As we respond to the Coronavirus pandemic and provide economic relief, I want to make sure we are getting information to everyone as quickly as possible.
We’ll be posting updates to this page with all the details about the public health and economic aspects of this challenge, as well as details concerning what we are doing in Congress and with the Trump Administration to defeat the virus and restore our economy.
We have designated Ryan Hofmann in our D.C. office as a contact person for questions related to the coronavirus’s impact on our state. Please email him at email@example.com.
June 5, 2020 | 4:37 P.M.
COVID-19 Food Assistance Program:
Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the creation of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This new program will use funding from the CARES Act to take several actions to assist ranchers, farmers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency:Direct Support to Farmers and Ranchers: The program will provide funding in direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted and will assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.USDA Purchase and Distribution: USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase fresh produce, dairy, and meat. USDA will begin with the procurement of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and meat products. The distributors and wholesalers will then provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks, community and faith based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.Wyoming ranchers or farmers whose operations have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for direct financial relief through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
See the guide, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for more information about the program and how it’s meant to provide assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have seen financial losses because of the pandemic:
HHS Provides More Support For COVID-19 Testing In Rural Communities:
The Department of Health And Human Services (HHS) through Health Resources and Services Administration, provided $225 million to Rural Health Clinics for COVID-19 testing. These investments will support over 4,500 RHCs across the country to support COVID-19 testing efforts and expand access to testing in rural communities.
This funding comes from the Patient Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which specifically directed these monies to be allocated to RHCs. This is in addition to the nearly $165 million HHS announced last month to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in rural communities.
Additionally, HHS recently announced that it had begun distributing nearly $4.9 billion in additional relief funds to skilled nursing facilities. This funding, which supplements previously announced provider relief funds, will be used to support nursing homes suffering from significant expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19.
Paycheck Protection Program Update:
Recently, the Small Business Administration released its latest report about the Paycheck Protection Program. This report combines the totals from round one of funding and round two of funding, concluding that since the program was originally passed as part of the CARES Act, more than 4.4 million small businesses have received loans nationwide. That includes 12,741 small businesses in Wyoming who have been approved for these loans and can keep workers on payroll.
The SBA also released an updated report with information about both the number and the amount of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) it has approved on a state-by-state basis. Across the country, more than 707,600 of these loans have been approved including 1,268 in Wyoming.
To locate an eligible Paycheck Protection Program lender, click here: www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection/find
Wyoming small business owners, ranchers, farmers, non-profits, and religious organizations can find additional information about applying for Paycheck Protection Program loans by clicking on the following links:
Personal Protective Equipment Update:
I’m working with the Trump Administration to ensure Project Airbridge delivers Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Wyoming’s health care workers as they fight COVID-19. As we begin to safely reopen our economy, protecting our front-line workers remains a top priority:
May 18, 2020 | 3:07 P.M.
This past Friday, the House voted on a more than $3 trillion proposal from Speaker Pelosi that has no chance of becoming law.
The legislation before the House last week was not a serious effort from Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats to help Wyoming or our nation. Instead, it was filled with irresponsible proposals that would reward illegal immigrants, release prisoners, and fulfill other liberal priorities that have nothing to do with combatting COVID-19.
This approach is not what people in Wyoming or across the country need. We should be focusing on helping our frontline workers, providing additional support for our communities and rural hospitals, and reopening our economy. Instead of coming together to work collaboratively in the wake of this crisis, the Speaker introduced the largest spending bill in history without a single committee hearing or any Republican input.
We need to focus on defeating the virus and restoring our economy. That requires us to put partisanship aside and work together as Americans – something Speaker Pelosi has demonstrated she is incapable of doing.
House Democrats forced a vote Friday on a 13-page resolution to authorize proxy voting and allow for official remote committee proceedings to be conducted during this pandemic. They brought this legislation to the floor without the concurrence or support of House Republicans.
House Democrats are risking damage to our constitutional republic by adopting a proxy voting scheme along partisan lines. Our founders intended that Congress convene and deliberate. The Constitution requires a majority of members be present to constitute a quorum to conduct business.
In times of national emergency, changes in House operations may be necessary, but those changes should never be the subject of heavy-handed partisan maneuvering in blatant disregard of constitutional imperative, precedent and the rights of the minority.
May 7, 2020 | 5:51 P.M.
This morning, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy announced the creation of a China Task Force which will develop policies, ideas, and legislative strategy to combat the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party. I’m honored to have been selected to serve on this task force and I look forward to working with my colleagues to protect America’s national security.
The United States must lead the world in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its coronavirus deception and its many years of pernicious activities around the globe. This is a battle between freedom and totalitarianism, and we will never let the Chinese Government determine the kind of future we are going to live in.
On Monday, I joined “Wake Up Wyoming” to discuss the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) cover-up of COVID-19 that led to the international spread of the virus. There is no question that because of the Chinese Communist Party’s lies, because of the way that they’ve operated, they caused coronavirus to become an international health and economic crisis and they’ve got to be held accountable. Click here to listen to the full interview.
