WASHINGTON (KTVZ) -- Here are several news COVID-19-related news releases issued Monday and Tuesday by Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.:
Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Monday released the following statement proposing automatic triggers to preserve the extension of unemployment insurance benefits:
“The Congressional Budget Office has projected that the U.S. unemployment rate could remain at 9.5 percent at the end of 2021 without sufficient economic stimulus now. This would represent an unprecedented and unnecessary level of financial pain and suffering for the American people.
“Republican calls for austerity also increased last week, with Leader McConnell calling for states to go bankrupt and lay off cops and teachers. He is largely supported by the Republican caucus. The same Republican senators who happily voted for the nearly $2 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations when unemployment was low are now clutching their pearls over a deficit needed to address actual economic strife.
“Democrats cannot allow Republicans to run their cronyism-laced playbook and prolong economic pain for millions of Americans for their own political purposes. Nor should we allow them to hold American workers hostage by not supporting another penny of economic stimulus if Donald Trump loses the election.
“The next COVID-19 relief bill needs to make sure our unemployment insurance system continues to support workers and the economy throughout this crisis, not just the next few months. That means triggering extensions of benefits based on specific rates of unemployment instead of arbitrary timelines, bringing gig workers and others into the system permanently, and increasing traditional unemployment benefits to an appropriate level.
“Whether Americans who are struggling to keep food on the table get the help they deserve should not depend on the short-term political calculations of Mitch McConnell.”
Wyden: New SBA Guidance Will Help Oregon’s Rural Health Districts, Tribes and Employee-owned Businesses Get COVID-19 Economic Aid
As ranking member of the Finance Committee, senator welcomes expanded PPP access he sought
Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said today that new guidance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) on who can participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will help rural health district hospitals, tribes and employee-owned businesses in Oregon and nationwide.
As ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Wyden had advocated strongly for the SBA to make those much-needed clarifications that will expand the PPP to include qualifying rural medical providers, tribal casinos and employee-owned businesses.
“Oregon needs the fullest possible access to economic lifelines Congress wrote into law for the Small Business Administration to offer during this public health crisis,” Wyden said.
“More needs to be done on all fronts and I won’t stop working to expand the Paycheck Protection Program to reach its fullest potential for small businesses,” he said, “but am gratified that my advocacy for rural health providers, tribes and employee-owned businesses will help these job generators statewide.”
“Thanks goes to Senator Wyden and his team in working hard to get the right language in place which allows Critical Access Hospital Districts to qualify for the PPP program,” said Bob Houser, CEO of Morrow County Health District/Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Heppner. ”This rule change took a lot of persistence and was extremely important in the survival of Oregon’s District CAHs.”
Additional details about the latest SBA guidance on what’s eligible for PPP are here.
Wyden, Merkley Call for Establishing 9-8-8 Suicide Hotline in Next COVID-19 Relief Package
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today urged that the next COVID-19 relief package include bipartisan legislation designating 9-8-8 as the three-digit number for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline.
“The creation of this three-digit dialing code is essential in order to address the growing suicide crisis across the United States,” Wyden and Merkley wrote in a letter with more than 20 colleagues from both parties to congressional leadership. “As our country is facing an unprecedented challenge in responding to COVID-19, this three-digit hotline would play a critical role in saving the lives of many vulnerable Americans who are facing mental health emergencies during this period of isolation and uncertainty.
“Suicide does not discriminate between rural and urban areas or by income, and it causes heartbreak and loss in communities in every single one of our states,” they wrote. “We must ensure that we are doing everything we can to prevent these devastating outcomes from occurring, especially in these trying times as grief and uncertainty encompass our nation.”
The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act designating 9-8-8 as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline would include the Veterans Crisis Line for veteran-specific mental health support. The bill also includes a report to improve support services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and other high-risk populations.
The statewide “Breaking the Silence” reporting project last year in Oregon found suicide kills more than 800 Oregonians a year and that suicide rates in the state and across the country have steadily increased since 2000.
Amid those deeply troubling statistics about suicide in Oregon and nationwide, Wyden and Merkley have been long-time advocates of setting aside a three-digit number for people facing a mental health crisis and considering suicide. Merkley last week led a bipartisan effort to push Senate leadership to provide $80 million in supplemental funding for the lifeline in order to respond to increased call volume and to expand capacity.
A copy of the April 27 letter signed by 22 other senators is here.
