Oversight Tracker – Covid-19 Oversight Hub

As the pandemic rages on, the vital work of understanding exactly what went wrong — and how the federal government’s response has been so badly mismanaged — has already begun. From Congress to government watchdogs, keep track of who’s conducting oversight of the key issues in the Covid-19 response.

The Oversight Tracker monitors the ongoing investigations into the Covid-19 pandemic response. Primary source documents, reports, transcripts, and more can be found in the Public Documents and Reports Database, and you can view all of the priority issues that American Oversight is investigating in the Covid-19 Oversight Hub.

This database allows you to filter by Type (letters to the administration; announcements) and Investigating Entity (Congress; inspectors general; watchdog organizations).

You can also filter and sort by Topic:

• Business and Industry (meat-packing plants; workplace safety; restaurant reopenings; etc.)
• Communications Management (misinformation; messaging control; etc.)
• Elections and Campaigns
• Federal Management
• Immigration and Border Issues
• Influence and Access in Pandemic Response (private businesses, outside entities with sway over decisions)
• Medical Supplies and PPE
• Political Opportunism (using pandemic to push immigration restrictions; etc.)
• Relief Funds and Loans
• State and Federal Coordination
• State Issues (actions of individual states and cities)
• Testing
• Trump Family Business
• Vulnerable Populations (prisons; detention centers; nursing homes; etc.)
• Vaccines and Treatments

Return to the Covid-19 Oversight Hub
Date Title Topic(s)
12/01/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Pass Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

A bipartisan group of senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking them to pass the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act and to make the existing federal excise tax rates for alcohol beverage producers permanent. The senators wrote that the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated producers’ businesses, and that such economic harm would be compounded by an increase in their federal excise taxes.

12/01/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Extensions to PUA and PEUC in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Mark Warner and 31 other senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them to include extensions of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program in the next Covid-19 relief package. The senators also asked McConnell and Schumer to include additional weeks of benefits for both programs.

11/30/2020
Request to HHS and CMS to Approve OR Gov.’s Request to Extend Open Enrollment
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State Issues

Oregon’s congressional delegation wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma asking them to approve Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s request to extend Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace through Dec. 31, 2020, to ensure Oregonians have the opportunity to enroll in health coverage and protect themselves and their families during the Covid-19 pandemic.

11/24/2020
Request to DHS to Halt Deportations of Immigrants Posing No Safety Threat to U.S.
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism

Massachusetts’s congressional delegation wrote to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf urging his agency to immediately halt the deportations of immigrants who pose no public safety threat in the U.S. Given that Covid-19 cases have increased significantly across the country, the delegation noted that the detention and deportation of immigrants only served to increase the spread of the virus among detainees and to foreign countries.

11/23/2020
Request to GSA to Grant Biden-Harris Transition Team Access to Critical Information, Services, and Resources
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy urging her to grant the Biden-Harris transition team access to critical information, services, and resources. Chairman Bobby Scott noted that GSA’s failure to make the ascertainment designation and allow the transition to begin compromised the incoming Biden administration’s ability to implement testing and treatment plans for Covid-19. Moreover, Scott noted that delays in sharing critical information with the transition team endangered the lives of frontline workers and stalled the implementation of workplace safety measures. With regards to education, Scott stated that GSA’s delays were preventing incoming Department of Education personnel from adequately supporting schools, students, and teachers during the pandemic.

11/23/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Include Robust Funding for Swift Distribution of Covid-19 Vaccines in Future Legislation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Cory Booker and 16 other senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging them to provide robust funding for the swift distribution of Covid-19 vaccines in any upcoming legislation that addresses the pandemic.

11/23/2020
Request to GSA to Ascertain President-Elect Biden to Ensure Americans’ Environmental and Health Protections
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works wrote to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy criticizing GSA’s delay in providing resources and access to critical information to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Of relevance to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ranking Member Tom Carper expressed concern that the incoming administration was being hindered in its preparations to protect public health. Namely, lack of access to EPA career officials and data would prevent Biden’s team from further evaluating research demonstrating how air pollution results in more adverse outcomes from Covid-19. Moreover, lack of resources and access to also risked possible delays in the evaluation of surface disinfectants.

11/23/2020
Request to GSA to Begin Formal Presidential Transition
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

The Senate HELP Committee wrote to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy expressing concern over her efforts to delay the start of the formal presidential transition process. Ranking Member Patty Murray noted that delaying ascertainment could hamper the federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic and stated that allowing President-Elect Biden’s transition team to begin working with public health officials and to access resource and personnel needs for his incoming administration would be critical to achieving improved public health outcomes.

11/23/2020
Request to GSA to Ensure Peaceful Transition of Power for Biden-Harris Administration
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

The House Judiciary Committee wrote to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy calling on her to produce the ascertainment of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and to allow the transition team to receive proper briefings from DOJ and DHS. Of relevance to the Covid-19 pandemic, Chairman Jerry Nadler stated that the transition team needed to be briefed on the spread of Covid-19 throughout the federal penitentiary system.

11/23/2020
Request to GSA to Ascertain President-Elect Biden’s Victory and Begin Formal Transition
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

The Senate Finance Committee wrote to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy asking her to ascertain President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and begin the formal transition of power. Ranking Member Ron Wyden stated that in order to address the twin crises of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant economic downturn, Biden would need to have installed experienced staff at HHS and Treasury by Jan. 20, 2021, to ensure departments can mobilize the country’s public health and economic responses. Wyden noted that his committee would be responsible for confirming Biden’s nominees for HHS secretary, Treasury secretary, and other key positions such as assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families and CBP commissioner. Wyden said GSA’s delays would hamper the presidential transition by blocking funds necessary to conduct an orderly transition, prevent the Biden’s team from receiving critical information from outgoing officials at HHS and Treasury, and stall the vetting of nominees.

11/23/2020
Request to GSA to Ascertain Biden’s Victory and Enable Transition Amid Public Health Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy asking her to ascertain President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and facilitate a transition of power. Chairman James Clyburn detailed the critical importance of governmental preparedness in advancing public health, pointing to a number of ways in which the federal government failed to respond properly to the Covid-19 pandemic. He noted that the Trump administration’s failure to quickly ramp up testing hindered efforts to control the virus, and that the lack of uniformly implemented, nationwide public health measures led to a surge of infections across the country.

11/23/2020
Request to GSA to Ascertain Biden as President-Elect and Begin Transition Process
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The House Financial Services Committee wrote to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy to ascertain Joe Biden as president-elect and ensure his transition team can take immediate actions to prepare the incoming administration. Relevant to the handling the Covid-19 pandemic, Chairwoman Maxine Waters warned Murphy that her delay could lead to delays in extensions of evictions and foreclosure moratoria (which are set to expire at the end of 2020); delays in mobilizing resources for the production of PPE and other medical supplies; delays in support for small businesses and state and local governments; and could hamstring efforts to identify and mitigate threats to the country’s financial stability.

11/22/2020
Request to Yegg Inc. to Comply with Document Request Regarding Farmers to Families Food Box Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote a letter to Yegg CEO George Egbuonu asking for him to comply with a document request the subcommittee sent on Aug. 24, 2020, requesting his cooperation in an investigation of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. The subcommittee accused Yegg Inc. of withholding key documents needed to conduct its investigation.

11/20/2020
Request to SBA for Information on Status of SBA’s EIDL Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Committee on Small Business wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza seeking more information on the status of SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. The committee noted that publicly available data did not provide the level of detail needed to determine the effectiveness of EIDLs or the precise amount remaining in the fund. The committee expressed concern about the opaqueness of the EIDL process, while arguing that greater transparency among SBA, EIDL applicants, and Congress was necessary to strengthen the program and prevent fraud from occurring.

11/20/2020
Request to SBA, Treasury, and IRS Regarding Deductibility of Expenses Paid Using PPP Loans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Committee on Small Business wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig asking their agencies to reverse their stances on the deductibility of expenses paid for with funds obtained via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The IRS had issued multiple rulings in recent months treating loan proceeds as taxable, contrary to Congress’s intent under the CARES Act. The committee urged the Treasury and IRS to bring their positions in line with congressional intent.

11/19/2020
Request to Trump to Improve Security of Institutions Researching Covid-19 and to Condemn Hacking by Foreign Governments
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs wrote to President Trump urging him to improve the security of state, local, and private-sector institutions researching Covid-19 and to send a strong message to foreign governments attempting to hack into U.S. medical institutions that this behavior is unacceptable.

11/19/2020
Request to Trump to Facilitate Transfer of Power and Protect Well-Being of Americans During Surging Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote to President Trump urging him to direct his administration to begin the presidential transfer of power to preserve the U.S.’s democratic process and to protect the health and well-being of all Americans as the country faces a surging Covid-19 pandemic. Chairman Frank Pallone noted that delaying transition efforts may endanger public health by risking delays in a vaccine rollout, national strategy for testing, and distribution of crucial supplies.

11/19/2020
Request to GSA to Ascertain President-Elect Without Delay
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

Sen. Gary Peters and 40 other senators wrote to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy asking that she immediately ascertain Joe Biden as president-elect and Kamala Harris as vice president-elect, and make available the transition resources that are provided by law. The senators noted that GSA’s delay in created risks to national security and undermined Covid-19 response efforts as the U.S. death toll from climbed past 250,000. The GSA administrator’s ascertainment of a president-elect is critical for agencies’ willingness to share information with the transition team, including classified information, as well as for the expeditious processing of security clearances for candidates for high-level national security positions.

11/18/2020
Request to USDA Regarding Decision That Could Jeopardize SNAP Access for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Living in SLFs in Illinois
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Illinois’ congressional delegation wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue expressing concern regarding the availability of SNAP benefits for a group of supportive living facilities (SLFs) in Illinois serving low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities. Until recently, USDA routinely authorized new SLFs and reauthorized existing SLFs across Illinois as SNAP retailers, enabling facilities to serve meals by pooling SNAP benefits for eligible residents who would otherwise face difficulty using their SNAP benefits to purchase groceries. USDA had decided recently to oppose this long-standing arrangement; the delegation worried that this move could jeopardize access to SNAP for 8,000 vulnerable individuals during the Covid-19 pandemic, and asked Perdue to postpone the termination of this arrangement.

11/18/2020
Request to GAO to Provide Updates on Its Review of Potential Fraud in SBA’s Covid-19 Relief Programs
Source: Sen. Rick Scott
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Rick Scott wrote to GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro asking him to provide updates on GAO’s review of potential fraud in SBA’s Covid-19 relief programs, including PPP and EIDL.

11/17/2020
Request to NIH for Information on Status of OUD Research Programs and Plans to Mitigate Impact of Postponing Them
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren wrote to NIH Director Francis Collins expressing concern about how the postponement of addiction and behavioral health research programs at NIH due to the Covid-19 pandemic will impact the results of this research to the detriment of those struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD). The senators asked questions regarding the status of these programs and how NIH plans to mitigate the impact of postponement.

11/16/2020
Request to HHS, Defense, NIH, DHS, and FEMA for Contracts Issued for Development, Manufacturing, and Distribution of Therapeutics, Vaccines, Diagnostics, and Other Medical Products
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Katie Porter wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, NIH Director Francis Collins, Acting Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority Director Gary Disbrow, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, and FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor requesting information and documents for all federal contracts issued for the development, manufacturing, and distribution of therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics, and other medical products procured to identify, mitigate, treat, cure, and prevent the spread of Covid-19, including all contracts associated with Operation Warp Speed, BARDA, NIH, FEMA, and the Pentagon.

11/16/2020
Request to HHS for Information on Gilead Pricing Negotiations and Gilead’s Monopoly Control
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and five other senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar following up on a July 16 letter regarding his agency’s pricing negotiations with Gilead Sciences for a large supply of remdesivir. The senators noted that this arrangement allowed Gilead to charge American health insurers the highest price in the world for the drug, leading to revenues of up to almost half a billion dollars for the company. The senators requested answers to questions regarding the current status of HHS’s pricing negotiations with Gilead and whether it has plans to challenge Gilead’s monopoly control to ensure the drug is accessible.

11/16/2020
Request to BOP and DOJ for Information on Use of Copays in Federal Prisons and Impact on Spread of Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and multiple other members of Congress wrote to BOP Director Michael Carvajal and Attorney General William Barr requesting that the Bureau of Prisons and the Justice Department provide information on the use of copays in federal prisons during the Covid-19 pandemic.

11/13/2020
Request to OSHA to Investigate Iowa OSHA for Neglecting to Properly Address Workplace Safety Complaints
Type: Complaint
Investigating Entities: Multiple Iowa labor and civil rights groups
Business and Industry, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Eight Iowa labor and civil rights groups filed a federal complaint against Iowa OSHA alleging that the agency has been grossly negligent in protecting workers. Representing workers in meatpacking, the dairy industry, construction, transportation, health-care, nursing homes, and other industries, the groups filed a Complaint About State Program Administration with federal OSHA in an effort to force Iowa to protect workers from life-threatening conditions in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The advocacy groups urged federal OSHA to investigate Iowa OSHA; the complaint alleged that numerous workplaces failed to protect their workers and that Iowa OSHA did not properly investigate complaints.

11/12/2020
Request to HHS, Treasury, CMS, and IRS to Reverse Approval of Georgia Waivers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Committee on Finance, Senate HELP Committee, House Committee on Ways and Means, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, CMS Administrator Seema Verma, and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig expressing their concern regarding the Trump administration’s recent approval of waivers submitted by Georgia under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act and 1332 of the ACA. Under these waivers, Georgia would be allowed to impose work requirements and premiums on beneficiaries in its Medicaid program and to eliminate Healthcare.gov in the state. The committee leaders urged the administration to reverse approval of these waivers, which would make health care less accessible. The letter outlined how these waivers would be harmful to Georgia residents, violate federal statute, and compound challenges facing the state during the Covid-19 pandemic.

11/12/2020
Request to SBA for Information Regarding Potential Fraud in EIDL Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza expressing concern about SBA’s ability to detect and prevent fraud in the EIDL program, and requesting answers to several questions about the program. The letter, authored by Chairman Marco Rubio, comes after an Oct. 28 SBA IG report, which found that billions of dollars in potentially fraudulent EIDL loans and grants were made to ineligible businesses.

11/11/2020
Request to VA to Improve Data Collection on Veterans’ Race, Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Sherrod Brown wrote a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie asking the VA to improve its data collection of veterans’ race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity to effectively address health disparities. The letter comes in light of two GAO reports that highlighted the VA’s failure to accurately collect and analyze information about LGBTQ veterans and outlined the agency’s shortcomings in measuring and ensuring progress on health-care disparities linked to race and ethnicity. Of relevance to the Covid-19 pandemic, the letter noted that an analysis of the health records of 5.8 million veterans in VA care showed that Black and Hispanic individuals were twice as likely to test positive for Covid-19, even after accounting for underlying health conditions, other demographics, and geographic location.

11/10/2020
Request to FDA for Information Regarding Inspection of Foreign Drug Manufacturing Facilities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn requesting information regarding inspections of foreign drug manufacturing facilities. These inspections were suspended in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators expressed concern that, absent proper oversight of the drug supply chain and the overseas facilities manufacturing products millions of Americans rely on, patients will face an increased risk of drug contamination or other problems.

