Weekly Update: Gun Safety Legislation, New COVID Vaccines Sites, Coffee with Carolyn 2/19
Before we get into this week’s updates, I would like to wish all those celebrating a very Happy Lunar New Year. May the Year of the Ox bring success, prosperity, and happiness for you and your loved ones after what has been an extremely challenging 2020.
Today, I am in Washington, DC chairing a business meeting of the Oversight Committee to consider legislation that is part of the American Rescue Plan. Our committee’s part of the legislation includes COVID aid for states, localities, Tribes, and territories; emergency paid leave for federal employees; and funding for oversight processes.
Earlier this week, I introduced a five-bill gun safety legislative package, joined the Mayor and other officials to officially open the vaccination site at Citi Field, and launched an Oversight Committee investigation into Parler’s financing and ties to foreign entities.
You can read more on these and other updates below.
Gun Safety Legislative Package
On Wednesday, I was joined by gun safety advocates to introduce a five-bill gun safety legislative package ahead of Sunday’s three year anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
To honor those lost that day and all victims of gun violence, we must take action. Thoughts and prayers are not enough – in fact, they are meaningless when not backed up by doing the work to effect real change.
Thank you to Fred Guttenberg, Brady President Kris Brown, Gays Against Guns Founding Member and Organizer Jay W. Walker, and March for Our Lives Executive Director Alexis Confer for joining me to introduce this package and for all their work to combat gun violence.
You can read more about all five bills introduced on Wednesday here.
New COVID-19 Vaccine Site on Roosevelt Island
As of today, Friday, February 12, New Yorkers aged 65 and older will be able to receive their COVID-19 vaccines at the Duane Reade on Main Street on Roosevelt Island today, tomorrow, and on Sunday.
Last month, I called on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to establish a COVID-19 vaccination site on Roosevelt Island. Roosevelt Island is home to 11,500 New Yorkers, including a significant number of elderly and disabled residents who are part of the high-risk demographic for severe outcomes should they contract COVID-19. I am thrilled that the City and State listened to the people of Roosevelt Island and the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association and have opened this vaccination site for these residents.
Appointments can be made by calling the Roosevelt Island Duane Reade at 646-521-2260.
Those with 9/11-Related Illnesses Are Eligible to Receive the COVID Vaccine on February 15
New York State announced last Friday that individuals with 9/11-related cancers and pulmonary diseases will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning this coming Monday, February 15. I called on the City of New York to expedite COVID-19 vaccine access for World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) participants last month, and am glad that the City and State heard and answered this request.
9/11 responders and survivors, who have 9/11-related medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19, need and deserve access to the COVID-19 vaccine. They live with these pre-existing conditions because they were exposed to the toxins in the air at and around Ground Zero after our government told them it was safe. After 9/11, our country made a promise to “Never Forget” – this is how we put that promise into action.
Improving Data Reporting for Congregate Care Facilities
On Wednesday, I joined with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Oversight Committee Member Congresswoman Katie Porter in urging Senate and House leadership to improve data reporting requirements for assisted living facilities, residential behavioral health facilities, and other congregate care settings in COVID-19 relief efforts. Specifically, we asked leadership to consider including provisions from the Assisted Living Facility Coronavirus Reporting Act, legislation I introduced with Senator Warren and Senator Edward J. Markey last Congress that would address gaps in COVID-19 data reporting at assisted living facilities.
Read more here.
The American Rescue Plan
Today, I am holding an Oversight Committee meeting to consider legislation that is part of the American Rescue Plan. Within the Committee’s jurisdiction are parts of the plan that will directly provide states, localities, Tribes, and territories with funding to fight the coronavirus pandemic and its devastating economic impacts, provide emergency leave for federal and postal workers, and promote transparency and accountability of all federal coronavirus relief funds.
This meeting is still ongoing, and you can watch live here.
Investigating Parler’s Financing & Ties to Foreign Entities
Since the attack on the Capitol on January 6, numerous Parler users have been arrested and charged for their roles, with the Department of Justice citing in several instances the threats that individuals made through Parler in the days leading up to and following the insurrection. All those with ties to the January 6 assault should not—and must not—be allowed to hide behind the veil of anonymity provided by shell companies. And so, on Monday, I wrote to Parler demanding information related to Parler’s financing and potential ties to foreign entities.
Read more about the investigation and my letter to Parler COO Jeffrey Wernick here.
Urging the FDA to Lift Restrictions Preventing Access to Mifepristone
On Tuesday, I was joined by Oversight Committee Member Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, in leading all democratic congresswomen on the Committee in sending a letter asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift the medically unnecessary in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone—a prescription medication that has been used to safely end early pregnancies in the United States for more than two decades.
As we wrote in our letter, “[i]mposing this requirement in the midst of a deadly pandemic—one that has disproportionately impacted communities of color across the United States—needlessly places patients and providers in harm’s way, and further entrenches longstanding health inequities.”
Read more here.
Snapshot from NYC
On Wednesday, I joined Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, State Senator Jessica Ramos, and City Councilman Francisco Moya to cut the ribbon at the new 24/7 COVID-19 vaccination site at Citi Field.
Queens is home to 2.3 million New Yorkers, including many immigrant and BIPOC communities who have had to endure a significant brunt of the COVID-19 crisis and who are part of the high-risk demographic for severe outcomes should they contract COVID-19.
Qualifying New Yorkers can receive their COVID-19 vaccine at Citi Field by visiting https://vaccinefinder.nyc.gov/.
This is a home run for our city.
I hope you’ll join me next Friday, February 19 from 8:30 – 9:30am for a Virtual Coffee with Carolyn.
RSVP to receive dial-in info here.
If you missed this week's NY-12 COVID Update, you can read it here.
As always, your concerns still and always remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.