Merkley, Wyden Announce “Hardest Hit” Funds Will Be Available to Help Oregonians with Coronavirus Housing Relief
Senators continuing to push administration to enable Oregon to use funding to cover administrative funding shortfall
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that the U.S. Treasury Department will allow Oregon to use funding from its Hardest Hit fund to assist Oregonians facing housing challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, these programs were set to expire on April 30, 2020.
The Hardest Hit fund was created during the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis for states, like Oregon, that were the most severely impacted by the decline in the housing market. Hardest Hit enabled states to offer direct assistance to families, such as help with mortgage payments or affordable refinancing, to keep families in their homes.
The new decision by the Treasury Department does not yet allow Oregon to tap into $25 million in leftover reserves to help fund the administrative costs of the program, and the senators emphasized that they would keep pushing the Treasury Department on this point.
“Oregonians are facing an unprecedented and dire economic cliff due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Merkley. “At a time when Oregonians are being urged to stay at home, it’s more important than ever that families living on the financial edge right now are able to keep their homes and have a safe place to shelter. It’s a huge victory that these successful Hardest Hit programs will be able to ramp back up to help families during the pandemic, and I hope Treasury will follow suit soon with an additional decision that will give Oregon the flexibility they need to help fund the administration of this badly-needed assistance.”
“The always-important job of making sure the federal government is working to help Oregon becomes magnified when a historic public health crisis is creating such huge financial challenges for families throughout our state,” Wyden said. “Keeping Oregonians safe in their homes is a top priority during COVID-19. I am glad this significant win has been achieved so the Hardest Hit fund can help Oregon families, and I won’t stop pressing the administration until it lets Oregon employ the fund to its fullest potential.”
As Oregonians have faced sudden and severe economic impacts from the coronavirus pandemic, Merkley and Wyden have pushed the Treasury Department to enable Oregon to continue its Hardest Hit programs to assist during these tough times. Merkley personally called Treasury Department officials to push for an extension, and Wyden and Merkley wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin supporting the state’s request to extend the program.
The state’s Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative (OHSI) has already helped more than 14,000 homeowners avoid foreclosure since 2011. Because the program’s funds are returned as participants pay down their loans, sell, or refinance, OHSI still has $25 million in available program funds.
MERKLEY, WYDEN, COLLEAGUES URGE ADMINISTRATION TO TAKE ACTION TO ENSURE PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) FUNDS REACH SMALL BUSINESSES
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with 20 of their colleagues, are pushing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza to develop strong supervisory mechanisms to identify instances of unjust enrichment and ensure that the just-passed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding actually reaches struggling small businesses who truly need the money.
The senators’ letter comes amid recent reports indicating that the initial distribution of $350 billion in funding to the program was not limited to struggling small businesses and has boosted owners whose businesses have not been subject severe financial strain—crowding out more deserving applicants from assistance.
“As small business owners await distribution of the additional funding provided for the program in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, it is critical that the funding provided by Congress be used to provide loans to the businesses whose owners and employees’ livelihoods are truly at risk as a result of the pandemic. Unfortunately, reports indicate that the distribution of the initial round of funding was not limited to struggling small businesses who truly needed the money to remain in operation,” the senators wrote.
“For these reasons, we urge you to develop strong supervisory mechanisms to identify instances of unjust enrichment,” the senators continued. “This is not just a matter of rooting out fraud and abuse—the funding for this program, which we support, is necessarily finite. Every loan that provides a windfall for an applicant who does not truly need it results in one fewer loan made to a struggling small business owner whose employees could be truly helped by this funding.”
This letter follows disturbing reports that major companies, including national restaurant and hotel chains valued at billions of dollars, were able to access PPP loans while many small and independent businesses were shut out. While some of these businesses have agreed to return their loan funding under pressure, many others have not.
Today’s letter is the most recent of a series of steps by Senator Merkley to press the Trump administration to put the interests of small business owners, workers, trade organizations, and unions above the wish lists of massive corporations with deep pockets and lobbying budgets. Previously, Merkley shared concerns he heard from small businesses across Oregon regarding the accessibility of emergency assistance with Secretary Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Carranza, and demanded that the SBA immediately fix a number of specific PPP implementation problems; including the prioritization of bigger, more lucrative customers for priority access to the program, and the need to clarify eligibility information for community hospitals and other critical groups.
Merkley and Wyden were joined in sending today’s letter by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Patrick Leahy Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
The full text of the senators’ letter is available here and follows below.