Today, I introduced a bill to rename the street outside the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. “Li Wenliang Plaza.” The Chinese Government attempted to silence Dr. Li Wenliang who, at great personal risk, warned about the danger of coronavirus. While the Chinese Communist Party caused the virus to be spread around the globe, resulting in death and economic devastation, brave medical professionals like Dr. Li spoke truth to the regime.
May this serve as a constant reminder to the world and to the Chinese Government that truth and freedom will prevail, that we will not forget the bravery of Dr. Li, and that the Chinese Communist Party will be held accountable for the devastating impact of their lies. Click here to learn more.
April 24, 2020 | 7:23 P.M.
This afternoon, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act into law. This comes after it passed the House yesterday by a vote of 388-5. This legislation provides more money for the successful program that’s saving jobs and helping small businesses and adds resources for hospitals and for testing.
I was honored to join President Trump at today’s bill signing ceremony for this legislation that will provide emergency resources for small businesses and workers who are facing economic devastation because of the coronavirus pandemic. You can watch my remarks from the bill signing ceremony here.
REP. LIZ CHENEY: I really appreciate very much the focus on remembering where the virus came from and the extent to which the Chinese Communist Party, the government of China was very much responsible for an action that allowed this virus, they caused this virus, frankly, to be spread around the world because they were not honest, because they were not forthcoming, because they allowed travel outside of Wuhan to the rest of the world, and they’ve got to be held accountable. I know there will be a lot of support on both sides of the aisle, Mr. President, in Congress to do just that.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has faced huge demand and should have been renewed weeks ago. Unfortunately, rather than move expeditiously to provide additional resources, Democrats blocked this crucial aid while American families suffered. At this time of unprecedented crisis for our nation, we must put politics aside and come together to defeat the virus and restore our economy.
Earlier this week, I led a call with the Chairman of The White House National Economic Council Larry Kudlow. He spoke about the economic response being coordinated by President Trump and said that adding more money to the Paycheck Protection Program is important action we can take to help small businesses across the country. I also spoke on Tuesday night with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about action President Trump and his Administration are taking to help Americans impacted by the economic shutdown caused by coronavirus.
April 21, 2020 | 8:30 P.M.
This afternoon, the Senate passed legislation that will extend funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Additionally, this legislation provides funds for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) and expands eligibility for this program to include ranchers and farmers with less than 500 employees.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said early this morning that the House will vote on the Senate passed bill on Thursday April 23rd.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Paycheck Protection Program has approved loans to more than 1.6 million small businesses in only 14 days to help American workers during the COVID-19 crisis. PPP loans are helping to save jobs in our local communities by supporting 7,618 small businesses in Wyoming during the economic shutdown.
The world’s oil markets continued to drop this week due to historically low demand caused by the global economic shutdown. The falling price of oil puts hundreds of thousands of American energy jobs at risk. This is a serious situation and I will work with the Administration and our stakeholders in Wyoming to make sure we’re doing everything to support our energy industry.
Today, I participated on a call with Department of Energy Secretary Brouillette. We discussed a number of issues centered around the world oil market historical lows, including actions that need to be taken until the economy gets moving again and demand catches up with supply. It is critical that the Department of Energy takes steps now to ensure that energy dominance will continue after we make it through this unprecedented crisis.
At a briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force last week, President Trump, Vice President Pence, Dr. Birx, and Dr. Fauci spoke about the release of the federal government’s guidelines to open the country. According to the White House, the three-phased approach is meant to help state and local officials reopen their economies, get people back to work, and continue to protect American lives.
As a member of President Trump’s bipartisan congressional task force to reopen the economy, I look forward to working with Senator Enzi, Senator Barrasso, and my colleagues in Congress on achieving this goal in a smart and safe way.
There is much at stake as we work to defeat the virus and restore our economy. Expanded testing, access to personal protective equipment, and accelerated research and development of therapeutics and vaccines will be key elements in getting America working again. We have to listen to experts and hear input from a wide variety of perspectives. That’s exactly what the President is doing by creating this task force.
The full guidelines from the White House can be found here and can be downloaded at the following link: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Guidelines-for-Opening-Up-America-Again.pdf
The IRS formally launched the “Get My Payment” web portal last week with features to let taxpayers check on their Economic Impact Payment date and update direct deposit information.
The portal can be accessed here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment, and there are FAQ’s that are answered on the site as well.
On Friday, President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the creation of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) that will provide financial support for America’s ranchers and farmers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency.
Wyoming’s cattle ranchers and farmers are playing a vital role in feeding American families as we fight the spread of coronavirus. However, the economic volatility created by this virus has severely impacted our food producers and threatens their ability to continue putting food on our tables.
I’m pleased to see President Trump and the USDA take swift action to secure our domestic food security by providing financial aid to stabilize our ranching and farm markets. According to USDA, CFAP will use the funding and authorities provided in the CARES Act, the Families First Act, and other USDA existing authorities to do the following:
More information can be found here.
April 16, 2020 | 6:04 P.M.
I was honored to be asked to join the bipartisan Task Force formed by President Trump to restart the economy. I look forward to serving with Senator Enzi, Senator Barrasso, and a number of my colleagues in Congress.
Expanded testing, access to personal protective equipment, and accelerated research and development of therapeutics and vaccines will be key elements in getting America working again. I am confident we will defeat the virus and restore our economy if we work together, across party lines, and I am pleased this is a bipartisan task force. Americans have overcome every challenge we have faced, and we will overcome this one.
The IRS formally launched the “Get My Payment” web portal yesterday with features to let taxpayers check on their Economic Impact Payment date and update direct deposit information.
The portal can be accessed here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment, and there are FAQ’s that are answered on the site as well.
April 15, 2020 | 12:56 P.M.
We are working hard to mitigate the impact of the global health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. This week, I’m continuing to coordinate with local, state, and federal leaders to ensure that Wyoming’s hospitals, ranchers, small businesses, and working families receive support during these turbulent times.
Earlier today, I spoke with Reece Monaco about Speaker Pelosi’s continued action to block necessary emergency aid for small businesses. We also talked about President Trump’s decision to pause funding for WHO, and why WHO is costing lives, not saving lives, when they do the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party. Listen to my whole interview with Reece here.
I joined my House Armed Services Committee colleagues today to hear an update from U.S. Navy leaders on the service’s COVID-19 response efforts. I also participated in a call this morning with economists Art Laffer and Stephen Moore about how we can get our economy moving after we defeat the virus.
Yesterday, I joined Senator Enzi and Senator Barrasso on a call with Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. We discussed a number of issues, including action to grant royalty and other regulatory relief for Wyoming’s energy producers and mining companies, support for our tribes, and tourism and our national parks.
Finally, I was glad to join the Wyoming Business and Industry Federation on a call yesterday to discuss updates on the Paycheck Protection Program and other federal resources available for our small businesses impacted by the spread of coronavirus.
April 13, 2020 | 6:58 P.M.
The Paycheck Protection Program passed in the CARES Act is helping save jobs and support American small businesses during the economic crisis created by the spread of the coronavirus. As of Saturday night:
While funding for the program is expected to be exhausted by the end of the week, Democrats are still blocking efforts to authorize more resources for it.
At a time when our country desperately needs all of us to come together across party lines to provide emergency relief, it is tragic that Democrats are blocking these resources for American small businesses. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer should stop playing partisan games and work with us so we can get this crucial relief to millions of American small businesses, employees, and families.
April 10, 2020 | 2:32 P.M.
The Paycheck Protection Program continues to serve as a life raft for small businesses in the wake of this global economic crisis. At yesterday’s briefing with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Vice President Pence shared that the program had already processed over 30,000 loans for small businesses to keep workers on their payrolls, with 3,900 lenders participating.
Estimates have shown that because of this program, more than 10 million jobs have been saved. After receiving news yesterday that another 6.6 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, bringing the total number of unemployment claims to nearly 17 million over the last three weeks, it’s critical that the federal government support the PPP to save jobs and protect Americans’ economic livelihoods.
President Trump said yesterday that his Administration is working with Congress to replenish funding for this program to ensure that it doesn’t run dry, and said that Republicans and Democrats need to come together to get this legislation completed.
This comes after Democrats blocked an attempt yesterday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to add additional funding to this program that was developed in a bipartisan and bicameral manner. Instead of allowing this legislation to pass that would help America’s small businesses and provide for new money that’s needed immediately, Democrats stood in the way as part of an effort on their part to secure additional funding for things that are not as urgently needed.
Speaker Pelosi claimed in an interview yesterday that, “there is no data,” to prove that the PPP needs more funding. That’s not true.
Since the launch of the Paycheck Protection Program one week ago, we have seen positive examples across the country of this program working and protecting Americans’ livelihoods:
Wyoming small business owners, ranchers, farmers, non-profits, and religious organizations can find additional background about PPP loans and how this program is protecting workers and small businesses during this time:
April 9, 2020 | 5:52 P.M.
Today, I participated in a call with the Congressional Western Caucus and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. We discussed a range of issues including the importance of federal royalty relief for our energy producers and mining companies, as well as other regulatory relief that will benefit our producers now. Secretary Bernhardt committed to use every tool at his disposal to ensure our energy and mining industry can weather this economic and public health crisis.
Earlier in the day I led a call with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the rest of the House Republican Conference. Secretary Perdue talked about the important work his department is doing on the federal level to maintain the supply chain and provide assistance to our farmers, growers, and ranchers while the country battles the coronavirus. The work that those in the agriculture industry are doing, from producing our food to transporting it, is so crucial at a time like this and we all are thankful to the brave individuals in our state who are continuing to uphold this responsibility.
I also took part in a call with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma to discuss the acute financial crisis facing small and rural hospitals. Right now, rural hospitals are facing enormous financial stress due to the spread of coronavirus. This jeopardizes their ability to maintain health care services for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. We cannot afford to ignore their pressing needs. Thankfully, Congress provided financial aid for these hospitals in the CARES Act and I will continue working with Administrator Verma to ensure those funds are quickly made available to rural health care facilities in our state.
Finally, Governor Gordon announced this afternoon that tomorrow, April 10, will be a Day of Prayer in Wyoming in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. I hope you will join with me and citizens across our state in praying for all that have been impacted by this virus, whether physically, mentally, or economically. This is a trying time, but we will get through it by coming together as a state and as a country.
April 8, 2020 | 6:30 P.M.
This morning I led a conference call with House Republicans and the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Task Force, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Doctor Anthony Fauci, and Doctor Deborah Birx gave us the latest information on the federal response to this crisis.
The Vice President discussed the unprecedented steps the Administration is taking to protect the health and welfare of the American people. He described in detail the Administration’s work to get medical supplies and equipment to the hardest hit areas, as well as to massively expand testing and provide funding for research into groundbreaking therapeutic and vaccine treatments. He also noted that evidence of stabilization continues to be seen in areas of the country with the most significant outbreaks as a result of the mitigation strategies and social distancing the American people are implementing.
The Vice President and the Treasury Secretary also described the historic efforts underway in partnership with Congress to provide relief during the economic challenge caused by the pandemic. He thanked Congress for passing legislation to respond to the public health crisis and provide economic security for Americans across the country.
I also participated today in a call with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses to discuss the impact of our public health and economic crisis.
This afternoon, I joined “The Guy Benson Show” on Fox News Radio to discuss how Speaker Nancy Pelosi is causing damage to the country by focusing on partisanship instead of coming together across party lines during this time. Listen to the full interview here, and see an excerpt of the transcript below:
GUY BENSON: Pelosi then, just a few days later, said we are rolling out this select committee, she called it bipartisan and she framed it as oversight for the huge relief bill. She put Jim Clyburn in charge of it. It seems like a political move, especially given what Adam Schiff had to say. I wonder what your reaction was to that and the extent to which House Republicans plan to cooperate with whatever this thing is going to be?
REP. LIZ CHENEY: I just think Guy, that it is really sad for the country that at this moment which, if there were ever a time when we ought to be coming together across party lines, the House of Representatives is led by Speaker Pelosi. Her initial and immediate reaction to everything is partisanship and to attack the President and attack the Administration, and it’s really damaging for the country. I think you’ve seen multiple oversight entities that have been created both by the legislation that we’ve passed as well as already existing
REP. CHENEY: I think that the American people want to see the economy get going again, they want to see us be able to unleash the kind of innovation that we have in this country in the private sector to find the therapeutics, to develop the vaccine, to defeat the virus which we all can, but we got to work together. Frankly, Speaker Pelosi didn’t have any credibility to lose, but what she’s doing now is wasting really valuable time and really valuable resources. When she insists on appropriating money for the National Endowment of the Arts, tens of millions of dollars right now for things like that.
BENSON: Changing election laws?
REP. CHENEY: Yes, exactly. And those are all things that are fundamentally, ultimately damaging for the nation, and she ought to quit it.
At last night’s White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, President Trump announced that five additional cargo planes with medical supplies landed in the United States as part of FEMA’s “Project Airbridge,” and 27 additional flights are scheduled. He also said that 110,000 ventilators will be arriving in the coming months.
Vice President Pence spoke specifically about medical supplies that have been delivered to the New York metro area in the last five days, reporting that more than 6 million N95 masks, more than 6 million surgical masks, and 2.8 million gowns were distributed to that region.
In an update, President Trump said that 1.87 million tests had been conducted. He also reported that 1,200 rapid response tests from Abbott Laboratories had been shipped and that 500 are being produced weekly, along with 50,000 testing cartridges.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn issued a statement about serological tests, which are tests that measure the amount of antibodies or proteins present in the blood when the body is responding to a specific infection. The statement said that these tests are meant to detect, “the body’s immune response to the infection caused by the virus rather than detecting the virus itself.”
In the statement, Commissioner Hahn noted that the FDA has authorized only one Emergency Use Authorization for a COVID-19 serological test and that over 70 test developers have notified the agency that they have serological tests available for use. However, the statement added that some firms are falsely claiming that their serological tests are FDA approved or authorized, or falsely claiming that they can diagnose COVID-19.
April 7, 2020 | 5:30 P.M.
Since the launch of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) last Friday, I’ve been working with institutions throughout our state to ensure that they are ready to assist our small business owners, ranchers, farmers, non-profits, and religious institutions. Over the last few days, I’ve worked with the Wyoming Credit Unions, Wyoming Bankers’ Association, the Wyoming Business Alliance, our County Commissioners, and our hospitals to make sure we are getting support and equipment to our healthcare professionals, small businesses, and our towns and counties across the state.
This PPP program is essential to allowing small businesses to keep their employees on payroll, and my office and I will continue to answer questions and work to streamline the process so folks have access to the resources they need during this time.
My office is open and working. Please call my Cheyenne office (307-772-2595) if you need any assistance during this time.
This morning, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin appeared on Fox Business with Maria Bartiromo and talked about the Administration’s economic response efforts. He also said that the Administration will go back to Congress if small businesses need more money, and detailed how the economic impact payment program will work. Watch the interview here and below:
Last night, the President highlighted that nearly 3,000 lenders have made loans to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program. As Secretary Mnuchin said this morning and President Trump has said in the past, additional resources for this program will continue to be made available if they’re needed by small businesses.
It’s important to remember that this program was officially approved by Congress the last week of March, and is already up-and-running because of a Herculean effort from the White House, the Treasury Department, and the Small Business Administration.
As a reminder, the SBA and President Trump both clarified this past weekend that faith-based organizations are eligible for the program. Answers to specific questions about the program for faith-based organizations can be found here, courtesy of the SBA, and key background on the entire program is available below:
The Small Business Administration has also launched a hotline for lenders who need assistance accessing SBA’s E-Tran system. That number is: 1-833-572-0502. More answers from the SBA can be found here.
Additionally, SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza published an op-ed yesterday along with Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia about how this program is going to allow workers to stay employed, instead of forcing them to become dependent on the unemployment system:
Fox Business (Administrator Carranza & Secretary Scalia): “Help for America’s small businesses and their workers”
Finally, The Treasury Department is maintaining a frequently updated resource page, with important information for small businesses, lenders, and rules related to the program. They have posted a frequently asked questions document which can be found here.
The White House released the following rundown that details part of what the Trump Administration’s whole-of-government response has done to help the country combat the coronavirus:
Data from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the epidemic curve is beginning to flatten in New York, and the President said yesterday he is, “increasingly hopeful that the aggressive mitigation strategy we put into place will ultimately allow our hospital system to successfully manage the major influx of cases that that we have right now.”
The President provided an update about the distribution of medical supplies, emphasizing that the Army Corps of Engineers has now built 22 field hospitals and alternate care sites in 18 states, and that his Administration has deployed 8,450 hospital beds from federal stockpiles.
The CARES Act included direct funding for hospitals and the President said yesterday that the first wave of that funding will be delivered this week.
He also announced that more than 8,000 ventilators have been sent to states from the Strategic National Stockpile, and Admiral Brett Giroir said encouragingly that the federal government has been able to, “meet and easily meet all the ventilator requirements that have been brought to us by the states.” He added that, “no one has not gotten a ventilator that needs a ventilator, and as far as we can project looking at our models, every person who needs a ventilator will get a ventilator.”
As part of the partnership between FEMA and HHS and through “Project Airbridge,” 11.7 million N95 respirators, 26.5 million surgical masks, 5.3 million face shields, 4.4 million surgical gowns, and 22.6 million gloves have been distributed. The President also announced that because of his invocation of the Defense Production Act, 3M will deliver an additional 55.5 million face masks each month.
There have now been 1.79 million tests conducted in the United States as of last night and the President said that the number of tests being done is growing by 125,000 per day.
He also said that CVS is launching two new drive thru testing sites in Atlanta, Georgia, and Providence, Rhode Island. Each location will be able to test up to 1,000 patients per day using the Abbott rapid diagnostic test. This morning, Walgreens announced that they would be opening 15 drive thru testing sites in 7 states (Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas) and they also would be using the Abbott rapid diagnostic test.
During the briefing, Admiral Giroir also said that he was hopeful that millions of antibody tests would be on the market in May, and these tests will provide important surveillance that allows for people to be tested to see if they’ve been exposed, are immune, and can go back to work. As he said, “a combination of that kind of test with the current kind of test we have now is how America opens back up again.”
The President announced yesterday that 10 different therapeutic agents are currently in active clinical trials, and there are another 15 that will be in trials soon. He also said that a second company – Inovio Pharmaceuticals – announced that the FDA has authorized its vaccine candidate to begin clinical trials.
April 6, 2020 | 3:04 P.M.
The launch of the Paycheck Protection Program last Friday allows Wyoming small businesses to receive loans to keep their employees on payroll and make ends meet during these challenging times. After the first full day, SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said that 17,503 loans were processed nationwide, and more small businesses continue to apply for the program.
The SBA and President Trump both clarified over the weekend that faith-based organizations are eligible for the program. Answers to specific questions about the program for faith-based organizations can be found here, courtesy of the SBA, and key background on the entire program is available below:
In an interview yesterday on CBS’s Face The Nation and in a column for The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Scott Gottlieb outlined the progress that is being made when it comes to advancing therapeutics that will minimize the effects of the virus, and what needs to be done moving forward.
In the piece, Dr. Gottlieb emphasized that even if the virus subsides in the summer, the only way to ultimately defeat it is with technology, and the best near-term hope for that is an effective therapeutic drug. He notes that two potential therapeutics – one that targets the virus and blocks its replication and another involving anitbody drugs – have shown the most promise and that a strong sense of urgency is needed from both manufacturers and federal regulators to rapidly produce and distribute these therapies.
When it comes to vaccine development, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates said last week that his foundation will spend billions of dollars to construct factories for the most promising efforts to develop a vaccine.
Gates said his foundation will work with seven makers of a possible vaccine to build these factories – even if only one or two of the vaccines are ultimately produced – with the hope of potentially accelerating the process.
As a reminder, clinical trials of phase one of a vaccine began last month and were, “launched at record speed,” according to Dr. Fauci. Johnson & Johnson also announced a new vaccine candidate last week too.
April 3, 2020 | 5:02 P.M.
At last night’s briefing with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovida Carranza outlined the launch of the Paycheck Protection Program which – STARTING TODAY – will help small businesses to keep their employees on payroll.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a provision of the CARES Act, provides relief in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
Small businesses looking to receive PPP loans can apply through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.
At last night’s White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing, President Trump, Secretary Mnuchin, and Administrator Carranza detailed how the program will work and why it will help millions of small business owners.
The below information provides important background to know about the program’s launch today:
Click here to access the Paycheck Protection Program Application: https://bit.ly/39J7S0G
April 2, 2020 | 7:55 P.M.
Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, my focus has been ensuring that the people of Wyoming, including our healthcare providers, small businesses, ranchers, and energy producers, receive critical resources necessary to combat the unprecedented global health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
Over the last week, I’ve been in communication with federal leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Agriculture, and the Departmentof Interior requesting essential support and financial aid for the workers and families on the frontlines of this pandemic.
The fight to defeat coronavirus will not be easy, but I’m committed to making sure that the people of Wyoming have access to every tool available to confront the challenges we will face in the weeks and months ahead.
As always, if you have any specific questions or need assistance as it pertains to the coronavirus response effort, please contact Ryan Hofmann with my office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This morning, I joined “Let’s Talk With Al Harris” on KUGR to discuss the latest guidance from the Coronavirus Task Force on slowing the spread of COVID-19. You can listen to my conversation here.
Wyoming small business owners: This Friday, small businesses and sole proprietorships will be able to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, a provision of the CARES Act that provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
The funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities, and small businesses looking to receive them can apply through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.
Information from The White House, Treasury Department, and Small Business Administration about how the program is designed to work is included below:
April 1, 2020 | 7:10 P.M.
The President announced that his Administration’s nationwide guidance to slow the spread of the virus, which was published 15 days ago, will be extended until at least April 30th. As Dr. Fauci said, “the reason why we feel so strongly about the necessity of the additional 30 days is that now is the time, whenever you’re having an effect, not to take your foot off the accelerator.” See below for the specifics on that guidance:
Today, I joined the Wyoming Business and Industry Federation on a tele-townhall to answer questions about what we have done in Congress to combat coronavirus and the resources available to help local small businesses. You can listen to today’s tele-townhall by clicking on the image below.
March 31, 2020 | 3:22 P.M.
On Sunday, President Trump announced that he was extending the CDC’s guidelines for slowing the spread of the coronavirus until April 30th. Stay up to date on what’s included in those guidelines, as well as other key facts to know about COVID-19 and the federal government’s response by visiting https://www.coronavirus.gov/.
At yesterday’s briefing with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump continued to talk about the strides the Administration was taking to combat this virus. He cited the multiple emergency use authorizations issued by the FDA that is allowing for faster testing, making more potential therapeutics available, and giving more personal protective equipment to medical professionals.
Following the emergency use authorizations making hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine – potential therapeutics for COVID-19 – available for use, Bayer Pharmaceuticals donated one million doses to the federal government and Novartis donated 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine. These positive steps were lauded by The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board as a way to, “reduce the strain on hospitals,” in the immediate future, while calling effective drug treatments, “more important and less costly than government quarantines in defeating the pandemic,” in the long run.
In terms of needed medical supplies, the President said yesterday that FEMA and HHS have already delivered 11.6 million N-95 respirators, 26 million surgical masks, 5.3 million face shields, 4.4 million surgical gowns, and 22 million gloves. He also announced that more than 8,100 ventilators have been delivered directly to states, and 1,000 more will be delivered in the next two days.
In addition, the Administration continues to collaborate with the private sector. Yesterday, in conjunction with BARDA, Johnson & Johnson announced that it plans to initiate human clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate by September and anticipates that the vaccine could be available for emergency use by early next year. On top of that, Ford announced that it will produce 50,000 ventilators in Michigan over the next 100 days. Production is expected to start the week of April 20 at a plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with the capacity to produce 30,000 ventilators per month if needed.
Finally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new policies to provide more flexibility for health care providers and patients to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The regulatory waivers and new rules will increase hospital capacity, rapidly expand the number of health care professionals providing care, make it easier for patients to access care they need, promote telehealth in Medicare, and more.
Seema Verma, the Administrator at CMS, specifically cited the “Hospitals Without Walls” component at the briefing yesterday, which will allow communities to take advantage of local ambulatory surgery centers to care for patients, and permits non-hospital buildings and spaces to be used for patient care and quarantine sites. According to Administrator Verma, this will, “allow hospital systems to create new treatment sites outside of their facility, to expand capacity and be able to safely separate patients that are infected with the coronavirus and those that are not.”
March 30, 2020 | 1:49 P.M.
During the briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force yesterday afternoon, President Trump announced that he would be extending the CDC’s guidelines for slowing the spread of the coronavirus until at least April 30th. These initial guidelines can be found here, and the President said that the White House would be finalizing these plans on Tuesday, and would be providing a summary of findings, supporting data, and strategy to the American people.
In making this announcement, President Trump said, “nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won.” He also added that his Administration’s modeling estimates that the death rate for the virus’s impact on the United States is expected to peak in two weeks, which is why the decisions was made to extend these guidelines for at least another month.
American workers and small businesses will begin to feel the effects of the CARES Act after the House passed it on Friday and President Trump signed it into law.
During an interview yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that Americans who qualify for direct payments as a result of the act will receive them within three weeks.
In addition to the above comments from Secretary Mnuchin, the Director of the United States National Economic Council Larry Kudlow said in an interview yesterday that the loans available to small businesses who have been impacted by the effects of the coronavirus will be ready for processing this week.
The Trump Administration continues to take steps to protect the health of the American people and use all the tools of the federal government to combat this virus.
Today, USNS Comfort arrived in Manhattan to treat patients and alleviate some of the burden that hospitals in New York are facing. The Comfort has 1,000 beds and 12 operational rooms, and its arrival comes days after the transformation of the Javits Center into a temporary field hospital with 2,900 beds in conjunction with FEMA and the National Guard. On Friday, the USNS Mercy docked in Los Angeles and began accepting patients to ease the strain on that city’s hospitals.
In terms of expanding the availability of personal protective equipment and critical supplies needed for medical professionals, FEMA is working with the private sector to launch “Project Airbridge.” President Trump announced that the first flight with this equipment arrived yesterday containing 130,000 N-95 masks, nearly 1.8 million surgical masks and gowns, more than 10.3 million gloves, and more than 70,000 thermometers.
The President also continues to marshal the resources of the private sector to fight the pandemic through the use of the Defense Production Act, and signed a memorandum on Friday to require General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators.
On Sunday night, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine which will allow for the drugs to be donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19. This comes as New York has begun clinical trials testing the effectiveness of these drugs in combating the virus.
The FDA also issued an emergency use authorization to allow for convalescent plasma therapy to be used for seriously ill patients.
The President also announced yesterday that the FDA had authorized a new test from Abbott Labs that will be able to deliver results in as little as five minutes. The test, which the President called, “a whole new ballgame,” and Dr. Scott Gottlieb called a “game-changer,” is expected to be made available this week and they hope to ramp up manufacturing to deliver 50,000 tests per day.
After calls from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, the FDA also approved technology from Battelle that will allow for the decontamination and sterilization of personal protective equipment that medical professionals need to fight the coronavirus. In talking about this development, the President said that the new technology allows for a mask to be sterilized up to 20 times.
Finally, the President said during the briefing that health insurers Humana and Cigna were waiving co-pays and all out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus treatment. This came after the Administration asked insurers to take this step, which President Trump said would, “ease the financial burden on American families during this pandemic.”
March 27, 2020 | 4:20 P.M.
This morning, prior to passing the CARES Act, I spoke on the House floor recognizing our doctors, nurses, first responders, and public safety officers. These heroes have worked around the clock, risking their own lives and separating themselves from their families, in order to fight this virus. Watch my full remarks:
March 26, 2020 | 4:25 P.M.
Copied below is a brief outline of what is included in the CARES Act:
In addition to the CARES Act, the White House has taken executive action to protect the health and wellbeing of Americans:
March 25, 2020 | 7:41 P.M.
It’s understandable that many Americans are eager to get back to work and restart the economy. However, there will be no normally functioning economy if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what’s necessary to stop the virus.
It is critical that all Americans continue to follow CDC guidance and practice social distancing and isolate as much as possible. Click here to watch members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force discuss safety guidance for all Americans.
March 23, 2020 | 7:39 P.M.
The Federal Reserve announced this morning that it would go beyond its prior commitment of $700 billion in bond purchases to buy “the amounts needed” to keep markets functioning and the economy stable. It also announced significant new programs to keep credit flowing to businesses and consumers, including loans for students, auto buyers and small businesses. In addition, the Federal Reserve expects to announce soon the establishment of a Main Street Business Lending Program to support lending to eligible small-and-medium sized businesses, complementing efforts by the SBA. See the full announcement here.
In an interview on CBS’s Face The Nation yesterday, former FDA head Scott Gottlieb lauded the progress being made in attempting to identify potential therapeutics, and the “highly promising” steps that have been taken in regard to vaccine development. Watch the interview here.
March 21, 2020 | 4:19 P.M.
In Congress, House and Senate Committees are working over the weekend on a bipartisan basis to pass the 3rd coronavirus economic relief package titled the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The CARES Act is focused on four main priorities:
1. Direct financial help for the American people;
2. Significant steps to stabilize our economy and protect jobs;
3. Rapid relief for small businesses and their employees;
4. Increased support for the brave healthcare professionals and the patients who are fighting the coronavirus on the front lines
We are working to swiftly pass the CARES Act in the Senate and House so that President Trump can sign this legislation into law this week. More details about the CARES Act can be found here.
March 20, 2020 | 1:53 P.M.
On Thursday, Governor Mark Gordon endorsed a decision by the Wyoming State Health Officer to close public places for a two-week period to help slow the community spread of coronavirus. The order is effective immediately and extends through April 3.
The mandate affects “schools, theaters, bars, nightclubs, coffee shops, employee cafeterias, self-serve buffets, salad bars, unpackaged self-serve food services, gyms, conference rooms and museums.” Restaurants can still operate, as long as they do so outside of a dine-in setting. Child care services are also closed, except for those that cater specifically to “essential personnel.”
The full order can be found here.
March 19, 2020 | 2:44 P.M.
This morning, I joined Glenn Woods on KGAB to discuss the steps we are taking in Congress to support Wyoming families as we continue to fight the spread of coronavirus. Click here to listen to my conversation on KGAB.
At today’s briefing with the Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working to eliminate barriers to getting therapeutics for coronavirus to patients. FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn discussed the effort to eliminate “outdated” regulations for anti-viral therapies, which potentially opens the door for the use of hydroxychloroquine and other drugs as coronavirus treatments.
On Wednesday, the Senate passed legislation adopted by the House earlier this week, and then President Trump signed the bill into law. This legislation, known as the Phase II Package, expands testing for all Americans, provides paid sick leave for workers impacted by the coronavirus, and gives small businesses the flexibility they need to to care for their employees and remain open. The Senate is working with the U.S. Treasury Department on a Phase III Package to help further support American workers and businesses as we combat the impact of coronavirus on our economy.
March 18, 2020 | 3:16 P.M.
At a briefing today with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump announced that he was invoking the Defense Production Act, which will marshal the private sector to help assist in response to the virus. The invocation of this law will also expand the production of masks and protective gear to prevent the spread of the virus. The President also announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development would be suspending evictions and foreclosures.
Vice President Pence announced that the Department of Health and Human Services would be issuing a regulation allowing doctors and medical professionals to practice across state lines to meet the needs of hospitals that may arise in adjoining areas, and again asked all hospitals across the country to postpone elective surgeries to ensure that medical supplies and medical capacity go where they’re needed most.
In Congress, we recognize the importance of moving quickly and urgently to address this crisis.
On March 4, we passed an $8.3 billion emergency supplemental legislation to expedite vaccine development, increase testing, and provide resources directly to state and local public health officials. The bill’s full specifics are here:
On March 14th, we then passed legislation supported by President Trump that will allow for testing for all Americans and ensure that Americans have access to emergency paid sick leave. The legislation also provides assistance to small business, giving them flexibility and support to care for their employees and remain open. A summary of the bill is below:
In addition, here are the bill’s full specifics:
Going forward, Congress is working to pass additional legislation that will continue to support small businesses and give money directly to the American people. Please follow this page for updates on those proposals:
For small business guidance and loan resources, please visit the Small Business Administration’s website here.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by coronavirus.
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
Find more information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans at: SBA.gov/Disaster.
SBA works with a number of local partners to counsel, mentor, and train small businesses. The SBA has 68 District Offices, as well as support provided by its Resource Partners, such as SCORE offices, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers and Veterans Business Outreach Centers. When faced with a business need, use the SBA’s Local Assistance Directory to locate the office nearest you.
The following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19. Here is more information for small businesses:
Wyoming small businesses impacted by coronavirus have received final federal approval to seek loans up to $2 million as part of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
SBA has added all 23 Wyoming counties to its list of designated “economic disaster” regions eligible for small business disaster loan assistance.
If you are a Wyoming small business owner and have been negatively impacted by coronavirus, the SBA’s Federal Disaster Loan program can provide you with loans to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue you might be experiencing.
The loan amount will be based on actual economic injury and financial needs, so business owners should gather items such as financial statements, tax returns, and revenue projections to prepare for a loan request.
To apply for a SBA Federal Disaster Loan, click on the following link: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Account/Login
Again, please continue to visit this page for updates and information, and do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions.