Weekly Update - 3.21.20

Good evening and welcome to our Week-End Update.

We will again be focusing on the latest news regarding the coronavirus. I understand that these are stressful, confusing and frustrating times for all of us. The situation our nation, and the world, find itself are unprecedented. That is why I am continuing to communicate as much information I receive and that is why we must heed the words of President Trump Coronavirus Team, Vice President Mike Pence and the top physicians who are leading our coronavirus response. We must use the next 15 days to slow the spread and flatten the curve. These may be tough times, but our nation, when united, has defeated tougher enemies and I have no doubt we will be successful again.

Please see the below guidelines from the Trump Administration and the CDC on the 15-Day Plan To Slow the Spread.

The 15 Day plan is just the beginning of our nation's continued efforts to stop the spread. Americans will likely need to be cautious and continue to practice social distancing for the next several weeks according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Fauci conducted an interview with NBC's Today Show on Friday where he discussed that we are likely still looking at a few more weeks where we will need to continue limiting our interactions with large crowds and continue to practice social distancing. Click here or below to watch.

Much of my schedule this week has been devoted to receiving updates from experts in Washington, area physicians and hospitals on their response, medical suppliers, officials with our local colleges and universities, the Small Business Administration and conducting interviews with various media outlets on the federal response to the coronavirus. I spoke with Bobby Gunther Walsh on WAEB, Frank Andrews on WILK-FM, Joe Reilly with WHLM, Mark Lawrence on WKOK and a taped interview with Dave Langley on WEEU.

Last night, we held a successful tele-townhall on the coronavirus. I was joined on the call by Dr. David Gasperack, Vice President & Regional Medical Director of Wellspan Medical Group. It was a successful call as we had many constituents participate and each brought great questions. I want to thank Dr. Gasperack for participating. Click here to read a recap from The Reading Eagle.

Governor Tom Wolf has ordered many businesses closed as he designated non-life sustaining businesses but has delayed enforcement until Monday. Click here to read the announcement and view the updated list.

While I don't agree with shutting down businesses, these are serious times. All businesses, if they like, do no to submit a waiver application stressing the importance of their business as well as the genetic best practices you are employing to prevent the spread.

I will be holding a business tele-town hall on Monday afternoon at 3:30 pm. Details below.

This week, the U.S. Senate passed and President Donald J. Trump signed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. I supported this legislation as it provides:

  • Free Testing

    • In collaboration with private sector efforts, this bill ensures free testing to all patients seeking medically appropriate diagnostic lab tests.
  • Paid Sick Leave

    • Businesses with fewer than 500 employees must provide 14 days of paid sick leave to employees affected by the coronavirus. Including:

      • Employee(s) who test positive for coronavirus;

      • Employee(s) experiencing symptoms who are awaiting test results;

      • Employee(s) caring for a family member with coronavirus;

      • Employee(s) who must stay home with children due to a school closure resulting from coronavirus.

    • In addition to the 14 days of paid sick leave, coronavirus-affected employees are entitled to up to three months paid leave at two-thirds of the employee’s pay.

    • These companies will receive a 100% tax credit for both types of leave up to capped levels.

    • The Secretaries of Treasury and Labor have the regulatory authority to provide flexibility, so small businesses under 50 employees are not unduly harmed.
  • Unemployment Insurance

    • Provides $1 billion in 2020 emergency grant funds to states to administer unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Emergency Appropriations Providing

    • Emergency nutritional assistance for senior citizens, women, children and low-income families.

    • Significant funding for Medicaid programs.

    • Flexibility to ensure meals for low-income students who typically rely on school meals.

We are also closely monitoring our nation’s economic situation. The coronavirus has been met with mobilization of all federal resources, including swift action by the Federal Reserve on Sunday, to protect our economy from long-term impacts from the recent economic slowdown:

  • The Fed cut interest rates by one percentage-point to free-up lending by banks to businesses facing challenging economic headwinds.
  • The Fed purchased $700 billion in bonds to inject additional cash into the financial system for banks to lend out.
  • Terms for low-interest, short-term loans from the Federal Reserve to banks have been extended to 90 days.

I want to remind you that while our official offices are limiting in-person meetings and practicing social distancing, we are open and assisting constituents by phone and email.

I hope everyone is taking advantage of this time to spend some quality time with their families. I got some clay shooting in with my family today. (Pictured below with my daughter Caroline who is a good shot)

Lastly, I want to personally thank some of the true heroes who have stepped up during this crisis, the scientists, the doctors, the nurses and the first responders. As many Americans are sheltered in place or practicing social distancing, these brave Americans are on the front lines fighting this disease. 

As Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy started a call today, "We will continue to pray like it’s all up to Him, and work like it’s all up to us”... See you soon!


Dan Meuser

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