Secretary Mnuchin and Administrator Carranza:
We write to request information on what your agencies are doing to ensure that funds made available to small business owners through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) are reaching small business owners who need the assistance most in light of the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic—and on what actions your agencies are taking to prevent these funds from unjustly enriching investors and others whose businesses are not in need of the same relief.
Small businesses and their workers are under incredible stress right now, and we must continue to do everything in our power to help them stay in business and keep their workers employed. By providing up to $10 million in loans to eligible small business borrowers—with the loan size tied to monthly payroll and loan forgiveness granted when the proceeds are used primarily to retain or rehire workers—the Paycheck Protection Program was intended to infuse cash directly into the hands of small business owners to help them and their employees weather the current economic crisis.
As small business owners await distribution of the additional funding provided for the program in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, it is critical that the funding provided by Congress be used to provide loans to the businesses whose owners and employees’ livelihoods are truly at risk as a result of the pandemic. Unfortunately, reports indicate that the distribution of the initial round of funding was not limited to struggling small businesses who truly needed the money to remain in operation.
Instead, some of this funding was reportedly granted to further the enrichment of owners whose businesses have not been subjected to the financial strain facing most small businesses at this time. During the initial weeks that the program was in place, loan recipients included several hedge funds whose headcount falls well under the 500 employee limit set by the Small Business Administration—but whose annual revenues and incomes render them the opposite of “small.” For these applicants and others who did not meet the criteria of financial need, the funding provided by PPP is simply a windfall—yet their participation in this program crowds out truly deserving applicants whose lack of sophistication and relationships with lenders may have delayed their ability to submit PPP applications.
The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to reach small business owners who truly need the funding. For this reason, as part of the loan process, each small business owner seeking funding must “certify in good faith” that “[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.” Under the terms of the lender guidance, “[l]enders are permitted to rely on borrower certifications,” including the certification that the borrower actually needs the money to support ongoing operations.
Although this type of self-certification facilitates the rapid distribution of funding in the face of an extraordinary economic challenge, there must be measures in place to reclaim funding provided to owners and investors whose certifications turn out to be inaccurate, if not deliberately fraudulent.
For these reasons, we urge you to develop strong supervisory mechanisms to identify instances of unjust enrichment. This is not just a matter of rooting out fraud and abuse—the funding for this program, which we support, is necessarily finite. Every loan that provides a windfall for an applicant who does not truly need it results in one fewer loan made to a struggling small business owner whose employees could be truly helped by this funding.
The guidance your agencies issued on April 23, 2020 creates a new safe harbor for ineligible businesses to return loan proceeds to avoid further scrutiny and confirms the fact that large public companies with access to capital markets are “unlikely” to meet the eligibility requirements of the program.Similarly, the guidance your agencies issued on April 24, 2020 makes it clear that hedge funds and private equity firms are “ineligible to receive a PPP loan.” Unfortunately, this new guidance also underscores the agencies’ continued reliance on the “good faith” of Applicants—who are simply reminded to “carefully review” the certification—and does not indicate any forthcoming changes in program administration or supervision that might address the underlying problem or serve as a check on applications submitted by small businesses that clearly do not satisfy the eligibility criteria.
Given the seriousness of this matter, we ask that you provide answers to the following questions:
- In addition to considering an Applicant’s status as a large public company, hedge fund, or private equity firm, what measures are your agencies taking to identify indicators of unjust enrichment that suggest an Applicant does not meet the criteria for economic need?
- Will you commit to transparency measures that provide the public with information to assess the propriety of funding distributed under the Paycheck Protection Program?
- If your agencies identify evidence that Applicants have secured funding in connection with economic conditions that render the loan truly unnecessary, resulting in unjust enrichment of the Applicant, will you commit to taking immediate action in response?
We thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Wyden, Merkley Blast Defense Secretary Esper Over DoD's Failure to Adequately Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic
Slow and Disjointed Response to Outbreak Has Put Servicemembers at Risk, Undermined Readiness and Morale
Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today expressed grave concern with the Department of Defense's (DoD) failure to adequately respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Civilian leadership of the Department has failed to act sufficiently quickly, and has often prioritized readiness at the expense of the health of servicemembers and their families," Wyden and Merkley wrote with eight other senators in a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper. "This failure has adversely affected morale, and, despite the Department's best intentions, undermined readiness."
