective vaccines to prevent COVID-19. The guidance provides an overview of key considerations to satisfy requirements for chemistry, manufacturing and control, nonclinical and clinical data through development and licensure, and for post-licensure safety evaluation. You can read more HERE.
This upcoming weekend is the 4th of July holiday. It’s no secret that Independence Day is going to look a little different this year, but wherever you are and whatever you do, please be safe. Wear your masks!!!! If you’d like to submit photos from your 4th of July or what your masks look like, we’d love to see them. You can submit them HERE. TY.
Stay safe and God bless,