PROVIDENCE, RI – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, says a national, coordinated stay-at-home agreement by all fifty states and U.S. territories is needed to effectively combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
While Constitutional authority to enforce public health interventions lies primarily with the states, Senator Reed is urging President Trump to publicly support a national stay-at-home agreement to halt the exponential spread of COVID-19. Senator Reed says an aggressive, coordinated, and unified response is required to slow the spread and buy more time until improved testing and a vaccine can be developed and deployed.
Senator Reed stated:
“We are the United States of America and we are bound together and depend upon each other. This is a national emergency and it requires a national response. The current fragmented approach is ineffective. Those refusing to enact protective measures in a coordinated manner are short-sighted, put others at risk, and will only prolong the pandemic.
“People in the hardest hit areas know the stakes. They are already abiding restrictive rules in order to limit the loss of life. But if we’re going to limit the spread, we need to adopt these measures on a truly national scale. The surest way to end this nightmare is for the President to rally the nation to decisively work together to help buy more time until rapid testing can be deployed and a vaccine and other countermeasures are developed and distributed.”
Reed continued: “Every state must retain flexibility to respond according to their needs, but we all need to pull together and coordinate. Failure to get on the same page could cause this crisis to continue for weeks or months longer than it should, dragging down our economy, destroying businesses, and ravaging communities, as the virus spreads farther and wider in rolling waves across the land.
“We all respect and uphold state’s sovereign rights and it is important for states, not the president, to be in control of the frontline response and issue local guidance. But I implore governors and the president to communicate and work with each other and do the right thing.”
Reed urged President Trump to take several decisive steps, including:
· Publicly urge all governors to implement a unified, national Stay-at-Home policy, temporarily halting non-essential activities and travel, so all fifty states can curtail the spread of COVID-19 in a manner that upholds civil liberties and constitutional rights.
· Inject more resources into a robust testing system with rapid and reliable diagnostic tools and deploy test kits and develop a vaccine to eradicate COVID-19.
· Take federal charge of procuring and distributing critical medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE), based on the need, and using the full authority of the Defense Production Act.
· Ensure states have maximum flexibility to use the federal funding they receive
d under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Senator Reed helped negotiate, to effectively combat COVID-19 and help health care providers, workers, the unemployed, retirees, and local economies recover.
· Join with Congressional leaders in crafting a new bipartisan phase four COVID-19 relief bill providing additional federal funding and resources to state and local governments to help defray health care costs, prevent avoidable evictions and foreclosures, assist individuals struggling under high student loan debt, support Main Street businesses, and invest in broadband, schools, libraries, transportation, and water and other infrastructure so that when we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis the economy can surge forward.