In their letter, the senators outlined DoD's slow and disjointed response to the COVID-19 pandemic, putting servicemembers at risk and undermining military readiness. The senators criticized Secretary Esper for his unwillingness or inability to issue clear, Department-wide guidance, which has forced the armed services and local commanders to respond to outbreaks on a case-by-case basis. While some commanders have recognized the seriousness of the pandemic and taken aggressive action to prevent the spread of the virus within their commands, others reacted differently or were possibly prevented from taking a more proactive approach. The senators cited the outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt as the most prominent example of these failures.
"Military families are expected to make remarkable sacrifices under ordinary circumstances, but this crisis is putting an enormous strain on the force—a strain made worse by your disjointed and installation-dependent approach to issuing guidance," the senators continued.
The senators also raised concerns about the DoD's continued deployment of active duty servicemembers to the southern border; recent comments by Secretary Esper that suggest a continued misunderstanding of the nature of and risks from COVID-19; and DoD's decision not to share installation-specific COVID-19 outbreak and infection information.
"Immediate and aggressive guidance—from the top—is necessary to protect the health, morale, and readiness of servicemembers and their families," the senators wrote. "You can and must do better and we hope that you will act quickly in this regard."
To address their concerns, the senators asked Secretary Esper to answer a series of questions about DoD's strategy for addressing the pandemic and requested a response to their inquiry by May 11, 2020.
Joining Wyden and Merkley on the letter were U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Kamala D. Harris, D-Calif., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Ed Markey, D-Mass.
A copy of the letter is available here.
MERKLEY LEADS PUSH FOR SENATE LEADERSHIP TO INVEST IN NURSING WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS, INCLUDING LOAN REPAYMENT
Nurses have long provided critical care and play an invaluable role in the nation’s pandemic response
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley today led a group of ten of his colleagues in urging Senate leadership to include critical support for America’s nursing workforce in upcoming coronavirus relief legislation.
Specifically, the senators requested in their letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that at least $15 billion in supplemental funding be allotted for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs—including at least $5 billion specifically for the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment and Scholarship programs.
“For over five decades, the Title VIII programs have been helping to educate and retain our America’s nursing workforce. These programs bolster nursing education at all levels, from entry-level preparation through graduate study, and support academic institutions and the nurse faculty who prepare today’s nursing students to be tomorrow’s expert clinicians,” the senators wrote. “Now, more than ever, it is imperative to invest in our nursing workforce. An investment in our nursing workforce today is a commitment to America’s health now and into the future.”
Title VIII programs are designed to maintain a strong nursing workforce that meets current demands and is prepared to address future public health needs, and include the Advanced Nursing Education program; Nursing Workforce Diversity program; Nurse Education, Practice, Quality, and Retention program; Nurse Faculty Loan program; and Nurse Corps Loan Repayment and Scholarship programs.
Senator Merkley, who is the husband of a nurse and the co-chair of the Senate Nursing Caucus, has long championed Title VIII programs in the Senate, and teamed up with Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to introduce the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019, which unanimously passed out of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in October of last year and became law after it was included in the recently passed CARES Act.
Senator Merkley was joined in sending today’s letter by U.S. Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
The full text of the letter is available here and follows below.
Thank you for your bipartisan work in passing H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. We are especially grateful that the bill included the reauthorization of the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs (S.1399).
For over five decades, the Title VIII programs have been helping to educate and retain our America’s nursing workforce. These programs bolster nursing education at all levels, from entry-level preparation through graduate study, and support academic institutions and the nurse faculty who prepare today’s nursing students to be tomorrow’s expert clinicians. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to invest in our nursing workforce. An investment in our nursing workforce today is a commitment to America’s health now and into the future.
As you begin work on the next COVID-19 relief bill, we strongly urge you to include the following priorities in further legislative packages to address this public health crisis:
Invest in Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs. Title VIII programs connect patients with nursing care across a variety of settings, including community health centers, hospitals, and schools of nursing. We therefore request not less than $15 billion in supplemental funding to be allocated for all Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs, including at least $5 billion specifically for the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment and Scholarship programs, which shall remain available until expended. Title VIII programs include Advanced Nursing Education program; Nursing Workforce Diversity program; Nurse Education, Practice, Quality, and Retention program; Nurse Faculty Loan program; and Nurse Corps Loan Repayment and Scholarship programs. This supplemental funding will ensure the nursing workforce remains strong and able to meet the current demands brought by this pandemic, as well as future nursing education and workforce demands as well.
