Tillis Continues Fight To Protect North Carolinians From COVID-19
April 20th, 2020
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Senator Tillis has been taking decisive, proactive steps to protect the physical and economic health of North Carolinians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it has been supporting bipartisan legislation to bring over $9 billion in relief to North Carolinians, fighting to increase the state’s testing capabilities, supporting both President Trump and Governor Cooper on their social distancing policies, and holding China accountable, Senator Tillis continues to provide steady leadership and deliver positive outcomes during this crisis.
North Carolina Funding
- Through the three bipartisan COVID-19 relief packages that Senator Tillis has voted for, he’s secured over $9.5 billion for North Carolinians.
- The Paycheck Protection portion of the CARES Act has yielded 39,250 approved loans totaling $8.05 billion for North Carolina small businesses in need.
- The CARES Act also includes $919 million for North Carolina health care providers, $378 million for North Carolina higher education institutions and students, and $238 million for North Carolina airports.
- The Phase I relief package allocates an additional $13 million in North Carolina specific funding for medical supplies, research and development, and hospital and health system preparedness.
Leadership On Testing
- Tillis called for the Trump administration to ramp up testing on February 24th.
- When North Carolina was experiencing testing shortages in early March, Tillis wrote to Vice President Pence urging the administration to send additional resources to increase testing capacity for COVID-19 in North Carolina.
- Tillis then worked to get the FDA to expedite the approval process of a new COVID-19 test from UNC Health, drastically increasing North Carolina’s testing capabilities.
Supporting Executive Leaders Of Both Parties
- Tillis has supported the difficult social distancing decisions made by both President Trump and Governor Roy Cooper throughout this crisis.
- As Tillis said last week, he’s not criticizing federal, state, or local officials of either party when it comes to the response effort – his only criticism is for China for deceiving the world about the severity of the virus.
Holding China Accountable
- Tillis has said China was not forthcoming about COVID-19 and it cost us valuable time. He’s holding China accountable by urging President Trump to launch an investigation into the WHO’s and China’s decision-making related to the origin of the pandemic.
COMPLETE RESPONSE TIMELINE
February 24: Tillis says U.S. must prepare for a pandemic by accelerating testing, imposing additional travel bans, and immediately passing a COVID-19 emergency funding package that “may just be a downpayment.”
February 28: Tillis calls on Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to provide clarification on the steps being taken to reduce risk of infection among our DoD personnel and their families abroad.
March 2: Tillis writes to Vice President Pence asking him to keep politics out of the nation’s response efforts and for the administration to facilitate a swift passage of the first COVID-19 emergency funding package. In the letter, Tillis also points out the necessity of the travel ban on China given their “unacceptable lack of transparency and accountability.” He calls for the administration to hold China accountable and to consider additional travel restrictions if necessary to help reduce transmission to the United States.
March 3: Tillis issues statement in response to the first COVID-19 case reported in N.C. and pledges that he will do everything that he can to continue supporting North Carolina’s medical institutions, universities, and health care systems.
March 4: Tillis votes for bipartisan legislation (Phase I) that provides $8.3 billion in federal funding to combat the spread of COVID-19. The measures includes:
- $3.4 billion to assist in procurement of medical supplies for federal and state response efforts; vaccine, therapeutics, and diagnostics research and development; and hospital and health system preparedness;
- $950 million to go to state, local and tribal governments, with half of the funding being allocated to cities, states and tribes within 30 days of the legislation’s enactment;
- $490 million to provide Medicare beneficiaries with better access to remote/telehealth services.
- The package includes $13 million in North Carolina specific funding.
March 11: Tillis calls on Vice President Pence and the administration to send additional resources to increase testing capacity for COVID-19 in North Carolina.
March 11: Tillis introduces legislation to ensure veterans on the GI Bill continue receiving full benefits as universities move classes online to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- President Trump signs the bill into law on March 21.
March 12: Tillis backs President Trump’s decision to ban travel from Europe and calls for Congress to set aside our partisan differences in order to pass Phase II relief legislation.
March 12: Tillis co-sponsors bipartisan legislation to help ensure manufacturers and distributors can produce respirators during the COVID-19 epidemic.
March 12: Tillis calls on the Senate to cancel recess until a Phase II relief package is passed.
March 14: Tillis issues a statement of support for Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order temporarily closing K-12 schools for two weeks and mandating the cancellation of gatherings of more than 100 people immediately after it is announced.
March 16: UNC Health announces a new COVID-19 diagnostic test that drastically reduces testing shortages in North Carolina and across the nation. While UNC Health was experiencing bureaucratic delays from the FDA to launch this new test, Tillis works behind the scenes to urge the FDA to expedite the process so UNC Health could begin deployment.
March 16: Tillis urges United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to take swift and proactive steps to minimize any disruptions to our nation’s food supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 17: Tillis pushes United States Small Business Administration (SBA) to support Governor Roy Cooper’s request for an SBA disaster declaration for economic injury resulting from COVID-19.
- The disaster declaration is approved on March 19
March 17: Tillis votes in favor of the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act(Phase II). The measure ensures free coronavirus testing, establishes an emergency paid leave program, increases unemployment benefits, and provides food aid during the COVID-19 outbreak.
March 19: Tillis urges the Trump administration to remove a number of specific hurdles to the H-2A visa program so our agriculture industry has the workforce it needs to continue producing our domestic food supply as our nation combats the COVID-19 epidemic.
- The State Department acts on Tillis’ request on March 27.
March 23: Tillis pushes President Trump to approve Governor Cooper’s Disaster Declaration request for North Carolina.
- President Trump approves the disaster declaration on March 25.
March 24: Tillis introduces legislation that would punish people and businesses who engage in price gouging during the COVID-19 outbreak.
March 25: Tillis votes in favor of the bipartisan CARES Act (Phase III), an emergency relief package that provides direct checks up to $3,400 per hardworking North Carolina family of four and assistance to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Paycheck Protection Program in the CARES Act:
- The CARES Act also:
March 26: Tillis issues statement of support for Governor Cooper’s stay-at-home order.
March 31: Tillis calls on the Trump administration to provide immediate assistance to rural hospitals and clinics who are fighting COVID-19.
April 8th: Tillis urges the Trump administration for flexibility on how state and local governments can use funds included in the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
April 9: Tillis sends a letter to the Directors-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to to permanently ban live wildlife markets, also known as “wet” markets.
April 10: Tillis requests that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo press foreign governments to immediately release U.S. citizens and political prisoners detained abroad in order to protect them from COVID-19.
April 13: Tillis calls on President Trump to aggressively scrutinize any transaction or investment by the Chinese government or privately owned enterprises that could threaten or undermine the national security of the United States during the coronavirus pandemic.
April 13: Tillis stresses to Senate leadership that any future legislation to address COVID-19 includes support for victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
April 16: Tillis urges Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to take steps to address the mental health of service members during social distancing.
April 16: Tillis is named as a member of President Trump’s bipartisan Congressional Economic Task Force to provide advice on how and when to re-open the nation’s economy.
April 17: Tillis calls on President Trump to pursue an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, as well as the WHO’s and China’s decision-making related to the crisis.
April 17: Tillis raises concerns to Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai about new requirements placed on COVID-19 testing kits and other medical supplies manufactured in China for export.
April 17: Tillis calls on Secretary Perdue to send aid to the cotton industry in response to the coronavirus pandemic .