Good afternoon. I would like to provide a few updates about recent developments in Congress and share some important information, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Congress Passes Three COVID-19 Stimulus Bills
The COVID-19 crisis has already caused a devastating ripple effect through our economy, health care system and daily lives. In response, Congress has passed a package of bipartisan bills to protect workers, stimulate our economy, and fight the virus.
The first bill, passed in early March, provides $8 billion for the federal government’s response to the outbreak. This bill includes money for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and other public health emergency funds. The money will go towards prevention programs, the development of a vaccine, increased testing and treatment capacity, and necessary protective equipment for the health care workers. The second bill provides free COVID-19 testing for any American able to get a test, as well as guaranteed paid family and medical leave for tens of millions of workers.
The third bill in the package, signed into law over the weekend, provides $2.2 trillion in economic stimulus. Americans who made under $75,000 last year ($150,000 for couples) will receive $1,200 in direct payments, and those who lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis will see a significant boost in unemployment insurance benefits. The bill also includes more than $370 billion in loans to help small businesses and non-profits stay afloat and keep their employees on payroll, in addition to $100 billion to help hospitals continue to fight on the front lines of this crisis and save lives.
Today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and I sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza to ensure that the small business loans are available to startups in the Silicon Valley. For these small businesses, as for many others across America, access to forgivable loans will be critical to preserving jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and to securing America’s leadership in science, technology and innovation.
Next Steps in the Battle Against the Coronavirus
This crisis is far from over, so we must ensure that we take the preventative steps necessary to slow the spread while still protecting and stimulating our economy from the bottom up. First, we must guarantee continued cash payments to Americans, not just a one-time check. Rep. Tim Ryan and I will soon be introducing the Emergency Money for the People Act that would provide a monthly check of at least $1,000 – and up to $2,000 – to every American making less than $130,000.
I have also urged President Trump to call for a two-week national shelter-in-place order. Eight days after Santa Clara County issued our shelter-in-place order, COVID-19 cases increased by 45 percent. Comparatively, cases nationwide grew by over one thousand percent over the same time period. We must act as a unified nation to make the sacrifices necessary to save countless, priceless lives.
Update on Office Operations During California’s Shelter in Place Order
My offices are taking California’s shelter in place order very seriously. We have implemented a complete telecommuting protocol that ensures every constituent’s questions and concerns are received and answered.
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. While we are unable to meet in-person, my staff is ready to help, especially on issues related to COVID-19 or federal agencies.
Thank you to all who participated in this month’s Facebook Live town hall and COVID-19 teletown hall. In April, I will host weekly Facebook Live town halls on April 3rd at 12pm PT, April 9th at 5pm PT, April 16th at 12pm PT, and April 25th at 12pm PT. Please be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @RepRoKhanna.
I introduced legislation with Sen. Ron Wyden to amend the Espionage Act of 1917 to better protect journalists and whistleblowers under attack in the modern era. My bill reaffirms First Amendment protections for journalists who publish classified information, in addition to ensuring whistleblowers can safely come forward to report waste, fraud and abuse to Congress. Read more at The Intercept.
Opposing Palestinian Home Demolitions
I wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with more than 60 Members of Congress urging the Trump administration to take immediate action to oppose the Israeli government’s acceleration of home demolitions and displacement of Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Read more from the Jewish Telegraph Agency.
Tomorrow is National Census Day! You should have received official mail from the Census Bureau with instructions on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone or by mail. It is important that you respond and account for your entire household in order to ensure that everyone is counted. Learn more at 2020Census.gov.
Please read my op-ed with former Secretary of Agriculture and former governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, about the potential for biomanufacturing, an emerging green technology, to help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and expand opportunity to rural communities across America. The full op-ed can be found at the Des Moines Register.