I hope this message finds you safe and healthy. As we enter this time of great uncertainty and concern, all of us should find comfort in the love, kindness, generosity, and character of our fellow Americans here in Massachusetts and across the country.
Friends and family are calling one another to check in every day. Restaurants are offering free food to first responders. School districts are working to make sure students have enough to eat. Cities and towns are moving quickly to protect vulnerable populations. Doctors, nurses, health care workers, police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and those providing food for our children and taking care of our seniors are all working day and night to serve and protect our communities.
In this moment of darkness, we are coming together to take care of and look out for one another.
Over just a few short weeks, this pandemic has upended many of our lives. All of us have been asked to change our normal routines for the greater good of our communities, and many of us are facing tremendous emotional, financial, and physical hardships. To help get you the information you need about resources that can help, my team has created a page that we are committed to updating daily, until this crisis is over, to give you up-to-date facts that are specific to our community. You can access that page by clicking the image below:
I also want to give you a few more updates on what I have been doing to represent you in Congress during this crisis:
- I voted yes on an $8.3 billion dollar package of new funding that was quickly signed into law by President Trump which provides $3 billion to the development of a coronavirus vaccine, including $300 million to ensure everyone has access regardless of their ability to pay.
- I voted yes on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that includes: An Emergency Paid Leave Program so that those who take leave to avoid spreading the virus will still receive their pay; Free and widespread COVID-19 testing for everyone who needs a test regardless of their ability to pay; Enhanced unemployment insurance for Americans who lose their jobs from the economic impacts of the outbreak; Strengthened food security and assistance measures to make sure that the most vulnerable in our communities don't lose access to food; and additional federal dollars for Medicaid to local governments and health care systems as they treat the sick and stop the spread of this virus.
- I have held conference calls with health care providers and local boards of health throughout Central and Western Massachusetts to ensure our response to this crisis is coordinated at all levels and that our first responders and health care workers have the tools they need to keep you safe.
- I have written and followed up with the White House Coronavirus Task Force to ensure that Massachusetts has access to the personal protective equipment and medical supplies that we so desperately need.
- My office has been in constant contact with Governor Baker, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and other federal stakeholders like the Small Business Administration and the Centers for Disease Control to ensure that we are providing as much support as possible for our Commonwealth's response.
- I joined my Congressional colleagues to successfully demand a nationwide stop on foreclosure and eviction proceedings for federally-backed mortgages.
- I joined my Congressional colleagues to demand that any future economic stimulus package puts America's small businesses, workers, and families first -- and to ensure that giant corporations put the needs of workers ahead of wealthy CEOs and Wall Street shareholders.
- I'm working to ensure that mental health issues caused by this pandemic are addressed in any upcoming coronavirus legislation.
- I've instructed most of my staff to telework and I've extended our offices' paid sick leave policy to set a good example for others.
Finally, let me say again how enormously grateful I am to the doctors, nurses, health care workers, and first responders who are working tirelessly to combat the spread of this virus.
When I see the work that they are doing, I know that we will get through this because I see the strength of the American people. When our resolve is tested, we rise to the occasion. We can overcome any challenge and meet any hardship when we come together with combined purpose and work towards a common goal.
I promise to keep you updated frequently on this situation, and to continue doing everything I can to protect the health and safety of our community.
James P. McGovern
Member of Congress