This has been a busy week both in NY-12 and in D.C. I was thrilled to see that the CDC extended the eviction moratorium, a critical step to protecting vulnerable New Yorkers, and that community health centers in NY-12 received $40.2 million in the American Rescue Plan to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines. This Wednesday was also International Transgender Day of Visibility, and all I can say is that trans rights are human rights!
I also led the introduction of a resolution highlighting the urgent need for nondiscriminatory and equitable blood and blood product donation policies in the United States with Reps. Schiff, Ocasio-Cortez, Torres, and others. The resolution underscores that policies governing blood and blood product donation should be grounded in science and based on individual risk factors that do not unfairly single out any group of individuals, particularly LGBTQ Americans.
More on all of these and other updates below.
If you missed this week’s NY-12 COVID-19 Update, you can read it on my website here.
And to all those who will be celebrating, I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Easter.
Praising the CDC for Extending the Eviction Moratorium to Protect Vulnerable New Yorkers
Housing is a human right and no New Yorker – no American – should be worried about keeping a roof over their head in the midst of a global pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle P. Walensky extended the CDC’s eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021. The moratorium will keep people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings, reducing the spread of COVID-19, and was originally set to expire at the end of this month. This will ensure that millions of renters across America are not evicted as the additional assistance provided by the America Rescue Plan is delivered to our communities.
Announcing NY-12 Community Health Centers Receiving $40.2 Million in American Rescue Plan Funding to Expand Access to COVID-19 Vaccines
This Tuesday, I was thrilled to announce that New York Community Health Centers in NY-12 will receive a total of $40.2 million in American Rescue Plan funds to expand their COVID-19 vaccination and treatment operations. The resources are part of the American Rescue Plan’s investments to expand access to vaccines in underserved communities.
Vaccination is critical to our city’s rebuilding from the COVID-19 Crisis. Our Community Health Centers have been a critical component of New York’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, more hope and help are on the way so that they can redouble their efforts to get shots in arms and save additional lives.
The health centers can use the funding to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment for vulnerable populations; deliver preventive and primary health care services to people at higher risk for COVID-19; and expand health centers’ operational capacity during the pandemic and beyond, including modifying and improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units.
My Statement on International Transgender Day of Visibility
This Wednesday was International Transgender Day of Visibility. As a proud, longtime member of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, I say unequivocally that trans rights are human rights!
Transgender people have the right to be seen and heard in a world that often tells them they have no place and no voice. On this International Transgender Day of Visibility, I pledge to fight for acceptance, love, and rights for all people. I am proud to stand as an ally with this diverse community today and every day.
Urging JetBlue to Stay in Long Island City
On Wednesday, I led a letter, also signed by Reps. Suozzi, Meng, Velázquez, Jeffries, and Meeks, to JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes urging him not to move the company’s headquarters from Long Island City, Queens. JetBlue Airways lease in Long Island City is set to expire in July 2023, and recent reports have indicated that they are considering moving their headquarters and employees to Florida.
As ‘New York’s Hometown Airline,’ JetBlue’s corporate headquarters have had a mutually beneficial relationship with Queens since the company’s founding in 1998, and with Long Island City since 2012. In the spirit of that long-standing relationship, we strongly urge JetBlue to consider keeping its headquarters and its employees in Queens.
Read the full letter HERE.
Sending Bipartisan Letters Requesting Agency Policies on Cooperating with Inspector General Investigations
On Wednesday, Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, James Comer, Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerald E. Connolly, Ranking Member Jody B. Hice, and myself sent letters to 23 agencies requesting their current policies for interacting with Inspectors General and cooperating with Inspector General investigations.
In the letters, we requested the current operative agency policies for complying with requests from Inspectors General (IG) to provide information and testimony in IG investigations, as well as policies that determine whether an agency, an IG, or another entity conducts agency employee discipline or misconduct investigations.
Read the full letters HERE.
Announcing Committee Vote on H.R. 51, the Washington D.C. Admission Act
No taxation without representation!
This Wednesday, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Member Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and I announced that we will hold a business meeting on H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, introduced by Congresswoman Norton on January 4, 2021. This is a crucial step so we can bring D.C. statehood to the House floor.
H.R. 51 would admit the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth into the Union and reduce the size of the federal district. The bill has 215 cosponsors and an identical version was passed by the House of Representatives in the 116th Congress.
Praising Introduction of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan
Infrastructure is in my DNA, and I am glad that we have a President who understands how critical it is for our nation.
On Wednesday, I praised President Biden’s introduction of the American Jobs Plan. From day one, his top priority has been tackling the health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The America Rescue Plan is doing just that, by putting vaccines in arms and money in the pockets of American families.
With the introduction of the American Jobs Plan, the President’s administration moves to address the country’s urgent need to Build Back Better following this devastating pandemic. I look forward to working with President Biden on my infrastructure priorities such as extending the 2nd Avenue Subway to 125th Street, building high speed rail between New York and Boston, and passing a Green New Deal for Public Housing.
Finding Government Provided $162 Million to Fund Development of Remdesivir in new GAO report
On Thursday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report reviewing the government funding that led to the development of the drug Remdesivir, an antiviral drug manufactured by Gilead and was the first drug approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19.
Remdesivir costs $3,120 for a five day course of treatment. The report finds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health provided $162 million in funding for preclinical studies and clinical trials for Remdesivir. This does not include funding for basic research. Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) and I requested this report in order to learn more about how taxpayer-funded research is being used to develop drugs and vaccines.
The GAO’s report on Remdesivir is unfortunately just the latest example of a drug company charging an unconscionable price for a drug developed with millions in taxpayer-funded research. I will continue to push for reforms, such as enabling Medicare to negotiate for lower prices, that curtail the pharmaceutical industry’s price gouging of patients and taxpayers. I also look forward to working further with Senator Stabenow to increase transparency into the pharmaceutical industry’s reliance on federally funded research
Issuing Statement on ONDCP Drug Control Policy Statement
I am pleased to see the Biden-Harris Administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) meet its first benchmark in the timely release of the required Drug Control Policy Statement, especially after the failures of the last administration.
The seven stated priorities within ONDCP’s Policy Statement, including advancing racial equity and a reduction in youth substance use, forge paths to targeted evidence-based prevention efforts and desperately needed recovery services. It is my hope the Policy Statement’s emphasis on treatment and harm reduction services will stem the historic rise in drug overdose deaths recorded in the last year. Without a doubt, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the drug abuse crisis in America, reflected in the loss of nearly 90,000 Americans due to drug overdose in the 12-month period ending August 2020—the largest recorded increase ever, and nearly 27% higher than the same period the previous year.
Introducing Resolution Highlighting Need for Nondiscriminatory and Equitable Blood Donation Guidelines
On Wednesday, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and I, along with Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Chris Pappas (D-NH), and Ritchie Torres (D-NY) introduced a resolution highlighting the urgent need for nondiscriminatory and equitable blood and blood product donation policies in the United States.
For far too long, outdated restrictions have prevented gay and bisexual men who can safely donate their blood from doing so. Last year, the FDA took an important step in addressing this issue. However, blanket deferrals continue to perpetuate harmful stigma against gay and bisexual men—particularly gay and bisexual men of color—and have undermined critical efforts to fortify our nation’s blood supply in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It is imperative that America’s blood donation policies be equitable, and based on science—not stigma.