Good afternoon. I would like to provide a few updates about recent developments in Congress and share some important information.
Appointment to White House Reopening America Advisory Council
The COVID-19 crisis has had significant negative effects on our economy, health care system, and daily lives. The American people need action, support, and direction from the federal government. I have stayed in touch with Silicon Valley residents to provide information and to hear from so many of you seriously affected by this crisis.
The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program is stretched thin and millions of Americans are filing for unemployment every week. We need a path forward. That’s why I, along with several of my colleagues, accepted President Trump’s invitation to serve on the bipartisan White House Coronavirus Advisory Council.
While I have proposed legislation providing recurring cash payments to most Americans for up to one year, the long-term solution for the economy is to get people back to work. However, we must do so in the safest, most responsible way possible. The task at hand is too important for partisanship, so as a member of the Council, I will continue fighting for people to receive the relief they need now to make it to the other side of COVID-19. I am also calling for massive investment in advanced manufacturing, innovative scientific advancement, and smart technology, so that we can reduce our dependence on China, Germany, and help prevent a global catastrophe like this in the future.
Essential Workers Bill of Rights
Essential workers are on the frontlines of this pandemic, and many are working in high-risk conditions without the appropriate equipment, safety standards, or job protections. They aren’t just doctors and nurses, but also grocery and drug store employees, delivery drivers, and many others. These workers have proven themselves integral to keeping this country functioning during the pandemic and they deserve better support and protection, which is why I joined with Senator Elizabeth Warren to introduce the Essential Workers Bill of Rights, the tenets of which are outlined below:
- Health and safety protections
- Robust compensation
- Protections for collective bargaining
- Universal paid sick, family, and medical leave
- Protection for whistleblowers
- An end to worker misclassification
- Health care security
- Support for childcare
- Treating workers as experts
- Holding corporations accountable
While many of us shelter-in-place and work from home, these workers risk their health and safety to keep our essential industries going. We count on them to support us, but now we need to make sure they can count on us to support them.
Fourth Emergency COVID-19 Response Bill Passes
Last month, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which provided much needed financial support to individuals and businesses struggling during the COVID-19 crisis. One of the programs created by the CARES Act was the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided much-need loans to small businesses, but recently ran out of money. Speaker Pelosi and I co-wrote a letter calling on Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to protect employees working for start-up small businesses across Silicon Valley. To fix this, Congress just passed a new relief package that provides an additional $310 billion to the loan program in order to help struggling businesses weather the storm and keep employees on payroll. The bill also authorizes $75 billion to support hospitals and other health care providers and $25 billion to expand COVID-19 testing. This crisis is far from over, so we must take the preventative steps necessary to slow the spread while still protecting and stimulating our economy.
District Office Update
Our Santa Clara office has received hundreds of requests regarding the repatriation of U.S. Citizens abroad, small business loans, stimulus checks, housing insecurity, and unemployment assistance. When a constituent inquiry is not a federal level issue, our staff provides direct resources and contact information to the pertinent agency that can provide needed services. In addition to the COVID-19 requests that we are handling, our office continues to work on immigration, Veterans Affairs, Social Security, Medicare, and Internal Revenue Service casework. This pandemic has affected thousands of constituents and it is our privilege and duty to provide support during such a time.
Please call my office at (408) 436-2720 between 9:00am and 5:00pm Monday-Friday if you need assistance. Your call will be promptly answered (remotely) by my staff. You can also contact me online at any time at Khanna.house.gov/contact. We are ready to help.
Facebook Live Town Halls
Thank you to all who participated in this month’s Facebook Live town halls. In May, I will host two Facebook Live town halls on May 7th at 12pm Pacific and on May 19th at 1pm Pacific. Please be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @RepRoKhanna.
Why Silicon Valley Got Coronavirus Response Right
Santa Clara County – and the entire Bay Area – has shown incredible leadership throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Read my op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle exploring what local officials have done right to protect our region and how we can be a model for the nation.
Protecting Unconstitutional War with North Korea
I introduced the No Unconstitutional War with North Korea Act with Senator Ed Markey which prohibits funding for an offensive military engagement with North Korea without prior approval of Congress. Given uncertainty surrounding North Korean leader Kim Jung Un’s health, American foreign policy must prioritize a diplomatic approach to achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula. The current state of world affairs magnifies the importance of Congress reclaiming its constitutional authority over matters of war and pace.
Introduced Resolution Celebrating the 129th Anniversary of the Birth of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
I was proud to introduce a resolution to honor the 129th anniversary of the birth of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, a celebrated civil rights leader, spiritual icon, and the architect of India’s constitution. He mobilized a generation to push back against discrimination and to instead celebrate equality, human rights, and universal tolerance. Read the full resolution here.