Thank you for your consideration of this request, and we look forward to working with you as we consider legislation to respond to the current public health crisis.
Wyden Urges McConnell to Make Oversight of COVID-19 Relief Efforts a Priority
Washington, D.C. – As the Senate heads back into session next week, Senate Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today joined his colleagues to urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to make COVID-19 related matters and oversight of all COVID-related legislation the Senate’s focus.
Despite the severity of the COVID-19 public health and economic emergencies, no legislative or committee business related to the COVID-19 public health and economic emergencies has been scheduled. The senators request a series of hearings for next week—to be undertaken in the safest possible environment as recommended by health officials—on the following:
- the nation’s testing capabilities
- the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- the Treasury and Federal Reserve’s Lending Facilities
- the best ways to protect the health and safety of our frontline workers
- the CARES Act’s Unemployment Insurance provisions
- confirmation of appointees to the bipartisan Congressional Oversight Commission
Wyden and the other Ranking Members of the Senate will also request a series of oversight hearings throughout the Senate Committees of jurisdiction as follow-up to the senators’ letter.
In addition to Wyden, the letter was signed by U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Ben Cardin, D-Md., Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Assistant Democratic Leader Patty Murray, D-Wash., Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Senate Committee on Appropriations Ranking Member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Senate Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Senate Committee on Armed Services Ranking Member Jack Reed, D-R.I., Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Tom Carper, D-Del., Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Ranking Member Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Senate Committee on Budget Ranking Member Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., Senate Committee on Aging Ranking Member Bob Casey, D-Pa., Senate Rules Committee Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester, D-Mont., Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Vice Chairman Tom Udall, D-N.M., Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ranking Member Gary Peters, D-Mich.
Wyden and his colleagues’ letter to Leader McConnell is available below:
April 28th, 2020
Dear Leader McConnell:
The Senate is currently scheduled to return to session on May 4th, 2020 to debate non-COVID related nominations. There is currently no scheduled legislative or committee business related to the COVID-19 public health and economic emergencies.
Pursuant to your decision to convene the Senate during the week of May 4th, despite the public health emergency in Washington, D.C., we respectfully urge you to have the Senate focus on COVID-19 related matters and oversight of all COVID-related legislation enacted by Congress. With respect to any Committee hearing, we also urge the Senate Leader to take strong actions to ensure the hearings are conducted in the safest environment possible, by requiring the Office of the Attending Physician to develop uniform standards on protecting the public health of Senators, employees, and witnesses for each Committee to follow, and charging the appropriate Senate support agency with assisting committees in implementing the guidance when necessary.
We believe the Senate should immediately consider next week:
- A public hearing with Administration officials and industry leaders and experts regarding our testing capabilities and capacity, and implementation of the requirement of zero out of pocket cost testing for all populations.
- A public hearing regarding the implementation of and access to the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program with the Small Business Administration Administrator Carranza.
- A public hearing regarding the implementation of and access to the Treasury and Federal Reserve’s Lending Facilities with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Powell.
- A public hearing regarding the best ways to protect the health and safety of our frontline workers with Administration officials and health and safety advocates.
- A public hearing regarding the implementation of the CARES Act’s Unemployment Insurance provisions with Labor Secretary Scalia.
- Confirmation of appointees to the bipartisan Congressional Oversight Commission, including the chairperson.
In addition, there are scores of other issues that require oversight and public hearings in the coming days and weeks ahead. We believe each Committee in the Senate has an important oversight role to play in responding to the COVID-19 emergency. The Ranking Members of the Senate, in consultation with their committee members, will be requesting a series of oversight hearings as a follow-up to this letter.
Chairman Pat Roberts, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
Chairman Richard Shelby, Senate Committee on Appropriations
Chairman James Inhofe, Senate Committee on Armed Services
Chairman Mike Crapo, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
Chairman Michael Enzi, Senate Committee on Budget
Chairman Roger Wicker, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Chairman John Barrasso, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Chairman Chuck Grassley, Senate Committee on Finance
Chairman James Risch, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Chairman Lamar Alexander, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Chairman Ron Johnson, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Chairman John Hoeven, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Chairman Lindsey Graham, Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Chairman Roy Blunt, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
Chairman James Lankford, Senate Select Committee on Ethics
Chairman Richard Burr, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Chairman Marco Rubio, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Chairwoman Susan Collins, Senate Special Committee on Aging
Chairman Jerry Moran, Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs