Senator Booker Weekly COVID-19 Readout

Week of March 30, 2020:

  1. Senator Booker continued to push the Administration to reverse its decision not to create a special enrollment period so people without health insurance can sign up for coverage. He also urged Senate leaders to take action and include such a measure in the next relief package. Cory was the first lawmaker to author legislation to create a special enrollment period for people impacted by COVID-19

  1. On Thursday, he announced over $82 million in federal grants to NJ communities, the first wave of federal funding from the COVID-19 relief package

  1. Also on Thursday, he pushed the USDA to relax federal rules for food bank distribution. This bureaucratic red tape is creating severe bottlenecks and risking the safety of staff and volunteers at food banks in New Jersey and across the country.

  1. On Monday, he urged the Advanced Medical Technology Association, a trade group representing medical tech companies that manufacture personal protective equipment, to mobilize its member companies to ramp up production.

  1. Today he pressed FEMA to develop a national database of ventilators and a corresponding distribution program so that supplies could go where they are needed most. New Jersey has received less than half of the 2,500 ventilators it requested last week.

  1. Also today, he urged the Department of Labor to reverse guidance it issued last Saturday that in effect strips millions of workers of leave benefits that Congress signed into law as part of the second Coronavirus aid package.

  1. He held conference calls with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, the New Jersey Hospital Association, and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, as well as a tele-town hall with SEIU 1199.

  1. For the month of March, our office received and processed nearly triple the amount of incoming emails and letters we receive during a typical month.

BONUS: Two podcasts that published yesterday feature Senator Booker explaining details of the COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress last week: the Freakonomics podcast and the Economist’s podcast. They’re worth a listen if you’re in need of some audio stimulation during quarantine this weekend.

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