Congressional Democrats are trying to backfill the Biden administration’s perceived lack of response to the coronavirus with a wave of new bill filings.
Why this matters: The legislative boom is a reflection of Democrats’ fears ahead of midterm elections this fall. Republicans are already trying to capitalize on dissent.
- “I think … the public hopes they have a government that is treating COVID like we’re on a war footing, and that we’re doing everything humanly possible,” Rep. Khanna (D-Calif.) told Nerdshala. in an interview.
- “These are the kinds of measures that will make it look like we are taking decisive leadership, energetic leadership.”
Running news: Reps. Don Baer (D-Va.), Dinah Titus (D-Nev.) and Joe Morrell (D.N.Y.) introduced a bill Wednesday that would require the federal government to provide universal free testing.
- The Department of Health and Human Services will force home tests to purchase “at home tests fast enough to provide two such tests per week to every resident of the United States.”
- In addition to pharmacies and schools, tests will be made available by mail, online or through phone order.
Khanna, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Reps. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) And Bonnie Watson Coleman (DN.J.) also introduced a bill Wednesday to provide three N95 masks to every American.
- It was co-sponsored by dozens of House and Senate Democrats.
- In addition, Khanna and Sanders co-led a letter to Biden on Tuesday along with Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Adam Schiff (D-Cal.) on Tuesday called for much expanded testing, including home test deliveries.
What are they saying: “The rapid spread of the Omicron version over the past weeks suggests that Americans are in a dramatically more vulnerable position than we anticipated last month. There is no time to waste,” the letter said,
- During the interview, Khanna said of his call to distribute N95 masks: “If it’s good enough for members of Congress, it’s good enough for Americans.”
- The attending physician at the Capitol recommends members to wear N95 or KN95 masks on the floor of the House.
- “It’s not easy to go to your local pharmacy and just get an N95 mask, and it’s expensive,” Khanna told Nerdshala.
Second aspect: Some Republicans have compared the reduction with Biden’s pandemic promises during the election.
- “President Biden promised … ‘access to regular, reliable and free COVID-19 tests,’ Representative John Rose (R-Ten.) said in a statement. floor speech, “But as we near one year of his presidency, he has failed to deliver on these basic promises.”
- Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) asked to reject a plan to provide House offices with a weekly allocation of home tests.
- “Members of Congress and our staff are not above the American people, and I will donate these tests to a local health care facility,” Donald said in a statement. Statement Wednesday. He urged his colleagues to follow suit.