11/10/2020
Request to FHFA to Ensure Americans Are Not at Risk of Foreclosure During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Sherrod Brown and Jack Reed wrote to FHFA Director Mark Calabria expressing concern about recent loan sales by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that could put homeowners at risk of further delinquency or foreclosure. Fannie and Freddie had both recently sold large numbers of loans they previously guaranteed to private investors; the senators noted that unlike Fannie and Freddie, private purchasers of these loans are not obligated by Congress to provide forbearance to borrowers. Thus, unless FHFA requires Fannie and Freddie to secure contractual representations, warranties, or covenants obligating the new owners to continue offering the same loss-mitigation options, new owners are under no obligation to offer borrowers the post-forbearance options Fannie and Freddie created, nor are they obligated to pause foreclosures during the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators noted that they have repeatedly supported FHFA’s decision to extend a foreclosure moratorium to Fannie and Freddie borrowers to ensure that Americans are not at risk of losing their housing during the pandemic. However, FHFA’s decision to allow the sales to proceed undermined the protections it had put in place.

11/10/2020
Request to CDC to More Accurately Communicate Covid-19 Mortality Risks and Appropriately Adjust for Age, Race, and Ethnicity
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting clarification regarding his agency’s public communication about Covid-19 mortality as it relates to race, ethnicity, and age. Warren argued that by failing to adjust Covid-19 mortality rates by age in its public data releases, the CDC may not be providing an accurate assessment of the increased risk of death and serious illness for communities of color relative to white Americans of the same age. She urged the CDC to begin including age adjustments in its publications on mortality.

11/09/2020
Request to HHS for Steps to Ensure Adequate Resources and Personnel to Screen and Quarantine Incoming Travelers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar to follow up on a Jan. 15, 2020, letter inquiring about steps HHS was taking to ensure the U.S. was prepared for a Covid-19 outbreak. Feinstein asked Azar for information about what his agency was doing to ensure there were adequate resources and personnel at designated quarantine facilities to oversee the health of evacuees returning to the U.S. She also asked how the federal government planned to reimburse states and local governments assisting with Covid-19 evaluations, and what was being done to contact incoming travelers who were screened prior to the implementation of the 14-day quarantine period.

11/09/2020
Request to SIGPR to Review Role Lobbyists Are Playing in Helping Companies Secure CARES Act Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) Brian Miller criticizing a response he gave to her July 15 letter, in which Warren asked SIGPR to review and report on the role of lobbyists in the dispensation of CARES Act funds in the quarterly report to Congress. Warren stated that Miller’s response indicated that he was unwilling to conduct nonpartisan oversight investigations and was unwilling to do the work required to fulfill his role as chief watchdog of CARES Act funds. In this letter, Warren reiterated her original request that SIGPR conduct a nonpartisan review of the role lobbyists are playing in helping companies secure CARES Act aid, and the process through which executive agencies responsible for the dispensation of CARES Act grants, loans, and corporate bond purchases are addressing conflicts of interest and ethics. Warren also reiterated her request that SIGPR include analysis on the aforementioned topics in the next quarterly report to Congress.

11/02/2020
Request to OPM for Information on Efforts to Keep Federal Employees Safe During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Ways and Means Committee wrote to Office of Personnel Management Acting Director Michael Rigas seeking information regarding the Trump administration’s efforts to ensure federal employees and their families remain safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

10/30/2020
Request to Treasury and Federal Reserve to Address Large Racial Unemployment Gap
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Congressional Oversight Commissioner Bharat Ramamurti wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell regarding the Treasury’s and the Fed’s failure to ensure the programs they created under the CARES Act equitably served people of color and women. Pressley and Ramamurti asked that they use the monetary policy tools at their immediate disposal to quickly and directly address the outsized impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on communities of color and women, as well as the large racial unemployment gap.

10/30/2020
Request to Largest Energy Companies to Suspend Utility Shutoffs for the Duration of Covid-19 Public Health Emergency
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sen. Sherrod Brown and eight other senators wrote to the CEOs of the nation’s largest energy companies urging them to suspend all utility shutoffs until the Covid-19 public health emergency has ended. The companies addressed include: Duke Energy, Southern Company, Exelon Corporation, FirstEnergy, American Electric Power, Xcel Energy, Entergy Corporation, Dominion Energy, PPL Corporation, Public Service Enterprise Group, Ameren Corporation, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, American Water, Aqua America, Corix Group of Companies, Comcast, Charter Communications, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Cox Communications, and Lumen Technologies.

10/30/2020
Request to HHS for Clarification on Coverage Requirements for Covid-19 Testing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

Sen. Rick Scott and seven other senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking for clarification about its guidance on free Covid-19 testing for all. The senators noted that changes made in tri-agency guidance published on June 23 created some confusion regarding coverage requirements. The senators noted that there had been increasing coverage denials from health plans for Covid-19 testing, particularly for asymptomatic individuals, and asked Azar to update the guidance to clarify that individuals who need a test can receive one without cost-sharing, medical management, or prior authorization, regardless of whether the individual is symptomatic.

10/30/2020
Request to Treasury and Federal Reserve for Extension of Municipal Liquidity Facility
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: American Securities Association
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The American Securities Association wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell urging them to extend the Municipal Liquidity Facility and expand eligible issuers, allow for lower rates, and longer repayment terms. ASA stated in their letter that they believe that the current MLF rates are significantly higher than necessary, and that the MLF’s current 36-month repayment term is too short.

10/29/2020
Request to Vice Pres. Pence to Stop Administration from Pressuring CDC Officials to Sign Off on Statement Claiming that Housing Migrant Children in Hotels Was the Best Way to Protect Them Against COVID-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Patty Murray wrote to Vice President Mike Pence following reports that administration officials tried to pressure CDC experts to sign onto a statement claiming that housing migrant children in hotels was the best way to protect them against Covid-19. She asked the administration to stop pressuring CDC scientists to sign this declaration and noted that these hotels were reportedly open to the public and do not provide decreased exposure to Covid-19. Additionally, she pointed out that whereas shelters overseen by HHS are licensed and run by individuals with specific training, the hotels are run by third-party contractors with minimal training for dealing with the unique needs of migrant children. Murray also noted that licensed shelters overseen by HHS are expected to provide access to legal services, education, and other programming that is unlikely to be provided in a hotel run by a third-party contractor.

10/29/2020
Request to GSA Inspector General to Investigate Abuse of Federal Contracting Process to Subvert Ethics Laws to Hire Slaoui
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Katie Porter wrote to General Services Administration Inspector General Carol Fortine Ochoa requesting an investigation of the Trump administration’s abuse of the federal contracting process to subvert ethics laws for Dr. Moncef Slaoui. Slaoui leads Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the administration’s COVID-19 vaccine research and development efforts. The administration hired Slaoui as OWS’s chief scientist via a contract with Advanced Decision Vectors, LLC, which allowed him to evade the ethics and conflict of interest requirements that apply to government employees. Warren and Richard Blumenthal, and Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Katie Porter, also wrote a letter to Slaoui asking him to resolve his outstanding conflicts of interest in order to ensure the public’s confidence in any Covid-19 vaccines developed by OWS (https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.10.29%20Letter%20to%20Slaoui%20re%20financial%20conflicts.pdf).

10/29/2020
Request to Dr. Moncef Slaoui to Resolve Conflicts of Interest
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Richard Blumenthal, and Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Katie Porter, wrote to Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed (OWS), asking him to resolve his financial conflicts of interest and expressing concern over the unusual consulting arrangement that allowed him to avoid disclosing or resolving these conflicts. Slaoui formerly worked at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and refused to sell his stock in GSK or to fully disclose the value of his financial holdings. GSK secured a federal contact of up to $2.1 billion through OWS to supply 100 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, the biggest vaccine deal to date. Slaoui reportedly continues to hold leadership positions with SutroVax, Medicxi, and Galvani Bioelectronics, and he previously served on the board of drug manufacturer Moderna. To avoid having to fully disclose or resolve these conflicts, Slaoui currently works for the federal government as a contractor with Advanced Decision Vectors, LLC. On this matter, Warren and Porter wrote to GSA Inspector General Carol Fontine Ochoa to investigate the contracting process and the terms through which Slaoui was hired by Advance Decision. (https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Letter%20to%20GSA%20re_%20Ethics%20and%20Slaoui%2010.29.20.pdf).

10/29/2020
Request to Federal Reserve for Information on Decision to Prop Up Energy Companies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Rep. Rashida Tlaib wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell requesting clarification as to why the Fed was financially propping up firms like Marathon Petroleum, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and other energy companies, while failing to sufficiently help cities and municipalities grappling with losses in tax revenue and costs associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Tlaib cited a report by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis that showed that the Fed’s Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility portfolio included the bonds of 95 companies that paid out dividends to their shareholders even as they laid off workers.

10/28/2020
Request to HHS and NIH to Reject Human Fetal Tissue Ethics Advisory Board Recommendations
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Twenty-two state attorneys general
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Vaccines and Treatments

Twenty-two state attorneys general wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and NIH Director Francis Collins asking them to reject recommendations made by NIH’s Human Fetal Tissue Ethics Advisory Board, which would limit federal funding for treatments and therapies for various health conditions, including Covid-19. The AGs noted that Regeneron, one of the drugs used to treat President Trump after he was diagnosed with Covid-19, was tested in cells derived from fetal tissue.

10/28/2020
Request to FDA and FTC to Eliminate Sale, Distribution, and Prescription of Thymosin Alpha-1 for Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vaccines and Treatments

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and FTC Chairman Joseph Simons seeking information about FDA and FTC efforts to eliminate the sale, distribution, and prescription of the drug thymosin alpha-1 for treating Covid-19, citing a report noting that more than 30 medical practice groups and compounding pharmacies across more than a dozen states have made false claims about thymosin alpha-1 on their websites and on social media since the pandemic began. The committee noted that such false claims appear to be illegal and ought to be subject to strict enforcement by FDA and FTC. The committee also asked FDA and FTC to open an investigation into VitaLifeMD (one of the medical groups peddling false claims) and to take all appropriate action against the company and its principals. VitaLifeMD has falsely claimed that thymosin alpha-1 is an “FDA-approved” drug that worked like “magic” and was “one of the best ways to prevent and fight” coronavirus.

10/28/2020
Request to HHS to Ensure Federal Funding for Critical Public Health Programs Is Not Withheld for Political Reasons
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, State Issues

Sens. Jeff Merkley, Patty Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand, Chuck Schumer, Ron Wyden, Cory Booker, and Maria Cantwell wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking HHS to ensure that millions of dollars in federal funding for critical public health programs will not be withheld for political reasons in the middle of a pandemic. President Trump and Attorney General William Barr have threatened to withhold the funding as part of a politically motivated scheme to punish Democratic-leaning cities where residents have been protesting for racial justice. The senators requested that HHS respond to the letter within two weeks with a copy of the compiled report of federal grants, funding awards, and health programs from all agencies HHS oversees; an explanation for how HHS plans to implement Trump’s directives regarding punishing Portland, Seattle, New York, and Washington, D.C.; and an explanation as to whether Trump’s directives will influence the granting or withholding of Covid-19 relief funds.

10/28/2020
Request to Education Department to Extend Suspension of Federal Student Loan Payments Until Sept. 2021
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: 77 community civil rights consumer and student advocacy organizations
Education

Seventy-seven community, civil rights, consumer, and student advocacy organizations wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos urging her agency to extend the suspension of payments on federal student loans through September 2021 amid the Covid-19 crisis. The signatories noted that the current suspension on federal student loans is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020, and that if the department does note extend the suspension, borrowers will find it difficult to repay loans and make ends meet

10/28/2020
Request to HHS for Documents Regarding Advertising Campaign to ‘Defeat Despair and Inspire Hope’ Amid Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar pointing out his “complete failure” to comply with previous requests for documents regarding a $250 million contract awarded by the Trump administration to launch a massive advertising campaign to “defeat despair and inspire hope” amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The letter also contained new documents obtained from contractors involved in the campaign. The committee noted that they first wrote to Azar seeking documents about his agency’s contract with Fors Marsh Group on Sept. 10, 2020. On Oct. 1, the committee sought additional documents from HHS concerning a $15 million communications contract awarded to Atlas Research LLC. The committee’s most recent letter reiterated its requests for documents and provided additional instructions for complying with the requests.

10/28/2020
Request to HHS and CDC for Information on Efforts to Respond to Alarming Excess Mortality Associated with Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, and Tina Smith wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting information on what their agencies are doing to understand and respond to the alarming excess mortality rates associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

10/27/2020
Request to HHS, CDC, and ED to Provide National Reporting of Covid-19 Cases in K-12 Schools
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Testing

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, CDC Director Robert Redfield, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking their agencies to provide complete, transparent, and timely national reporting of Cocid-19 cases in K-12 schools. The senators noted that as schools have begun the new academic year operating in person, remotely, or with a hybrid approach, there has been wide variation in the reporting and tracking of Covid-19 cases at schools that provide in-person learning. To date, the administration had not formulated or disseminated a national method for reporting and tracking Covid-19 cases in schools, resulting in inconsistent, unreliable, and unavailable data. In their letter, the senators further criticized DeVos for saying it was not her agency’s job to track schools’ re-openings or infection rates.

10/27/2020
Request to FEMA to Clarify Covid-19 Public Assistance Policies and Reasons for Denying Illinois’ Claims
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Illinois’ congressional delegation wrote to FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor expressing concern about the agency’s processing of Illinois’ public assistance requests as they relate to Covid-19 expenses. To date, the delegation noted that FEMA has approved less than 5 percent of Illinois’ submitted claims, taking an average of more than 90 days to process a claim. The delegation requested clarification on these policies and denials, while urging FEMA to be transparent, timely, and communicative as they enforce administrative requirements.

10/26/2020
Request to USDA to Reverse Decision Regarding Reimbursements Under Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking his agency to reverse course on new classifications that exclude meat produced from breeding animals for eligibility for reimbursement under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 2. Schumer and Gillibrand noted that while milk is the primary source of income for dairy farmers, these farmers often run diversified operations with significant revenue coming from the meat of cows retired from milking. Under the first version of CFAP, farmers could claim reimbursement and federal assistance for losses from meat production no matter the purpose for which their livestock was raised. However, in the second version of CFAP, farmers can only claim reimbursement and assistance for losses from meat production for livestock specifically raised for slaughter. The senators expressed concern about the effect of CFAP 2 on New York’s dairy industry, which has already suffered losses due to the pandemic and economic downturn.

10/26/2020
Request to DEA to Implement a Telemedicine Special Registration Process to Enable Providers to Safely Prescribe MAT to Treat OUD Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: More than 80 medical and health organizations
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

More than 80 medical and health organizations wrote to Acting DEA Administrator Timothy Shea asking him to expedite and complete its efforts to implement a telemedicine special registration process, which would enable providers to safely prescribe controlled substances remotely. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the opioid overdose crisis has increased; the use of telemedicine during the pandemic, they argued, has demonstrated the value of increased access to telemedicine to enable all qualified providers, including Community Mental Health Centers and addiction treatment facilities, to prescribe Medication Assisted Treatment to patients with Opioid Use Disorder.

10/23/2020
Request to Senate Armed Services Committee to Hold Hearing on Defense Department Role in Operation Warp Speed
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Mazie Hirono wrote to Sens. James Inhofe (chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee) and Jack Reed (ranking member) requesting that the committee (SASC) hold a hearing regarding the Defense Department’s role in Operation Warp Speed (OWS). Warren and Hirono noted that despite the department’s outsized role in the vaccine development and distribution process, SASC has yet to hold a public hearing dedicated exclusively to its efforts to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators stated that while the inner workings of OWS are largely unknown, recent reports have shed light on its structure and hierarchy. Most notably, a leaked organizational chart revealed that military personnel vastly outnumber civilian scientists, and that about 60 of the approximately 90 OWS leaders are employed by Defense.

10/22/2020
Request to IRS About 2021 Filing Season
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Committee on Ways and Means wrote a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to determine the status of, and the IRS’s preparedness for, the upcoming 2021 tax return filing season amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The letter contained questions about when the filing season would begin, what date the IRS expected to open the filing season, and whether the IRS is prepared.

10/22/2020
Request to HHS to Comply with Select Subcommittee’s Sept. 14 Request
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Political Opportunism

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar urging his compliance with the subcommittee’s Sept. 14, 2020, request for transcribed interviews and documents regarding efforts by HHS political appointees to interfere with CDC scientific reports and guidance during the Covid-19 crisis. HHS had, to date, produced no documents or witnesses in response to these requests. Rep. James Clyburn, chairman of the subcommittee, sent a second letter on Sept. 22 emphasizing the urgency of the investigation and offering accommodations. On Oct. 2, Azar testified before the subcommittee that HHS was in the “final stages” of getting the requested documents arranged for release. However, in the nearly three weeks since his testimony, HHS had refused to commit to any interviews or produce any documents despite repeated follow-up efforts from the subcommittee.

10/22/2020
Request to USDA to Reverse Decision to Exclude Dairy Farmers from Receiving Covid-19 Relief
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Debbie Stabenow and 14 other senators wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking the USDA to reverse its decision to exclude dairy farmers from receiving Covid-19 relief to cover losses related to meat production. The senators argued that USDA has sufficient resources to cover these losses, and stated that it would be less complicated for relief to cover all livestock and avoid confusion about what animals are covered or excluded. Additionally, the senators noted that while milk is the primary income for dairy farms, dairy farms often diversify their operations, with significant revenue often coming from the meat of cows that have been “retired” from milking.

10/22/2020
Request to CFPB for Information on How Agency Will Prevent Foreclosures
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs wrote a letter to CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger asking how the Consumer and Financial Protection Bureau would work to ensure that mortgage borrowers who face a long-term loss of income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic are not compelled to exit mortgage forbearance and experience foreclosure. Sen. Sherrod Brown, canking member of the committee, noted that while some borrowers will be able to resume their regular payments by using the deferral or partial claim processes set up by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, or their private lender, other borrowers will be unable to resume their prior payments and will need more time to enter a modification with their servicer to make their payments more affordable. Brown pointed out that the modification process can take time, and during that time, the committee was concerned that mortgage servicers may put borrowers on track for foreclosure.

10/22/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Prioritize Development of Comprehensive Plans for Future Pandemics
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

More than one hundred members of the House and Senate wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging them to prioritize the development of comprehensive policy plans to prevent and mitigate the impact of future pandemics. In the letter, the members outlined the steps necessary to prevent future pandemics, while also noting that Congress must provide relief to Americans suffering from the current Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn.

10/21/2020
Request to DHS and State IGs for Investigation Into Trump Administration’s Shipment of Ventilators to and from Russia
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to State Department Acting Inspector General Matthew Klimow and DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari requesting an investigation into the shipment of ventilators to and from Russia during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. The letter noted that the U.S. sent 200 ventilators to Russia at a cost of $5.6 million to American taxpayers; less than two months earlier, FEMA accepted 45 Russian ventilators that were electrically incompatible and unsafe for use in the U.S.

10/21/2020
Request to Education Department to Ensure Federal Student Loan Borrowers Can Access Relief
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Patty Murray and 33 other senators wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking that she ensure federal student loan borrowers can gain access to crucial federal relief. Since March 2020, the CARES Act has provided forbearance, waived interest, and halted collections for borrowers whose student loans were directly held by the Department of Education. But, according to new information provided by the Education Department to Murray, 8.2 million federal student loan borrowers currently cannot take advantage of this relief because some or all of their loans do not qualify. Of those borrowers, 4.4 million are not receiving any relief, and 3.8 million have a mix of loans that qualify and those that do not. In their letter, the senators urged DeVos to ensure that these borrowers do not continue to face unnecessary financial struggles and confusion, and to take immediate action to help them qualify for relief.

10/20/2020
Request to HHS and Treasury to Conduct Analysis of Impact of ACA Repeal During Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 15 other senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asking their agencies to conduct an analysis of how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act in California v. Texas would affect health-care coverage in the United States, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

10/20/2020
Request to EPA to Implement and Strengthen Environmental Justice Mapping and Screening Efforts
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler asking that he use and improve equity screening and mapping tools to identify and invest in vulnerable communities, specifically requesting the agency to submit a plan within the next two months to improve the EJSCREEN tool and expand its use in federal environmental decision-making. Warren couched EPA’s inaction within a larger discussion of how compounding environmental and health inequities have led to poor health outcomes for communities of color from Covid-19.

10/20/2020
Request to Justice Department to Rescind Support of California v. Texas
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 19 other senators wrote to Attorney General William Barr requesting that the Justice Department immediately rescind its support of the Supreme Court lawsuit California v. Texas, which seeks to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. The senators noted that because of the Covid-19 pandemic, uninsured rates could spiral even further if the ACA’s preexisting conditions protections were overturned. Health experts warned that without the ACA, health insurers could classify Covid-19 as a pre-existing condition and deny Covid-19 survivors health insurance.

10/19/2020
Request to Cargo Carriers to Return Millions in PSP Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote letters to four cargo carriers — Atlas Air, Kalitta Air, Western Global Airlines, and Amerijet International — that received more than $630 million total from the Treasury as part of the Payroll Support Program (PSP, which was created to preserve aviation jobs) despite reports of these companies’ financial success during the Covid-19 pandemic. Rep. James Clyburn, subcommittee chairman, called on these companies to either return the money or to demonstrate that they needed the funds to keep workers on the payroll. The letters to Atlas Air, Kalitta Air, Western Global Airlines, and Amerijet International can be found here in the order listed: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-10-19.Clyburn%20to%20Dietrich%20re%20Cargo%20Carrier%20Letter%20Atlas%20Air%20FINAL.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-10-19.Clyburn%20to%20Kalitta%20re%20Cargo%20Carrier%20Letter%20Kalitta%20Air%20.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-10-19.Clyburn%20to%20Neff%20re%20Cargo%20Carrier%20Letter%20Western%20Global%20Airlines%20.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-10-19.Clyburn%20to%20Strauss%20re%20Cargo%20Carrier%20Letter%20Amerijet%20.pdf

10/16/2020
Request to FHFA to Assist Homeowners Struggling to Pay Mortgages Amid Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria asking that his agency direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to require mortgage servicers to automatically grant forbearance to borrowers who are delinquent for 60 days or more. Rep. James Clyburn, the chairman of the subcommittee, noted that although forbearance is currently an option for delinquent mortgage holders, data obtained by the subcommittee showed that a substantial number of delinquent borrowers, particularly borrowers with the lowest incomes, had not obtained forbearance as of August 2020 and were in need of financial relief.

10/16/2020
Request to Pence and White House Coronavirus Task Force to End Political Interference from the White House in CDC’s Covid-19 Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Political Opportunism

The Senate HELP Committee wrote to Vice President Mike Pence expressing concern regarding reports surrounding the administration’s continued political interference with the decision-making of public health officials at the CDC. Sen. Patty Murray, ranking member, urged Pence and others on the White House Coronavirus Task Force to end the administration’s interference and to heed the guidance of public health experts.

10/16/2020
Request for Information on How FDA Is Ensuring Covid-19 Drugs and Vaccines Will Be Safe for Older Adults
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Margaret Wood Hassan and six other senators wrote to FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn requesting information on how the FDA is ensuring that phase three clinical trials will provide adequate data and information on the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 drugs (including biologics) and vaccines in older adults.

10/15/2020
Request to SEC and Commodities Futures Trading Commission to Conduct Insider Trading Investigation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Political Opportunism

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and Chairman and Chief Executive of the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission Heath Tarbert asking them to conduct an insider trading investigation after reports that in February, President Trump administration officials privately gave dire warnings to conservative allies and Republican donors about the risks to the economy from the Covid-19 pandemic. During this time, Trump was publicly optimistic about the virus, saying that Covid-19 was “very much under control.” Warren noted that Trump’s top advisers were reportedly indicating to donors and other members of the Hoover Institution’s board of directors that they should “(s)hort everything…betting on the idea that the stock prices of companies would soon fall.”

10/14/2020
Request to Treasury and Federal Reserve to Expand and Improve Upon MLF
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: National Associations and Organizations
Relief Funds and Loans

The Government Finance Officers Association, International City/County Management Association, National Association of Counties, National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers, National Association of State Treasurers, National League of Cities, and the United States Conference of Mayors wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell emphasizing the importance of the Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF). The coalition, which represents state and local governments and finance officers, provided recommendations for improving the MLF and its responsiveness to issuers of governmental securities, including that it be extended into 2021 and expanded to a greater number of eligible issuers. The coalition requested that the MLF’s 36-month term be extended and that borrowers have greater flexibility over its usage. Lastly, the coalition recommended that the Fed create a Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility. Many of these recommendations were reflected in the Congressional Oversight Commission’s Fifth Report.

10/14/2020
Request to HHS to Release Funds for LIHEAP at Highest Level Possible Under Current Continuing Resolution
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

A bipartisan group of senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar urging his agency to release funds for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) as quickly and at the highest level possible under the current continuing resolution. The senators noted that millions of low-income families face severe economic hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and that releasing LIHEAP funds would reduce the likelihood that low-income households would have to choose between heating their homes and affording other necessities like food or medicine.

10/14/2020
Tracking Covid-19 in Congregate Care Facilities to Protect People with Disabilities and Older Americans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate HELP Committee minority staff wrote a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma asking CMS to track Covid-19 in congregate care facilities in order to better protect seniors and persons with disabilities, and better understand the impact of Covid-19 on these vulnerable populations. The senators noted that CMS has the responsibility and authority to expand current reporting requirement regulations beyond nursing homes to include other Medicaid-funded institutions.

10/14/2020
Request to Fed, NCUA, FDIC, and Comptroller of the Currency to Respond and Prepare to Threats to Financial Stability
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress

Sen. Sherrod Brown, ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, wrote to Federal Reserve Vice Chair of Supervision Randal Quarles, NCUA Chair Rodney Hood, FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams, and Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks expressing concern over the lack of action by financial regulators to protect the U.S. economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Brown noted that “watchful waiting” and deregulation were insufficient regulatory responses, and urged the addressees to respond to and prepare for threats to financial stability before the economy and working families suffer more.

10/14/2020
Request to DOL and OSHA for Rationale on Making Changes to Reporting Requirements
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia and OSHA Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt expressing concern over a recent OSHA policy change that will undermine efforts to protect worker safety and result in reduced reporting of coronavirus-related workplace hospitalizations and fatalities. OSHA requires workplace fatalities to be reported to OSHA within eight hours and any hospitalization must be reported within 24 hours; previous OSHA policy started the reporting clock when a worker is hospitalized or dies. However, OSHA recently altered the reporting policy for Covid-19 hospitalizations and fatalities so that the reporting clock starts at the time of an exposure incident. The committee noted that because no one is hospitalized within 24 hours of exposure to Covid-19, these changes will result in no Covid-related hospitalizations being reported to OSHA. In addition, Covid-related deaths often occur more than 30 days after exposure, meaning that very few will be reported to OSHA. The committee requested a detailed description of OSHA’s justification for making changes to the reporting requirements, as well as communication between OSHA and DOL or outside parties on this issue.

10/14/2020
Request to Education Department Inspector General on Compliance with Equitable Services Requirement of Education Stabilization Fund Grants
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Education and Labor Committee, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education wrote to the Department of Education’s Inspector General asking for an audit of the department’s monitoring of states’ and localities’ compliance with the equitable services requirement of Education Stabilization Fund grants. The CARES Act required local educational agencies (LEAs) to provide equitable services “in the same manner” as section 1117 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. However, the committees claimed that the department distorted the plain language of this section, first through unauthorized
guidance, and then through unauthorized rulemaking, creating confusion and forcing LEAs to choose between delaying the use of some of their CARES funds or diverting more than a billion dollars of federal emergency aid from public school students to serve private school students.

10/13/2020
Walt Disney Company Layoffs Amid Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to Walt Disney Company Executive Chairman Robert Iger and CEO Bob Chapek expressing concern about Disney’s recent decision to lay off 28,000 employees. The executives cited the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic recession as reasons for the layoffs. However, Warren noted that the company prioritized the enrichment of executives and stockholders through hefty compensation packages, and billions of dollars’ worth of dividend payments and stock buybacks in recent years, weakening Disney’s financial ability to weather economic downturns. Warren requested more information on the Disney board’s actions prior to the announcement of these layoffs, and why the company prioritized risky stock buybacks and high executive pay over its workers. Warren requested more information about which workers would be laid off and how decisions about layoffs were reached, the specific monthly cost savings expected for Disney as a result of these layoffs, whether Disney will provide laid-off employees with guaranteed health benefits or other forms of protection during the pandemic, and to what extent share buybacks and dividend payments in recent years have benefited top executives and members of the board.

10/13/2020
Request to CDC for Information on Whether Trump Administration Exerted Undue Political Influence on ‘No Sail Order’
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism

The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation (House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee) wrote a letter to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield expressing concern over press reports alleging the Trump administration intervened on a CDC decision regarding when cruise ships could safely resume sailing. CDC allegedly attempted to extend the “No Sail Order” to Feb. 15, 2021, to help contain the spread of Covid-19, but following White House involvement, the extension was shortened to the end of October 2020. The subcommittee requested records and communications related to the decision to shorten the extension on the order.

10/09/2020
Request to HHS to Clarify Whether Trump Administration Is Pursuing Herd Immunity Strategy to Combat Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting that he clarify whether the Trump administration is responding to the Covid-19 crisis with a herd immunity “strategy.” During the select subcommittee’s Oct. 2, 2020, hearing on HHS’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, Rep. Jamie Raskin asked Azar whether he supported the herd immunity strategy advocated by President Trump, White House health policy adviser Scott Atlas, and former HHS appointee Paul Alexander. Azar replied: “Herd immunity is not the strategy of the U.S. government with regard to coronavirus.” However, lawmakers noted that on Oct. 5, Azar met with Atlas and three other outspoken proponents of pursuing a herd immunity strategy in response to the pandemic — a strategy rejected by the vast majority of public health experts. Following the meeting, Azar tweeted that it provided “strong reinforcement” of the administration’s strategy, while HHS has refused to comment on whether the administration is pursuing herd immunity.

10/09/2020
Request to Aviation Contractors Receiving the Most PSP Loans to Halt Layoffs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote letters to the seven aviation contractors receiving the most Payroll Support Program (PSP) funds, asking that they forgo any layoffs or furloughs until all PSP funds awarded to them have been expended. The letters follow the release of a staff report revealing that the Treasury allowed aviation contractors to fire thousands of workers, even as these companies received hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds intended to protect those workers’ jobs. The letters, sent to DAL Global Services LLC; Menzies Aviation, Inc.; Flying Food Fare Inc.; Swissport USA, Inc.; Gate Group; Sky Chefs, Inc.; and Worldwide Flight Services, Inc., are linked here in the order listed: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-10-09.Clyburn%20to%20Taylor%20re%20PSP%20Follow%20up%20letter%20DAL%20Global%20Services%20LLC.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-10-09.Clyburn%20to%20Redmond%20re%20PSP%20Follow%20up%20letter%20to%20Menzies%20Aviation%20Inc.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-10-09.Clyburn%20to%20Cotton%20re%20PSP%20Follow%20up%20letter%20Flying%20Food.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-10-09.Clyburn%20to%20Mena%20re%20PSP%20Follow%20up%20letter%20Swissport.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-10-09.Clyburn%20to%20Rossinyol%20re%20PSP%20Follow%20up%20letter%20Gate%20Gourmet.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-10-09.Clyburn%20to%20Rutjes%20re%20PSP%20Follow%20up%20letter%20Sky%20Chefs%20Inc.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-10-09.Clyburn%20to%20Simpson%20re%20PSP%20Follow%20up%20letter%20Worldwide%20Flight%20Services%20Inc.pdf

10/09/2020
Request to Senate Judiciary Chairman Not to Proceed with Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings Unless Covid-19 Testing Procedures Implemented
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

Sens. Patrick Leahy, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris wrote to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham asking him not to proceed with Supreme Court confirmation hearings unless stringent Covid-19 testing procedures are implemented immediately. The senators noted that two committee members have tested positive for Covid-19 and others have thus far refused to be tested. The senators told Graham that without testing procedures in place, the hearings could threaten the safety and health of those attending in person.

10/09/2020
Request to USDA for Information Related to Farmers to Families Food Box Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vulnerable Populations

The Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations (House Agriculture Committee) wrote to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue expressing concern over USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program, especially as the agency continues to delay the subcommittee’s review and oversight of the program. The members requested USDA respond to a series of questions about the program, including those pertaining to contracts and contract amounts, misleading or inaccurate information provided by contracted entities, and contractor noncompliance with the program’s regulations, among other issues.

10/08/2020
Request to HHS for Information on Reported Plans to Cut Medicare and Medicaid Funding from Hospitals That Do Not Comply with New COVID-19 Reporting Requirements
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy (House Committee on Oversight and Reform) wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting information about reported plans to impose penalties — the loss of Medicare and Medicaid funding — against hospitals that do not satisfactorily comply with new Covid-19 reporting requirements. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi noted that this move could potentially strip health care from millions of Americans who receive inpatient and outpatient care at hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid.

10/08/2020
Request to SBA to Release Data from Covid-19 Relief Programs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (chairwoman, House Committee on Small Business) wrote a letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza requesting that SBA release data related to Covid-19 relief programs. In her letter, Velázquez asked SBA to comply with data requests from GAO related to SBA’s Covid-19 response programs, specifically the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program.

10/08/2020
Request to HHS for Inclusive Strategy for Distributing Covid-19 Vaccinations
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

Rep. Richard Neal (Chairman, House House Ways and Means Committee) wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking the Trump administration to develop an inclusive, comprehensive strategy for distributing Covid-19 vaccinations to all Americans. In his letter, Neal raised concerns that more than 61 million adults with disabilities and more than 25 million individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) could be excluded from HHS’s plans to distribute a vaccine.

10/08/2020
Request to GAO to Investigate Extent to Which Political Interference at CDC and FDA Violated Agencies’ Scientific Integrity and Communication Policies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management, Political Opportunism

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Gary Peters, and Patty Murray wrote to GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro asking GAO to conduct an investigation to understand the extent to which undue political influence at CDC and FDA has violated the agencies’ scientific integrity and communication policies.

10/07/2020
Request to HHS for Information on Decision to Allow LDTs to Come to Market Without FDA Review
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting answers to a series of questions concerning his decision to overrule career scientists at FDA by announcing that the Trump administration would allow laboratory-developed tests (LDTs), including those for Covid-19, to come to market without FDA review.

10/07/2020
Request to Big Banks for Information on Assessing and Mitigating Risks Resulting from Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent letters to the largest banks —those with more than $250 billion in total consolidated assets — requesting information on how these institutions are assessing and mitigating risks resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Warren raised concerns about the Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ lack of transparency about the methods and findings of its recent stress tests and noted that banks may not be prepared for the economic fallout in the coming months, especially if households and businesses do not receive needed relief from Congress.

10/07/2020
Request to White House Chief of Staff and Secret Service for Information About Outbreaks Linked to White House
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Cory Booker wrote letters to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and U.S. Secret Service Director James Murray requesting information about Covid-19 outbreaks linked to the White House. In his letter to Meadows, Booker requested an overview of steps being taken to protect the health and safety of staff who work on the White House grounds. In a separate letter to Murray, Booker requested a full list and contact information for all individuals who attended or worked at President Trump’s Oct. 1, 2020, event in Bedminster, N.J.; Booker asked that information be sent to the New Jersey Department of Health to assist with contact-tracing efforts. Booker’s letter to Meadows can be found here: https://www.booker.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/WH%20COVID%20letter7.pdf. His letter to Murray can be found here: https://www.booker.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Letter%20to%20Secret%20Service%20RE%20Trump%20Fundraiser_10_07_20_Final.pdf.

10/07/2020
Request to Retail Covid-19 Testing Providers Companies for Information on Lack of Pediatric Testing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Testing, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote letters to five of the largest retail Covid-19 testing providers and the National Community Pharmacists Association requesting information on the availability of pediatric testing for Covid-19 at their testing sites. The senators noted that families are having difficulty obtaining tests for their young children and that the limited availability to pediatric testing would likely disproportionately impact people of color. Testing sites in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in major cities face higher demand than those in predominantly white neighborhoods, making tests harder to obtain. The senators also noted that a recent CDC study found that children who have died from Covid-19 were significantly more likely to be Black, Hispanic, or American Indian/Alaskan Native. The letters were sent to CVS Health, Kroger, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Walmart, and the National Community Pharmacists Association, each of which participate in the HHS’s Community-Based Testing program. The letters are linked here, in the order mentioned: https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.10.07%20Letter%20to%20CVS%20re%20pediatric%20testing.pdf; https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.10.07%20Letter%20to%20Kroger%20re%20pediatric%20testing.pdf; https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.10.07%20Letter%20to%20Rite%20Aid%20re%20pediatric%20testing1.pdf; https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.10.07%20Letter%20to%20Walgreen%20re%20pediatric%20testing.pdf; https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.10.07%20Letter%20to%20Walmart%20re%20pediatric%20testing.pdf; https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.10.07%20Letter%20to%20NCPA%20re%20pediatric%20testing.pdf

10/07/2020
Request to Mark Meadows to Allow Contact Tracers to Investigate White House Covid-19 Outbreak
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows asking that he allow contact tracers to investigate the large outbreak of Covid-19 cases affecting President Trump and White House staff.

10/06/2020
Finalizing ‘Partial Fill’ Regulations as Opioid Overdose Deaths Rise and Pandemic Continues
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Dianne Feinstein, and Shelley Moore Capito, and Reps. Katherine Clark and Steve Stivers wrote to Acting DEA Administrator Timothy Shea asking DEA to finalize “partial fill” regulations as opioid overdose rates increase nationwide and the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have an outsized impact of patients suffering from opioid use disorder. Lawmakers had previously written to DEA requesting that it update its regulations so that Section 702 could be fully implemented. Section 702 of the 2016 Comprehensive Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act allows patients to take home only a portion of their opioid prescription and then return to have the remainder filled if their pain continues, thereby affording both patients and doctors greater control over the amount of opiates in their possession and in circulation. However, the DEA’s current definition of “partial fill” only allows a “partial fill” if the pharmacist does not have enough medication to completely fill a prescription. The members argued that this definition prevents pharmacists from fulfilling the intent of Section 702.

10/06/2020
Request to Texas Gov. Abbott to Rescind Early Vote-by-Mail Proclamation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Reps. James Clyburn (Chairman, House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis), Carolyn Maloney (Chairwoman, House Committee on Oversight and Reform), and Zoe Lofgren (Chairwoman, Committee on House Administration) wrote to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asking him to rescind his proclamation requiring early vote-by-mail ballots that are returned in person to be delivered to a single early voting clerk’s office location in each county. Lawmakers noted that Abbott’s proclamation will force voters to congregate at a single county clerk’s office to deliver ballots amid a pandemic. As examples, they noted that in Harris County, which includes Houston and has more than 4.7 million residents, 12 locations will be consolidated into one. Travis County, which has a population of 1.2 million, will be forced to consolidate four sites into one. Further, they noted that since most voters returning their mail-in ballots are over 65 years old or disabled, the burden of traveling potentially long distances to one location will fall on those most vulnerable to the health risks of Covid-19.

10/06/2020
Request to USDA for Information Pertaining to Mismanagement and Unsolicited Religious Activity in Farmers to Food Box Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Education and Labor Committee wrote to USDA following reports that several faith-based organizations participating in the Farmers to Families Food Box program are including religious messages in food boxes, conducting prayer and other religious activity as part of the distribution of boxes, using the distribution to engage in solicitations, and limiting the distribution to church members or individuals who participate in services such as Bible study. The committee noted that such activity is blatant violation of USDA regulations, which prohibit “explicitly religious activities, including activities that involve overt religious content such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization, as part of the programs or services supported with USDA direct assistance.” Rep. Bobby Scott, chair of the committee, requested answers to questions pertaining to these alleged activities, as well as various documents from USDA, including a list of contractors participating in the Families to Food Box program, details of USDA’s oversight of the program, and whether the agency is tracking any violations of its regulations and policies.

10/06/2020
Increased Covid-19 Protections for Frontline Workers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing, Vulnerable Populations

Reps. Frank Pallone and Bobby Scott wrote to Labor Secretary Scalia and HHS Secretary Azar asking for increased protections for frontline workers. In the letter, the lawmakers expressed concern that low-wage, essential workers often lack the health insurance coverage and resources necessary to access Covid-19 testing, and without guidance from the CDC, questions around the appropriate frequency of testing remain unanswered, and workers continue to face significant health risks on the job.

10/05/2020
Request to Education Department to Review South Carolina’s Potential Misuse of CARES Act Funds to Develop Voucher Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Reps. Bobby Scott (Chairman, House Education and Labor Committee) and James Clyburn (Chairman, House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis) wrote] to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos expressing concern over South Carolina’s misuse of CARES Act education funds to develop a voucher program. South Carolina’s governor dedicated $32 million in Governor Emergency Education Relief funds to the Safe Access to Flexible Education grants program, a violation of GEER and CARES Act regulations, which only permits usage of these funds for institutions of higher education, local educational agencies, and “education related entities,” not school vouchers. Scott and Clyburn requested that the Education Department review South Carolina’s SAFE grants program to determine if it complies with the relevant sections of the CARES Act, and asked for all communications between the governor’s office and the department related to the development, implementation, or legality of South Carolina’s SAFE grant program.

10/05/2020
Request to CDC and FDA for Information Regarding Control Exerted by Non-Experts at White House Over Covid-19 Information
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management, Political Opportunism

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (Chairman, Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, House Committee on Oversight and Reform) sent letters to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn requesting information about the control over public health messaging and information exercised by non-experts in the White House regarding the Covid-19 response. In 2019, Executive Order 13891 vastly expanded the reach of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) by requiring not only regulations but also non-binding guidance to be funneled through the office. During the pandemic, OIRA’s review of public health guidance reportedly expanded more, now covering almost every document related to Covid-19. OIRA began reviewing Covid-19 guidance, as well as sending this guidance to other officials — often those lacking medical or public health backgrounds — for review or comment. For example, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who does not possess a medical or public health background, recently weighed in on the FDA’s vaccine guidance.

The letter to CDC is here: https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2020-10-05.RK%20to%20Redfield-CDC%20re%20OIRA.pdf. The letter to FDA is here: https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2020-10-05.RK%20to%20Hahn-FDA%20re%20OIRA.pdf

10/05/2020
Request to HHS and CDC to Ensure Americans Receive Necessary Immunizations for Other Illnesses Amid Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination

Sens. Tom Carper, Lisa Murkowski, Margaret Wood Hassan, and Tina Smith wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield asking that the administration, in partnership with state and local governments, work to ensure all Americans continue receiving necessary immunizations to prevent additional illness and outbreaks amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

10/05/2020
Request to CDC to Issue Nationwide Moratorium on Drinking Water Shutoffs During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Reps. Harley Rouda (Chairman, Subcommittee on the Environment, House Committee on Oversight and Reform) and Rashida Tlaib (Vice Chairwoman, Subcommittee on the Environment) wrote to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield requesting that he use his authority under Section 361 of the Public Health Services Act to issue a nationwide moratorium on drinking water shutoffs during the Covid-19 pandemic. The members noted that access to clean water for hand-washing, for example, is essential to stop the spread of Covid-19.

10/05/2020
Request to Labor Department for Information on Watering Down CDC Recommendations to Smithfield Foods
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Communications Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Education and Labor and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia requesting information regarding the Labor Department’s involvement in the watering down of CDC recommendations to Smithfield Foods Sioux Falls Pork Plant (Smithfield), a meatpacking plant in South Dakota that experienced a major Covid-19 outbreak. Further, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had yet to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to keep workers safe and prevent the spread of Covid-19. The committees sent a similar letter to HHS, CDC, and NIOSH on Sept. 28, 2020.

10/03/2020
Request to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Graham to Delay Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing in Light of COVID-19 Infections Among Members
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

Eleven Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats wrote a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsay Graham requesting that he delay the in-person confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett in light of Covid-19 infections among members of the committee and President Trump. Sens. Mike Lee and Thom Tillis, both members of the committee, were among those who had tested positive.

10/02/2020
Request to Labor Department for Information and Staff Briefing on Implementation of Paid Leave Provisions in FFCRA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (Chairwoman, House Committee on Oversight and Reform), Jimmy Gomez (Vice Chairman, House Committee on Oversight and Reform), and Rosa DeLauro (Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education within the House Committee on Appropriations) wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia requesting information and a staff briefing on the Labor Department’s implementation of paid leave provisions in the bipartison Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which passed in March 2020 and expanded access to paid sick leave and paid family leave during the Covid-19 pandemic. In August 2020, the department’s inspector general issued a report highlighting key flaws in the administration’s implementation of the program, and a federal judge in New York ruled that the administration defied Congress’s intent in implementing the law. The letter raised concerns highlighted by the IG report, the court decision, and other issues with the administration’s implementation of these provisions, which could limit workers’ access to paid leave.

10/02/2020
Request to DOJ and BOP to Adopt Public Health-Driven Approach to Managing Covid-19 in Prisons
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Dick Durbin and Elizabeth Warren wrote letters to Attorney General William Barr and Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal to act promptly to reduce the rapid spread of Covid-19 in federal facilities by adopting a public health-driven approach, including releasing eligible individuals to home confinement and adopting appropriate and humane procedures to medically isolate or quarantine individuals infected with Covid-19. The senators criticized the use of harmful measures like solitary confinement for inmates who have tested positive for Covid-19. Their letter, focused on BOP’s failure to slow the spread, can be found here: https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2nd%20Letter%20to%20DOJ.BOP%2010.2.2020%20Final.pdf. Their letter criticizing the use of solitary confinement for Covid-19-positive inmates can be found here: https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Letter%20from%20Warren%20and%20Durbin%20to%20AG%20Barr%20and%20Director%20Caraval%20re%20solitary%20confinement%20during%20COVID-19%20pandemic%2010.2.20%20FINAL.pdf

10/02/2020
Request to HHS for Documents and Information About Covid-19 Antigen Tests and Deployment in High-Risk Areas
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing, Vulnerable Populations

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (Chairman, Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, House Committee on Oversight and Reform) wrote a letter to Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir requesting documents and information about the procurement of Covid-19 antigen tests by HHS and their deployment in nursing homes, schools, and other high-risk areas for the purposes of “screening” asymptomatic individuals. Because antigen diagnostic tests can be faster, more convenient, and less expensive than molecular diagnostic tests, Krishnamoorthi noted that they could play an important role in the U.S.’s testing program, if used effectively.

10/02/2020
Request to VA to Step Up Monitoring and Support of Long-Term Care Facilities, Especially During Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Jon Tester, Elizabeth Warren, Brian Schatz, Ed Markey, and Mazie Hirono wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie asking his agency to step up its monitoring and support of long-term care facilities to better protect the health and lives of veterans, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

10/02/2020
Request to Defense Department for Documents Concerning Potentially Inappropriate Use of CARES Act Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, Relief Funds and Loans

Reps. James Clyburn (Chairman, House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis), Maxine Waters (Chairwoman, House Committee on Financial Services), Carolyn Maloney (Chairwoman, House Committee on Oversight and Reform), and Stephen Lynch (Chairman, House Subcommittee on National Security) wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper requesting documents on the potentially inappropriate use of hundreds of millions of dollars from the CARES Act. The letter follows reporting that nearly $1 billion of Defense Production Act funding, which Congress appropriated to DOD under the CARES Act to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus,” instead has been “funneled to defense contractors and used for making things such as jet engine parts, body armor, and dress uniforms.”

10/01/2020
Request to HHS OIG to Investigate Political Interference in Covid-19 Information
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sen. Gary Peters and 29 other senators wrote to Principal Deputy Inspector General at HHS Christi Grimm requesting that HHS OIG investigate the extent to which political interference has undermined the scientific and public health processes at the operating divisions of HHS during the Covid-19 response, particularly CDC and FDA.

10/01/2020
Request to DD&T Group and Atlas Research for Documents Pertaining to Covid-19 Advertising Campaign
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Communications Management, Elections and Campaigns

Reps. James Clyburn (Chairman, House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis), Carolyn Maloney (Chairwoman, House Committee on Oversight and Reform), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (Chairman, Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy) wrote letters to Den Tolmor (manager, DD&T Group) and Dr. Ryung Suh (CEO, Atlas Research) requesting documents related their work on a coronavirus advertising campaign under contracts with HHS. The letters follow the chairs’ Sept. 10, 2020, letters calling on HHS Secretary Alex Azar and another contractor, Fors Marsh Group, to suspend a $250 million contract to create advertisements to “defeat despair and inspire hope” prior to the November election. The letters to DD&T Group and Atlas Research can be found here: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-10-01.CBM%20Clyburn%20to%20Tolmor%20re%20DD%26T%20Group.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-10-01.CBM%20Clyburn%20RK%20to%20Atlas%20Research%20re%20Coronavirus-Related%20Communications%20Contract.pdf

10/01/2020
Request to HHS to Develop Vaccine Strategy Addressing Covid-19’s Disproportionate Impacts on Communities of Color
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Jeff Merkley and 19 other senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking HHS to develop a vaccine strategy that addresses Covid-19’s disproportionate impacts on communities of color. The senators asked Azar to update his agency’s vaccine distribution guidance to include a robust and detailed strategy to inform, collaborate, and engage with communities of color to equitably distribute a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine to these communities once it is licensed or authorized for use.

10/01/2020
Request to Ohio Secretary of State to Protect Health and Safety of Poll Workers and Voters During Upcoming Election
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, State Issues

Sen. Sherrod Brown, along with Reps. Marcy Kaptur, Joyce Beatty, Tim Ryan, and Marcia Fudge (Chairwoman, House Subcommittee on Elections), wrote a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose asking him to take action to protect the health and safety of Ohio voters and poll workers during the upcoming election. The Ohio congressional delegation asked that LaRose implement recommendations made by doctors, faith leaders, and voting-rights advocates, including requiring social distancing, wearing masks, and providing PPE to poll workers, among other recommendations.

10/01/2020
Request to HHS to Promote Use of Community Health Workers When Addressing COVID-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Reps. Ted Deutch, Eliot Engel, Brian Fitzpatrick, and 16 other members of Congress wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking his agency to expand the use of community health workers within existing programs at HHS and fully leverage their expertise and skills when combating the Covid-19 pandemic. The representatives noted that community health workers are cost-effective, and can help strengthen the nation’s response to the pandemic, while containing health-care spending. A similar letter was sent to Azar by 10 Democratic senators.

09/30/2020
Request to Federal Reserve to Evaluate Wells Fargo’s Practice of Entering Borrowers into Forbearance Without their Consent
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren obtained and released new details and documents on Wells Fargo’s practice of entering borrowers into forbearance without their consent, putting them at risk of greater financial hardship during the Covid-19 crisis. Warren released that information in a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, urging Powell to carefully evaluate this behavior by the bank before the Fed begins to consider permanently lifting the bank’s growth cap. The documents released by Warren can be found here: https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/WF_2020.pdf

09/30/2020
CDC Guidance on Reopening Schools During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Education

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to Vice President Pence, HHS Secretary Azar, and CDC Director Redfield requesting that they immediately revise CDC guidance on reopening schools during the Covid-19 pandemic in a way that accurately reflects the best available science and public health guidance, rather than the political interests of the president. Chairman James Clyburn expressed concerns over previous CDC public statements that contradicted other CDC scientific reports and asked the addressees why the CDC issued misleading statements like “children appear to be at lower risk for contracting COVID-19 compared to adults” and “scientific studies suggest that COVID-19 transmission among children in schools may be low,” among other statements. He also asked the addressees to identify instances in which the White House, HHS, or other federal agencies edited, delayed, or prohibited the release of CDC guidance, reports, or other documents related to reopening schools or the impact of Covid-19 on children.

09/29/2020
Request to Labor Department That OSHA to Issue ETS During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Twenty-two senators wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia urging him to instruct OSHA to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to protect workers during the pandemic. An ETS would establish an explicit, uniform, enforceable standard for Covid-19 worker safety. According to the senators, as of Sept. 27, OSHA headquarters had received 9,076 complaints from workers about unsafe workplaces, while state-level OSHA offices had received 27,925 complaints. The senators noted that according to DOL data, OSHA opened an inspection in response to only 11.7 percent of the complaints received; however, it was unclear how many of these “inspections” involved an on-site facility inspection. The senators remarked that the vast majority of complaints never received an inspection, and that more than 90 percent of all complaints have already been closed.

09/28/2020
Kodak Documents Regarding Administration’s Effort to Award Federal Loan for Production of Pharmaceutical Ingredients
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

Reps. James Clyburn (Chairman, House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis), Maxine Waters (Chairwoman, Committee on Financial Services), and Carolyn Maloney (Chairwoman, Committee on Oversight and Reform) wrote letters to the outside directors of the Eastman Kodak Company requesting documents pertaining to the Trump administration’s effort to award a $765 million federal loan to Kodak for the production of ingredients for generic drugs. The lawmakers also requested documents related to the Kodak board’s decision to issue stock options to Kodak Executive Chairman James Continenza and board members, as well as trades in Kodak stock surrounding the loan announcement.

On July 28, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced the administration’s interest in awarding Kodak the loan, using loan authority granted to DFC in connection with the pandemic. In response to the lawmakers’ Aug. 4 documents request to Continenza, counsel for Kodak informed the committees that the company was not able to produce documents and communications possessed by Kodak’s outside directors.

Links to the letters sent to Kodak’s outside directors (Richard T. Bradley, Jeffrey D. Engelberg, George Karfunkel, Phillipe D. Katz, Jason New, and William G. Parrett), in the order listed, can be found here: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-09-28.Joint%20Comte%20to%20Bradley%20re%20Kodak.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-09-28%20.Joint%20Cmte%20to%20Engelberg%20re%20Kodak%20FINAL.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-09-28%20.Joint%20Cmte%20to%20Karfunkel%20re%20Kodak.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-09-28%20.Joint%20Cmte%20to%20Katz%20re%20Kodak.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-09-28%20.Joint%20Cmte%20to%20New%20re%20Kodak.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-09-28%20.Joint%20Cmte%20to%20Parrett%20re%20Kodak.pdf

09/28/2020
Request for Six-Month Extension for States and Local Governments to Spend Allocations of Coronavirus Relief Fund
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other members of the California congressional delegation (Reps. Josh Harder, Ami Bera, Grace Napolitano, Gilbert Cisneros, Jr., Barbara Lee, Mark DeSaulnier, and Juan Vargas) wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking them to include a six-month extension for states and local governments to spend their allocations of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), as provided by the CARES Act, in the next Covid-19 relief package.

09/28/2020
VA’s Decision to Eliminate 48-Hour Review
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs wrote to VA Secretary Wilkie following up on an April 15 letter concerning the VA’s decision to eliminate the 48-hour review by veterans’ representatives that occurs during the claims process. This process allows Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) to review VA decisions to ensure that all claimed conditions have been addressed and properly adjudicated, and that potential errors and the need for appeals are mitigated. Chairman Jon Tester noted that multiple VSOs have reported an increase in avoidable errors leading to incorrect rating decisions for veterans and that, on average, veterans wait 93.4 days for a decision on their claims. Tester noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has made veterans more reliant on their benefits.

09/28/2020
Request to HHS, CDC, and NIOSH for Information on Weakened CDC Covid-19 Workplace Safety Guidance
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Communications Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Education and Labor and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, CDC Director Robert Redfield, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Director John Howard requesting information regarding the watering down of CDC recommendations to Smithfield Foods Sioux Falls Pork Plant, a meatpacking plant in South Dakota that experienced a major Covid-19 outbreak. The committees sent a similar letter to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia on Oct. 5, 2020.

09/25/2020
Potential Misuse of CARES Act Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ro Khanna wrote a letter to Sean O’Donnell, the acting Defense Department inspector general, asking him to review the Pentagon’s potential misuse of CARES Act funds. Pursuant to the Defense Production Act (DPA), the CARES Act provided the department with $1 billion to fund efforts to manufacture PPE and other supplies. According to press reports, however, the Pentagon redirected the majority of these funds — $688 million — to defense contractors to make things such as jet engine parts and body armor.

09/25/2020
The Awarding of Farmers to Families Food Box Program Contracts to Two Non-Vermont Entities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Patrick Leahy, Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Peter Welch, wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Perdue following USDA’s award of the Farmers to Families Food Box contract to two non-Vermont entities. The program, initiated with the passage of the CARES Act, partners with regional and local producers to provide produce, dairy, and meat to food-insecure families. The Abbey Group, a food service company based in Enosburg Falls, Vt., distributed 568,682 food boxes containing local Vermont produce regionally from May through mid-September. For the third and final phase of the program, USDA selected Costa Fruit and Produce, based in Massachusetts, and Sysco, based in Texas, to distribute food boxes in Vermont. The Vermont delegation expressed concern that the number of families reached by the program may decline and that Vermont farms will be unable to participate in the program as they have before. The letter also raised general concerns regarding the continuity of the program’s operations through October.

09/25/2020
Extending Deadline for Non-Filers to Claim Economic Impact Payments
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Oregon’s congressional delegation wrote to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig asking them to extend the non-filer deadline for claiming Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) into the beginning of December and to improve outreach to hard-to-reach communities. The delegation noted that many Oregonians are still waiting to receive their EIPs; given the dual challenges posed by the recent wildfires and the pandemic, delivering outstanding EIPs to Oregonians impacted by wildfires would help these communities rebuild. While the IRS announced on Sept. 17 that it had mailed letters to 131,647 Oregonians who may be eligible for EIPs, many impacted by the wildfires will be unable to access mail because their homes have been destroyed or mail delivery has been disrupted.

09/24/2020
Trump Administration Decision to Thwart Effort to Mail Face Masks to U.S. Households
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Reps. Richard Neal (Chairman, House Committee on Ways and Means) and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight) wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Azar requesting information on the Trump administration’s decision to thwart an effort to mail reusable face masks to every American household during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

09/24/2020
Documents Regarding DHS Briefings with CDC During Early Days of Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

The House Committee on Homeland Security sent a letter to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf requesting documents regarding DHS’s briefings with the CDC during the early days of the pandemic. The committee is investigating what DHS knew about Covid-19 and when, whether DHS downplayed the threat, and what measures were being undertaken by the agency. Although the CDC said in February 2020 that the “potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 [was] very high,” Wolf had told the committee in March that “the risk from COVID-19 to the American public remains low.”

09/23/2020
Clear Guidance on FSA Reimbursement for Masks and Gloves
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden wrote a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig and Acting OPM Director Michael Rigas expressing concern over the inflexibility of Health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) for workers, noting that absent guidance from the IRS, some FSA administrators require workers to submit a letter of medical necessity to receive reimbursement for masks and gloves, while other administrators do not. The senators requested that the IRS clarify that such items are eligible for reimbursement and that such a letter is not required. They also asked that OPM immediately remove this requirement for purposes of FSAs for federal workers and deem masks and gloves reimbursable FSA purchases, without a letter of medical necessity.

09/22/2020
Information on FDA Standards When Deciding to Issue EUA for Covid-19 Vaccine
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

The House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn for information on the safety and efficacy standards the FDA will use when issuing an emergency use authorization (EUA) for a Covid-19 vaccine.

09/22/2020
CMS’s Unauthorized Expansion of AAP Programs Beyond Scope Authorized by CARES Act
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Rep. Frank Pallone (Chairman, House Energy and Commerce Committee), Rep. Richard Neal (Chairman, House Ways and Means Committee), and Sen. Ron Wyden (Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee) wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Azar and CMS Administrator Verma expressing concern over CMS’s lack of transparency in expanding the Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) Program beyond the scope authorized by the CARES Act. AAP is intended to assist certain providers in emergencies; the CARES Act expanded the number of eligible providers and increased the maximum payment amount. In their letter, lawmakers raised concerns that CMS jeopardized the integrity of the program, requested answers to questions related to the unauthorized expansion of AAP, and requested a briefing.

09/22/2020
OSHA’s Delayed Response to Covid-19 Outbreaks in Meatpacking Plants
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker wrote to OSHA Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor Loren Sweatt seeking information about the agency’s delayed response to dozens of reported Covid-19 outbreaks affecting thousands of workers in hundreds of meatpacking facilities across the country. The senators note that earlier in the spring, OSHA identified violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at major meatpacking facilities — Smithfield Packaged Meats Corporation in Sioux Falls, S.D., and JBS Foods in Greeley, Colo. These two facilities were the sites of worksite and community outbreaks that sickened more than 1,500 workers, killed 10, and put thousands more in their communities at risk. OSHA elected to issue the smallest possible fines for these companies.

09/22/2020
Request to Investigate Pentagon’s Misuse of Funds Intended for Purchasing Medical Equipment
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, Relief Funds and Loans

Reps. Mark Pocan and Barbara Lee wrote to the co-chairs of the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus (Reps. James Clyburn, Carolyn Maloney, and Adam Smith) asking them to commence oversight investigations and public hearings regarding the Pentagon’s alleged misuse of the majority of $1 billion intended for the purchase of medical supplies like masks and swabs. The Pentagon instead funneled those monies to defense contractors.

09/22/2020
Request to AHRQ to Review Use of Race-Based Clinical Algorithms in Standard Medical Practice
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Ron Wyden, Cory Booker, and Rep. Barbara Lee wrote to Gopal Khanna, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), asking his agency to review the use of race-based clinical algorithms in standard medical practice. The members noted that the pandemic’s disproportionate consequences for communities of color have starkly revealed that racism is a public health crisis, and argued that medical and public health organizations must reevaluate the ways in which current practices, including the use of race-based algorithms, could be worsening outcomes for people of color.

09/21/2020
Request to FEMA to Provide Transitional Housing to Areas of Oregon Impacted by Wildfires
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

The Oregon congressional delegation wrote a letter to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor asking FEMA to provide the widest possible range of transitional housing units to the areas of Oregon impacted by the ongoing wildfires. The delegation noted that hotels in the area are already stretched thin hosting evacuees and others impacted by the pandemic.

09/21/2020
Advanced Decision Voters Compliance with Select Subcommittee’s Investigation of Operation Warp Speed
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

The House Select Subcommittee for the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to David Harris, the president and CEO of Advanced Decision Vectors (ADV), urging compliance with the subcommittee’s earlier document requests concerning Operation Warp Speed (OWS). The subcommittee noted that there are significant conflicts of interest among top advisers of OWS (including Chief Adviser Dr. Moncef Slaoui) that could bias the administration’s vaccine-development process. Documents obtained by the subcommittee raised questions about Slaoui’s investment in GlaxoSmithKline, a company that is developing a vaccine and has been selected for federal investment. The documents also show that three other consultants working on OWS — Dr. Carlo de Notaristefani, Dr. William Erhardt, and Dr. Rachel Harrigan — have financial interests in companies producing coronavirus vaccines, treatments, or diagnostics that have not previously been publicly disclosed in connection with OWS.

09/21/2020
Request to U.S. Marshals Service and Prison Transportation Services for Information on Prisoner Safety During Transfers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Rep. Ted Deutch wrote to U.S. Marshals Service Director Donald Washington and Prisoner Transportation Services President Joel Brasfield inquiring about the health and safety of prisoners during transfers amid the pandemic. The lawmakers urged immediate Covid-19 testing of all detained individuals prior to their transfers between facilities.

The letter to the U.S. Marshals Service is here (https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.09.21%20Letter%20to%20US%20Marshals%20Service%20(USMS)%20re%20Prisoner%20Transport%20during%20COVID-19.pdf) and the letter to Prisoner Transportation Services, LLC is here (https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.09.21%20Letter%20to%20Prisoner%20Transportation%20Services%20(PTS)%20re%20Prisoner%20Transport%20during%20COVID-19.pdf)

09/17/2020
Working with Congress to Provide Emergency Rental Assistance and Protections
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Senators wrote a letter to President Trump asking that he work with Congress to enact legislation providing emergency assistance and rental protection during the pandemic. The administration’s order from CDC instituting a federal rental eviction moratorium through Dec. 31, 2020, for nonpayment of rent does not include any new funding to help people pay rent, nor does it prohibit landlords from charging late penalties and fees.

09/17/2020
Using FCC E-Rate Program to Fund Students’ Home Access to Internet and Online Learning
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Thirty-eight senators wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asking him to use the E-Rate Program to fund students’ home access to the internet and online learning. The senators argue that closing the connectivity gap will also help close the “homework gap” experienced by disadvantaged students that is exacerbated by Covid-19.

09/17/2020
Request for Major Disaster Declaration for Washington State Following Wildfires During Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Washington state’s congressional delegation wrote a letter to President Trump asking him to support Gov. Jay Inslee’s request for a declaration of a major disaster for the state. The delegation also requested that Trump authorize the Individual Assistance Program and Public Assistance Program Category B measures, including congregate/non-congregate sheltering for Whitman County. The delegation noted that the state’s wildfire-fighting resources are stretched thin, and affected communities were particularly vulnerable because of Covid-19.

09/17/2020
Request to BRT to Honor Corporate Governance and Business Roundtable Commitments in 2019 Statement
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote a letter to Jamie Dimon and Doug McMillon, former and current board chairs of the Business Roundtable (BRT), criticizing them and other BRT member CEOs for failing to honor commitments from BRT’s 2019 Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation. Warren inquired about the changes to corporate governance they were making to implement their commitments, and wrote about how Covid-19 exacerbated and worsened existing racial and economic disparities. She criticized corporate greed (cutting benefits for essential workers, which disproportionately impacted workers of color, while increasing executive compensation) and hypocrisy (statements of solidarity with Black lives, while failing to hire, fairly compensate, and promote Black men and women) during the pandemic. Warren also noted that BRT lobbied against congressional efforts to extend unemployment benefits, Covid-19 liability protections, and other measures to benefit essential workers.

09/17/2020
Protection and Preparedness Measures for Reopening Bureau of Indian Education-Operated Schools
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Reps. Raúl Grijalva (Chairman, House Natural Resources Committee) and Ruben Gallego (Chairman, Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples of the United States) wrote a letter to Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney and Bureau of Indian Education Director Tony Dearman seeking information related to the BIE’s reopening of schools for in-person classes on Sept. 16, 2020. The letter came after an invitation for relevant federal officials to testify at a subcommittee hearing on the issue was declined.

09/17/2020
Misuse of Race Within Clinical Care, Racial Disparities in Covid-19 Infections and Health Outcomes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Ways and Means Committee issued a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting input on the misuse of race within clinical care. The RFI follows a series of letters Rep. Richard Neal wrote to health and medical professional societies requesting details on certain clinical algorithms created by some professional societies.

09/16/2020
Review of Coronavirus Response Efforts
Type: Hearing
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing titled “Review of Coronavirus Response Efforts.” Witnesses include Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Bob Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services; and Adm. Brett Giroir, the HHS assistant secretary for health.

09/16/2020
Request to VP Pence and Coronavirus Response Coordinator Birx to Release All Task Force Reports
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Rep. James Clyburn (Chairman, Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis) wrote a letter to Vice President Pence and Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx raising concerns that the White House Coronavirus Task Force had weakened or retracted previous science-based recommendations in numerous states still in the “red zone,” including states that failed to comply with previous task force recommendations. The letter also requested the release of all task force reports, memoranda, presentations, and assessments by Sept. 23, 2020.

09/16/2020
Amazon’s Anti-Worker Policies and Health and Safety Record
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Sherrod Brown and Ron Wyden wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asking him to end his company’s various anti-worker practices and address Amazon’s poor record with regard to worker health and safety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

09/16/2020
Mental Health Needs of Students During Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bill Cassidy wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Azar and Education Secretary DeVos asking their agencies to issue guidance to K-12 schools and colleges/universities regarding supports, services, and accommodations to address the increased needs of students facing new or ongoing mental health needs that have arisen or been exacerbated by the pandemic. The senators also requested guidance take into consideration the unique challenges for minority students, students with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, and tribal nations to account for the disproportionate effect the pandemic has had on these communities.

09/15/2020
Details on Editorial Process Following Reports of Politicization of CDC MMWRs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Rep. Richard Neal (Chairman, House Ways and Means Committee) wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar calling on his agency to release details on their editorial process following reports that HHS political appointees improperly interfered with the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWRs) regarding Covid-19.

09/15/2020
GAO Oversight of COVID-19 Vaccine and Therapeutic Development
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

Reps. James Clyburn (Chairman, Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis) and Bill Foster (select subcommittee member) sent letters to HHS Secretary Azar and Defense Secretary Esper asking them to provide access and information to the Government Accountability Office in connection with GAO’s review of Operation Warp Speed, as required by law. The letter to Azar is here (https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-09-15.Clyburn%20to%20Azar%20re%20OWS%20GAO%20Access%20Letter%20HHS_%20%28002%29.pdf) and the letter to Esper is here (https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-09-15.Clyburn%20to%20Esper%20re%20OWS%20GAO%20Access%20Letter%20DOD_%20%28002%29.pdf).

09/15/2020
Request to PhRMA for 340B Providers to Allow Low-Income Patients Access to Discounted 340B Drugs and Care
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Twenty-two senators wrote a letter to Stephen Ubl, President and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), expressing concern over recent efforts by member pharmaceutical manufacturers that threaten access to life-saving, discounted drugs for low-income patients through the 340B Drug Pricing Plan. The senators noted the need for 340B covered entities to be able to continue to serve low-income patients. However, some member drug manufacturers have undermined that work by denying 340B pricing to covered entities for drugs dispensed through contract pharmacies. The senators requested a response from PhRMA regarding steps being taken by the industry to end denials of 340B pricing for drugs dispensed through contract pharmacies, along with contract pharmacy claims data.

09/15/2020
USPS Changes Causing Delivery Delays of Medications
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Thirty-five senators wrote a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy asking USPS to reverse operational and organizational changes that have caused medication deliveries to be delayed, which disproportionately harm individuals most at-risk during the pandemic, including seniors, people with chronic health conditions, and people with disabilities.

09/15/2020
Additional Measures to Support Federal Student Loan Borrowers During Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Education, Relief Funds and Loans

Twenty senators wrote a letter to the CEOs of 28 Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) lender and guaranty agencies requesting that they take additional measures to support federal student loan borrowers during the pandemic. While the CARES Act and other administrative actions automatically provide forbearance, waive all interest, and halt collections on federally held loans, approximately 8 million borrowers with loans not directly held by the Department of Education were left out of that relief.

09/15/2020
Request to Nine Pharmaceutical Companies for Information on R&D Efforts and Ensuring Safe Vaccine
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (Chairman, Energy and Commerce Committee), Anna Eshoo (Chairwoman, Health Subcommittee), and Diana DeGette (Chairwoman, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee) wrote a letter to nine pharmaceutical companies — AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer, and Sanofi — currently developing Covid-19 vaccines. The House Energy and Commerce Committee sought further information about these companies’ research and development efforts, and information on how they intend to ensure that only a safe and effective vaccine will be made available to the public.

The letters to the CEOs of AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer, and Sanofi can be found here: https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/AstraZeneca.2020.9.15.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/BioNTech.2020.9.15.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/GlaxoSmithKline.2020.9.15.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/JohnsonJohnson.2020.9.15.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Merck.2020.9.15.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Moderna.2020.9.15.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Novavax.2020.9.15.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Pfizer.2020.9.15.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Sanofi.2020.9.15_0.pdf

09/14/2020
Information on Covid-19 Testing Supplies and Capacity at Schools, Colleges, and Universities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, State and Federal Coordination, Testing
09/14/2020
Interviews and Documents Regarding Efforts by HHS Political Appointees to Block Publication of CDC Covid-19 Reports
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to HHS Secretary Azar and CDC Director Redfield to request transcribed interviews and documents regarding efforts by political appointees at HHS to block the publication of CDC scientific reports by the CDC. The representatives requested the following individuals appear for transcribed interviews by videoconference on the following dates: Anne Schuchat, CDC principal deputy director, Sept. 22, 2020; Charlotte Kent, CDC MMWR editor-in-chief, Sept. 22; Nina Witkofsky, CDC acting chief of staff, Sept. 23; Trey Moeller, CDC acting deputy chief of staff, Sept. 23; Kate Galatas, CDC acting associate director for communication, Sept. 24; Paul Alexander, HHS senior adviser, Sept. 24; Michael Caputo, HHS assistant secretary for public affairs, Sept. 25. The letter asked that Redfield and Azar confirm by Sept. 16 that these individuals will appear voluntarily.

09/14/2020
Trump Administration’s Restrictions on Fetal Tissue Usage in Research on Covid-19 Treatment, Other Therapies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Political Opportunism, Vaccines and Treatments

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (Chairwoman, House Committee on Oversight and Reform) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (Chairman, House Committee on Energy and Commerce), and Sen. Patty Murray (Ranking Member, Senate HELP Committee), wrote to HHS Secretary Azar urging him to halt the administration’s efforts to block federally funded research using fetal tissue and to reject ideologically driven recommendations made by the Human Fetal Tissue Ethics Advisory Board. On April 16, 2020, Maloney, Pallone and Murray asked Azar to immediately reverse restrictions on the use of fetal tissue in any federally funded coronavirus-related research and requested a briefing on the impact of these restrictions on the development of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics (HHS declined to provide this briefing).

09/14/2020
Request to HHS to Declare Public Health Emergency in Oregon Due to Wildfires, Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Oregon’s congressional delegation wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Azar asking him to declare a public health emergency in tOregon due to the ongoing wildfires. They note that wildfires have exacerbated challenges posed by the pandemic: many evacuees do not have homes to return to. Smoke and ash from the wildfires also put individuals at greater risk for respiratory illnesses, including Covid-19. The delegation said that issuing a public health emergency order and taking other measures will help the state deal with the dual challenges of the wildfires and the pandemic.

09/14/2020
HHS Documents and Information on Settlements Following Cancellation of Ventilator Contracts
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Medical Supplies and PPE
09/14/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Employment Protections for TPS Holders in Next Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Relief Funds and Loans
09/14/2020
Briefing With Secretary Azar Concerning Politicization of CDC Covid-19 Reports
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management
09/11/2020
Performance Work Statement Reportedly Issued For Covid-19 Communications Contract
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism
09/11/2020
Expediting Broadband Connectivity to Native Communities Facing Outsize Impacts of Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Vulnerable Populations
09/10/2020
Request to JPMorgan Chase for Information on Alleged Misuse of PPP and EIDL Funding
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Marco Rubio (Chairman, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship) wrote to Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimon following reports that bank employees may have been involved in the misuse of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) funding. Rubio asked Dimon to provide the committee with additional information regarding JPMorgan Chase’s investigation into potential misuse of PPP and/or EIDL funds.

09/10/2020
Ensuring a Fair Count, Apportionment of Congressional Representation in 2020 Census
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Federal Management, Political Opportunism
09/10/2020
Information on Covid-Related Communications Contract to Fors Marsh Group
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism
09/09/2020
Ensuring a Free, Fair, and Safe Election During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Type: Hearing
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns

The House Committee on Oversight held a hearing titled “Ensuring a Free, Fair, and Safe Election During the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Witnesses include Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft; Kristen Clark, the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Krutika Kuppali, the vice chair of the Global Health Committee; Mimi Marziani, the president of the Texas Civil Rights Project; and actress and activist Kerry Washington.

09/09/2020
Vaccines: Saving Lives, Ensuring Confidence, and Protecting Public Health
Type: Hearing
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing titled “Vaccines: Saving Lives, Ensuring Confidence and Protecting Public Health.” Witnesses included NIH Director Francis Collins and Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

09/09/2020
Caution Against Additional Limitations on Use of Human Fetal Tissue in Medical Research
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Vaccines and Treatments
09/08/2020
Refugee Resettlement Prior to Setting Admission Target for FY2021
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Reps. Jerry Nadler and Zoe Lofgren, and Sens. Dick Durbin and Dianne Feinstein wrote to Secretary of State Pompeo; DHS Undersecretary of Strategy, Policy, and Plans Chad Wolf; and HHS Secretary Azar requesting that the administration consult with Congress before setting its FY 2021 refugee admissions target (the administration is legally required to consult with Congress on resettlement targets each year). The letter also urges the addressees to recall the country’s bipartisan history of providing safety to refugees and to rebuild the U.S. refugee resettlement program. The letter also notes that Covid-19 has had a particularly severe impact on refugees, as they are among the most vulnerable populations facing the pandemic.

09/08/2020
Improving and Modernizing COVID-19 Data Collection and Management
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

A bipartisan group of 10 senators wrote to HHS Secretary Azar and CDC Director Redfield requesting that the administration work more closely with states, health-care providers, and private-sector stakeholders to modernize, automate, and streamline Covid-19 and other data collection and management as quickly as possible. The letter also emphasized the importance of including race, age, gender, and location in data collection.

09/08/2020
Request to Ohio Secretary of State to Provide Prepaid Return Postage on Ballots and Ballot Applications, Communicate With USPS to Ensure Ballots Arrive On Time For All Ohioans
Type: Lettter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Ohio’s congressional delegation wrote to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose asking him to use his existing authority to provide prepaid return postage on ballots and ballot applications, and communicate with USPS to ensure that all Ohioans receive their ballots on time. The delegation noted that Congress provided Ohio with more than $12 million in CARES Act funding to help cover the cost of initiatives like prepaid postage.

09/08/2020
Request to Amtrak to Prohibit Outsourcing Jobs While Seeking Additional Taxpayer Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

Reps. Peter DeFazio, Dan Lipinski, and Jennifer Wexton wrote to Amtrak CEO William Flynn asking that he prohibit any Amtrak jobs from being offshored. The letter followed a Request for Proposal (RFP) for eCommerce and Mobile Development that would allow certain work to be offshored at a time when Amtrak is looking to reduce its workforce by 14 percent and seeking additional taxpayer funds to maintain limited service during the pandemic. The lawmakers note that if Amtrak does not reverse the offshoring provision in this or any existing or future RFP, they will find it difficult to support additional taxpayer monies for Amtrak.

In an update on Sept. 11, DeFazio, Lipinski, and Wexton noted that Flynn scrapped the RFP that would have allowed for jobs to be offshored: https://transportation.house.gov/news/press-releases/defazio-lipinski-and-wexton-applaud-amtrak-president-and-ceo-william-flynn-for-committing-to-not-send-jobs-overseas

09/08/2020
Processes Determining the Deployment and Prioritization of Covid-19 Vaccine
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations
09/03/2020
Updating Higher Education Guidance on Coronavirus to Include Tobacco-Free Campuses
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Federal Management

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi and Sen. Dick Durbin wrote to CDC Director Redfield to update his agency’s guidance to colleges and universities and encourage campuses to go tobacco-free — including e-cigarettes — for the fall semester. The request is based on new evidence linking tobacco use and Covid-19; young people aged 13 to 24 who vape are five times more likely to be diagnosed. Those who both vaped and smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days were nearly seven times more likely than non-users to be diagnosed and almost five times more likely to experience symptoms.

09/03/2020
Information Relating to Delays in Collecting Survey Data For 2021 USEER
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette requesting information on the delay in implementing a survey and other procedures that form the basis for the upcoming 2021 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER), an annual report constructed from a survey of 30,000 employers across 53 different energy technologies. The USEER provides critical insights into the energy sector, including the status of jobs, skills and demographics. Since the onset of the pandemic, the U.S. has lost more than 1.3 million energy-sector jobs, including more than 600,000 clean-energy jobs. Reps. Frank Pallone and Bobby Rush expressed concern that the Energy Department has taken no apparent action to ensure the timely collection of survey data for the upcoming installment of
the USEER, which would provide data on 2020 employment conditions.

09/03/2020
Protecting the 340B Drug Discount Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (Chairman, Energy and Commerce Committee), Anna Eshoo (Chairwoman, Health Subcommittee), and Diana DeGette (Chairwoman, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee) wrote to HHS Secretary Azar expressing concern following actions undertaken by several drug manufacturers that threaten to undermine the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which helps expand access to care for uninsured and low-income patients as well as those living in rural areas. Pallone, Eshoo, and DeGette noted that the 340B program is a critical tool in the fight to lower drug prices, and helps safety net health providers, including Federally Qualified Health Centers and disproportionate-share hospitals, among others, to provide frontline care during the pandemic. They requested that the administration maintain the program’s integrity to ensure care is not interrupted. Under the 340B Program, drug manufacturers participating in Medicaid are required to provide discounts on outpatient prescription drugs to certain safety net health providers, called “covered entities,” which can use the savings to expand and improve care.

09/03/2020
Census Bureau’s Plans to Accurately Count U.S. Population Given Pandemic, Wildfires, and Decision to End Counting Early
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

California’s congressional delegation wrote to Census Director Dr. Steven Gillingham asking him to detail how an accurate census count will be conducted given the Covid-19 crisis, wildfires in California, and the Trump administration’s decision to end counting operations early. The lawmakers note that additional obstacles caused by Covid-19 include a higher number of people experiencing homelessness — an historically undercounted population — as well as difficulties hiring and retaining census workers.

09/03/2020
How USPS Operational Changes and Mail Delays Negatively Impacted Small Businesses
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Gary Peters and other senators wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy noting that USPS operational changes and subsequent mail delays have exacerbated Covid-19 related financial challenges facing small businesses. Peters had also previously introduced legislation to reverse changes and block the postmaster general from implementing additional disruptions to service for the duration of the public health emergency.

09/03/2020
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign’s SHIELD T-3 Regimen to Combat Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, Testing

Illinois’s congressional delegation wrote to HHS Secretary Azar requesting that his agency look into the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign’s saliva-based testing regimen (SHIELD T-3) and consider ways to scale up that regimen to help combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

09/03/2020
Trump’s Decision to Defund Previously Appropriated and Committed Contributions to WHO
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The House Appropriations Committee wrote a letter asking President Trump to reconsider his decision to defund previously appropriated and committed contributions to the World Health Organization.

09/02/2020
Request to USDA to Use Resources Available Through CARES Act to Support Wheat Farmers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Pat Roberts and 20 other senators wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking that USDA use resources available through the CARES Act to provide adequate support for wheat farmers and ensure that all classes of wheat are covered under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The senators noted that CFAP provides critical assistance to many wheat producers impacted by Covid-19, including at-risk 2019 crop losses for hard red spring and durum wheat. While this assistance remains important to these producers, the letter makes the point that the classes of wheat covered by CFAP constitute just 30% of 2019 production, leaving the majority of wheat farmers without access to CFAP assistance.

09/02/2020
Request to CFPB to Ensure Borrowers Receive Timely and Accurate Information Regarding Their Options to Access Mortgage Relief and Avoid Foreclosures During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Chris Van Hollen, Robert Menendez, and Jack Reed wrote to CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger regarding the agency’s failure to ensure that borrowers receive timely and accurate information regarding their options to access mortgage relief and avoid foreclosures during the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators wrote to Kraninger seeking information about how CFPB plans to ensure that borrowers are made aware of available mortgage relief options and how to access them.

09/02/2020
Request to Trump Regarding Ending Over-Reliance on Foreign Pharmaceutical Products
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote a letter to President Trump requesting him to detail steps his administration will take to end the U.S.’s over-reliance on foreign pharmaceutical products. They requested that he work with Congress to pass legislation like the U.S. Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Defense and Enhancement Act and criticized his executive order, arguing that it failed to establish or recommend guidelines for the list of essential medicines and key inputs the FDA and HHS have been tasked with creating. They also note that the order does not address existing loopholes in reporting requirements for drug manufacturers that prevent the federal government from understanding the weaknesses in the U.S. supply chain, among other problems.

09/02/2020
Protecting the Right to Vote for Americans Living and Serving Overseas
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Federal Management

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, and Bob Menendez, and Tom Carper sent a letter to American embassies urging officials to protect the right to vote for Americans living and serving overseas. In the face of mail delays and the Covid-19 pandemic, the letter calls on officials to provide information regarding contingency plans to ensure American and military voters abroad can vote safely.

The letter was sent to U.S. embassies in Canada, the U.K., Mexico, France, Japan, Australia, Israel, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Costa Rica, China, Brazil, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Haiti, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and Argentina.

09/02/2020
Request to USDA for Clarification of Pandemic EBT Guidelines
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting corrections to the agency’s Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program guidelines. USDA’s state guidance, which was provided to the committee’s majority staff on Aug. 24, 2020, indicated that children in schools that delay the start of their instructional year due to the Covid-19 pandemic would not be eligible for P-EBT during the time period between the traditional start of the school year and the delayed start time. The letter writers noted that this ran contrary to the statutory requirement that any child who would otherwise be eligible for a free or reduced price school meal (i.e., if not for the closure of their school due to the pandemic) be eligible. Lastly, the letter discussed the need for clarification in the new state guidelines to guarantee children in schools offering entirely virtual instruction and meal service would still be eligible for P-EBT.

09/01/2020
Request to FDA to Address Political Interference in Covid-19 Vaccine Development
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Patty Murray wrote a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn warning against rushing approval of a Covid-19 vaccine, expressing concern after he suggested the FDA could issue an emergency use authorization before Phase III clinical trials were complete. Murray discussed the importance of ensuring public confidence that a vaccine is safe and effective, and requested the FDA engage in a transparent and rigorous process in reviewing all vaccine candidates. She called on Hahn to brief her on this issue and for the FDA to outline its standards for emergency authorization of a vaccine, similar to what it has previously done regarding its standards for vaccine approval.

08/30/2020
Request to Pence and HHS to Use DPA to Address Testing and Medical Supplies Shortages in Rural Oregon and Elsewhere
Source: Sen. Ron Wyden
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Testing

Sen. Ron Wyden wrote to Vice President Mike Pence and HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting that they use their Defense Production Act (DPA) authorities to increase production of testing reagents and other supplies and speed up the delivery of these products to meet the needs of rural communities in Oregon and elsewhere in the United States.

08/28/2020
Request to Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray to Call on FDA Commissioner and CDC Director to Testify Before HELP Committee
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Political Opportunism, Testing

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and nine other senators asked thata Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray call on FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield to testify before the committee for a hearing regarding the Trump administration’s politicization of the federal government’s Covid-19 pandemic response and the undue political influence of the White House on public health agencies. The senators suggest that political pressure from the White House influenced Covid-19 testing guidelines, the CDC’s reopening guidelines, and the FDA’s authorization of hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma for use in treating Covid-19 patients.

08/26/2020
Department of Defense’s Response to Senators’ April 27 Questions
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Multiple senators wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper regarding his failure to “meaningfully respond” to questions raised in a letter sent on April 27, 2020. Esper’s response, dated May 12, is here: https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/DoD%20Response%20Ltr_12%20May%2020.pdf

08/26/2020
Political Interference in Government’s Covid-19 Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey urged CARES Act inspectors general to investigate political interference in the Trump administration’s Covid-19 response.

08/26/2020
Request to USDA to Extend School Meal Waivers Through 2020-2021 School Year
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Education and Labor and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue denouncing his agency’s refusal to extend all school meal waivers through the 2020-2021 school year. Lawmakers urged Perdue to reverse this decision and use the authority Congress provided USDA under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to extend these waivers. This letter followed a response provided by Perdue on Aug. 20, 2020, to an earlier committee letter.

08/26/2020
Request to Various Covid-19 Testing Labs for Information on Capacities, Services, and Resources Needed
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Testing

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote to Quest Diagnostics, BioReference, ARUP Laboratories, LabCorp, and the Mayo Clinic about capacities to process Covid-19 tests and communicate results in a timely fashion. Warren and Smith requested explanations for delays in test results and declining testing numbers and asked the lab CEOs about their turnaround times (as of Aug. 26, 2020) for Covid-19 diagnostic tests, the number of tests processed per day (on average) for each full week in July and August 2020, the maximum daily capacities of these labs to process tests, information on supply shortages, and ways in which the administration and/or Congress can help alleviate testing capacity limits and delays.

08/26/2020
Request to FDA About Process for Communicating Changes in Emergency Use Authorizations to Medical Providers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn inquiring about the FDA’s process for communicating changes in emergency use authorizations (EUAs) to medical providers in the field. To date, several EUAs have been modified or revoked because of new information after authorization (e.g., hydroxychloroquine as Covid-19 treatment). Warren requested that Hahn detail the steps the FDA takes to inform entities using a product authorized under an EUA of any modifications and revocations of the EUA and asked that Hahn describe how the FDA enforces compliance with any modifications and revocations of an EUA.

08/26/2020
Request to Pence to Address Continued PPE Shortage in Nursing Homes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Ron Wyden and Bob Casey wrote to Vice President Mike Pence expressing concern over continued PPE shortages in nursing homes. A new analysis of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data by the minority staffs of the Senate Finance and Aging Committees found that roughly 1 out of every 12 nursing homes in the United States reported having no current supply of one or more type of PPE as of Aug. 9 — a nearly three-fold increase since July 5. The senators requested that Pench, who heads the White House Coronavirus Task Force, address this chronic supply shortage.

08/25/2020
Evasion of Federal Ethics Rules by Top ‘Operation Warp Speed’ Adviser
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

Sens. Warren and Blumenthal and Rep. Jayapal obtained and released to HHS troubling new information on evasion of federal conflict-of-interest rules by Dr. Moncef Slaoui, top adviser to the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed.” Slaoui had used a loophole, by working under $1 contract for “Advanced Decisions Vectors,” to avoid federal ethics rules.

08/25/2020
Politicization of Emergency Use Authorization for Convalescent Plasma
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey requestd communications between the FDA and the White House on potentially politicized convalescent plasma emergency use authorization.

08/24/2020
Reported Mismanagement in USDA Pandemic Food Assistance Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue seeking documents pertaining to the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, a USDA program intended to provide food assistance to Americans in need during the pandemic. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorized USDA to use funds appropriated by Congress to buy food directly from producers and distribute it to those in need. However, USDA reportedly awarded contracts to companies that were “unqualified” or unable to perform the duties necessary.

08/24/2020
Request to Education Department to Stop Misusing Emergency Education Funding
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking her agency to cease misusing the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF), a CARES Act fund intended to support local education agencies and postsecondary entities facing the loss of state and local revenue due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The letter accused the Department of Education of not following the plain language of the statute and granting educational institutions across the country the necessary funding to support student learning during the pandemic. The committee noted that the department was using taxpayer dollars to fund the Trump administration’s apprenticeship program (IRAP) and other programs Congress had not authorized.

08/24/2020
Request to FDA to Ensure Science, Not Political Considerations, Drive Vaccine Approval Process
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Elections and Campaigns, Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Vaccines and Treatments

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn asking him to ensure that sound science and the protection of public health alone drive FDA’s Covid-19 vaccine approval process, rather than political considerations.

08/21/2020
Request to Pharmacies, PBMs, and Trade Associations for Information Relevant to Investigation Into Impacts of USPS Operational Changes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

The House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a series of letters to pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers, and the relevant trade associations as part of the committee’s investigation into the impacts of USPS operational changes on the delivery of mail-order prescription drugs to patients across the U.S.

Letters were sent to CVS Health, Express Scripts, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, OptumRx, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. They can be found, in the order listed, here: https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/CVSHealth.2020.8.21.Letter%20re%20Postal%20Service%20Changes.HE_.OI_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/ExpressScripts.2020.8.21.Letter%20re%20Postal%20Service%20Changes.HE_.OI_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/NACDS.2020.8.21.Letter%20re%20Postal%20Service%20Changes.HE_.OI_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/OptumRx.2020.8.21.Letter%20re%20Postal%20Service%20Changes.HE_.OI_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/PCMA.2020.8.21.Letter%20re%20Postal%20Service%20Changes.HE_.OI_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/RiteAid.2020.8.21.Letter%20re%20Postal%20Service%20Changes.HE_.OI_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Walgreens.2020.8.21.Letter%20re%20Postal%20Service%20Changes.HE_.OI_.pdf

08/19/2020
Request to Trump and DHS to Provide TPS or DED Status for Lebanese Nationals in Light of Beirut Blast
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Reps. Jerry Nadler (chairman, House Judiciary Committee), Rashida Tlaib, Zoe Lofgren (chairwoman, Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship), Debbie Dingell, and Marcy Kaptur wrote a letter to President Trump and Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf to immediately designate Lebanon for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) in order to provide a safe haven to Lebanese nationals in the U.S. in the wake of explosion in Beirut. The letter also urged the administration to welcome to the U.S. individuals and families permanently displaced by the blast through any and all means at its disposal, including humanitarian parole. Lawmakers also noted that providing protection is particularly urgent given Lebanon’s struggles with the Covid-19 pandemic and a crippling economic crisis.

08/14/2020
Request to VA and USPS to Address Delayed Deliveries of Veterans’ Prescription Drugs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Reps. Peter DeFazio, Mark Takano, Brian Fitzpatrick, and Alma Adams wrote a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy requesting them to swiftly address delays in mail deliveries of veterans’ prescription drugs.

08/14/2020
National Guard and FEMA Cost-Sharing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

House members requested information from the Trump administration regarding National Guard and FEMA cost-share requirements for the national pandemic response. The administration required 47 states and territories to cover 25 percent of their National Guard costs, while carving out an exception to cover 100 percent of the costs for Texas, Arizona, California, and Connecticut.

08/14/2020
Voter Safety During Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns

The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and the Committee on House Administration sent letters to election officials in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Wisconsin requesting information on the states’ plans to eliminate barriers faced by voters during this year’s primaries and to ensure free, fair, and safe federal elections. The letters seek details on how the states will follow guidance from the CDC, recommending “[l]ower risk election polling settings.”

08/14/2020
Request to HHS and CDC to Offer Covid-19 Guidance to Child-Care Providers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Federal Management

Sens. Chris Coons and Patty Murray, along with a bicameral group of lawmakers, wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield and Office of Child Care (OCC) Director Shannon Christian (ACF, HHS) to request OCC, in coordination with CDC and with input from other relevant agencies and health and child development experts, distribute comprehensive and detailed public health and safety guidance to assist child-care providers in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/14/2020
Request to USDA to Provide Waivers and Extend Program Flexibilities to Keep Children Fed While Schools Are Closed
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Bobby Scott wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking USDA to use its full authority to provide healthy meals to students for the duration of the school year amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Stabenow and Scott noted that In the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Congress granted authority to USDA to provide waivers that allow children to receive school meals during the pandemic. While several waivers have already been approved for the 2020-2021 school year, USDA had not extended flexibilities for several key programs that keep children fed while schools are closed and also reduce administrative burdens for schools.

08/13/2020
Conflicts of Interest and Vaccine Selection In Operation Warp Speed
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus requested information on the Kushner-led Operation Warp Speed’s plans to develop and disseminate a vaccine, and possible conflicts of interest regarding Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the project’s chief adviser and a former pharmaceutical company executive.

08/13/2020
Impact of Tariffs on Covid-Related Goods
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Richard Neal asked the U.S. International Trade Commission for an overview of key U.S. industry sectors producing Covid-related goods; detailed case studies on key products within each relevant industry sector, such as N95 respirators, ventilators, vaccines, and Covid-19 test kits; and on supply-chain challenges and constraints.

08/13/2020
PPE and National Parks During Covid
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

The Committee on Natural Resources asked how the Interior Department planned to comply with CDC guidelines and to explain whether the National Park Service planned to purchase and distribute personal protective equipment to employees, among other issues.

08/09/2020
Information About Canadian Travel Restrictions
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow wrote to acting DHS Director Chad Wolf requesting more information about the travel restrictions on the Canadian border, including details about the process for developing these standards and whether students will be allowed to cross the border.

08/06/2020
Request to Treasury and Federal Reserve for Information About Main Street Lending Program’s Implementation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell seeking documents and information about the Main Street Lending Program’s implementation. Chairman James Clyburn also urged Mnuchin and Powell to ensure that the program protects workers and is accessible to businesses requiring its assistance. He expressed concern about the delays in issuing loans and questioned whether the program was appropriately designed to support small businesses in need.

08/04/2020
Kodak Loan and Windfall for Executives
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is investigating a loan of $765 million to Kodak for development of a vaccine under the Defense Production Act. This letter is to Kodak’s executive chairman, James V. Continenza.

08/04/2020
The Administration’s Kodak Loan and Windfall for Executives
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is investigating a loan of $765 million to Kodak for development of a vaccine under the Defense Production Act. This letter is to Kodak’s executive chairman, James V. Continenza.

08/04/2020
Request to State, DHS, and DOL to Ease Admission of Temporary Health Workers During Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

In response to President Trump’s decision to suspend the entry of certain temporary foreign workers through Proclamation 10052, Reps. Richard Neal (chairman, Ways and Means Committee), Jerry Nadler (chairman, House Judiciary Committee), and Zoe Lofgren (chairwoman, Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship) wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia expressing concerns over Trump’s proclamation and its effect on many incoming H-1B health workers and researchers. The letter noted that these workers are urgently needed to address the Covid-19 pandemic; even though Trump’s proclamation exempts individuals working on coronavirus-related care and research, they argue his decision is overly restrictive, limiting the supply of incoming health workers. The letter detailed the harm his restriction presents for health care at large and for rural and underserved communities that rely on immigrant physicians.

08/03/2020
The Administration’s Loan to Kodak and Potential Insider Trading
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Warren wrote the Securities and Exchange Commission requesting that they investigate potential incidents of insider trading prior to the July 28, 2020, public announcement of the Trump administration’s $765 million loan to Kodak to support the production of generic drug ingredients in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and reports of potential insider trading related to the loan.

08/03/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Exclude Corporate Immunity in COVID-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

Rep. Donald McEachin and 36 other members of Congress wrote to congressional leaders asking them not to provide corporations that operate in an unsafe manner during the Covid-19 pandemic immunity from liability in any forthcoming recovery or relief package.

08/03/2020
Request to Education Department to End Restrictions on Access to CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Aid
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

Democrats from the House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking her agency to stop implementing restrictions on students’ access to higher education emergency aid provided under the CARES Act.

07/31/2020
Racial Inequities in Coronavirus Relief
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

The House Committee on Ways and Means sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressing concern about racial inequalities in aid administered under the CARES Act and the Internal Revenue Code.

07/31/2020
Request to Education Department to Rescind “Equitable Services” Interim Final Rule
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Education and Labor Committee, the House Appropriations Committee, and the Senate HELP Committee wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking the Department of Education to rescind its “equitable services” interim final rule, which would redirect Covid-19 relief funding away from students in public schools to fund services for students in private schools, regardless of their wealth or residence.

07/30/2020
Delays and Processing Errors for Small Businesses in Covid Relief
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and the Small Business Committee wrote to the SBA regarding the $500 million contract issued by SBA to process Emergency Injury Disaster Loan applications during the crisis, following reports that millions of small businesses seeking emergency loans have faced long delays, poor service, and processing errors.

07/29/2020
PPP Funds Given to the Airline Industry That Then Fired Workers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

The House Financial Services Committee, Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, and Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to explain PPP funds that were given to the airlines to support jobs that no longer exist and what Treasury intends to do to recoup the funds.

07/29/2020
White House Compliance with Recommendations to Contain Coronairus
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis asked Vice President Pence and Dr. Deborah L. Birx to take stronger public health measures than the Trump administration had called for in public — including requiring face masks, closing bars, and strictly limiting gatherings.

07/29/2020
Request that Pence, Birx, and State Governors Comply with Unpublished Recommendations to Contain Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to Vice President Mike Pence and Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx to request information on Covid-19 guidance privately communicated by the White House Coronavirus Task Force to states. Additionally, Chairman James Clyburn wrote letters to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee asking them to comply with the task force’s unpublished guidance on containing Covid-19; the states listed were among at least 17 “Red Zone” states not complying with recommendations for curbing the spread of the virus (e.g., mandating face masks, closing bars and gyms, strictly limiting gatherings, and social distancing).

The letters to the governors, in the order listed, can be found here: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-07-29.Clyburn%20to%20Governor%20Kemp%20re%20Task%20Force%20Recommendations.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-07-29.Clyburn%20to%20Governor%20Stitt%20re%20Task%20Force%20Recommendations.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-07-29.Clyburn%20to%20Governor%20DeSantis%20re%20Task%20Force%20Recommendations.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2020-07-29.Clyburn%20to%20Governor%20Lee%20re%20Task%20Force%20Recommendations.pdf

07/28/2020
Investigation of Covid-19 Data Collection Contract
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent a letter to Teletracking Technologies Inc. regarding its contract to trace coronavirus cases, and the Trump administration’s decision to direct hospitals to stop reporting coronavirus data directly to the CDC.

07/28/2020
GAO Review of Gilead’s Taxpayer-Funded COVID-19 Treatment
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney asked the GAO to investigate the discovery and development of remdesivir, the first drug authorized to treat Covid-19. Gilead, the company that owns the drug, collected more than $22.4 billion in total revenue and generated more than $5.3 billion in profit last year.

07/28/2020
Use of Malarial Drugs Including Hydroxychloroquine at Veterans Homes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan sent a letter to the Veterans Health Administration, demanding more information about the use of anti-malarial drugs including hydroxychloroquine at veterans homes and whether the VA was actively involved in the unproven treatment. She cited the beleaguered Southeastern Veterans’ Center near Philadelphia, which treated about 30 veterans and their spouses with hydroxychloroquine in April.

07/27/2020
Requesting GAO Review Of Administration’s Coronavirus Vaccine Development Efforts
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis asked the GAO to conduct periodic and ongoing reviews of Operation Warp Speed, the coronavirus treatment and vaccine development project at HHS.

07/27/2020
House Urges Action by Fannie Mae to Keep People in Their Homes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis asks Fannie Mae to extend protections against evictions for those experience hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis.

07/27/2020
HHS’s Change to the Covid-19 Reporting Process
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Rep. Richard E. Neal raised concerns to HHS regarding the agency’s decision to change the reporting process of key Covid-19 data. Hospitals previously reported information vitally important to fighting the pandemic to the CDC, but the Trump administration’s change required hospitals to now report to a database administered by a private contractor.

07/27/2020
EPA Reopening Strategies in Covid-19 Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Richard Durbin asked the EPA about its plans to safely re-open to protect its employees while fulfilling its important mission.

07/27/2020
House Urges Action by Freddie Mac to Keep People in Their Homes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis asked Freddie Mac to extend protections against evictions for those experience hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis.

07/23/2020
SBA’s Attempts to Bar Planned Parenthood from PPP
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

House committees demanded documents regarding SBA’s attempts to target local Planned Parenthood organizations that participated in the Paycheck Protection Program.

07/22/2020
Request to the FDA to Investigate Fraudulent Antibody Tests
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn requesting information about the steps the FDA has taken to regulate the antibody test marketplace and investigate fraudulent antibody test scams.

07/22/2020
HHS’s Plan to Aid Pregnant People During Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Senators called upon HHS to monitor and address the needs of pregnant people during the coronavirus public health emergency, and to express concern over reports that the political needs of the president were interfering with the publication of the best and most up-to-date scientific and public health information.

07/21/2020
Enforcing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia requesting communications, complaints, and paid leave enforcement actions related to the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in order to judge whether the Department is properly implementing this law.

07/21/2020
Dept. of Labor Rules That Could Eliminate Paid Leave for Millions of Workers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis seeks answers from the Department of Labor on enforcement of the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

07/21/2020
Request to Congressional Leaders for Increased Federal Education and Health Funding Amid Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: National health organizations and child advocates
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

Organizations representing public health, medical providers, and advocates for children and families wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy requesting increased federal education and health funding so that schools can safely reopen and health-care systems can respond to the needs brought on by the Covid-19 epidemic. They asked House and Senate leadership to call on Congress to pass at least $200 billion in K-12 education funding.

07/20/2020
CDC Plans to Stop the Spread of Coronavirus
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting information about what actions the CDC will take to stop the spread of coronavirus and what enforcement mechanisms the CDC will use, such as mandating mask-wearing.

07/17/2020
Hospital Reporting Requirements
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Multiple senators sent a letter to Vice President Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx urging the administration to withdraw proposed changes to the Covid-19 hospital reporting requirements.

07/17/2020
Covid-19 Data Reporting and Publication
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting the CDC resume collecting Covid-19 data and requesting information on the decision to transfer that responsibility to a private company.

07/17/2020
White House Directive to Hospitals to Stop Reporting Data to CDC
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis asked the CDC and HHS about the Trump administration’s decision to direct hospitals to stop reporting coronavirus data directly to the CDC.

07/16/2020
Request to OMB for Comprehensive Database to Track CARES Act Grants and Loans to Health Providers
Source: Sen. Ron Wyden
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Ron Wyden wrote to Acting OMB Director Russell Vought asking the Office of Management and Budget to establish a single, comprehensive, publicly available data source that shows the amount of CARES Act funding received by each health-care provider. Wyden noted that he made a similar request to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

07/15/2020
Education Dept.’s Delayed Distribution of Emergency Aid to Puerto Rico
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Reps. Robert Scott and Raúl Grijalva wrote to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos requesting information on the Department’s decision to delay distributing 98.4% of the CARES Act aid intended for Puerto Rico until the territory obtained a third-party fiduciary to manage the funds.

07/15/2020
Federal Contracts for Emergency Equipment
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Seven members of Congress wrote to the leaders of the Departments of Health and Human Services, Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs about reports that the federal government awarded coronavirus-related contracts to companies with connections to the White House, that hadn’t entered into federal contracts prior, and/or had been selected without transparency or competition.

07/15/2020
Conflicts of Interest in Distributing CARES Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to Treasury Department Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery Brian Miller requesting information about the role of lobbyists in dispensing CARES Act funds, whether there were any conflicts of interest in the dispensation, and whether there are processes in place to prevent possible conflicts of interest.

07/15/2020
Request to Education Department for Explanation for Delayed Educational Relief Funds for Puerto Rico
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

The House Education and Labor Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos requesting an explanation for why the Department of Education has delayed distributing emergency educational relief for Puerto Rico. Congress designated $400 million in the CARES Act to help Puerto Rico address immediate educational needs. However, to date, the Education Department had only disbursed $7 million, citing past program implementation challenges; the department indicated it will withhold the remaining relief funds until after the school year begins.

07/14/2020
Request to Defense Department and HHS Regarding Plans to Boost Production of Medical Supplies, PPE, and Testing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE, Relief Funds and Loans, Testing

Reps. Maxine Waters (chairwoman, House Financial Services Committee), Eliot Engel (chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs), Adam Smith (chairman, House Committee on Armed Services), Bennie Thompson (chairman, House Committee on Homeland Security), and Frank Pallone Jr. (chairman, House Committee on Energy and Commerce) wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking why the administration had not used CARES Act funding for the Defense Production Act to boost domestic production of critical medical supplies and equipment needed to combat Covid-19, such as PPE and diagnostic testing. The CARES Act provided $1 billion to help boost production of medical supplies, but the administration has, to date, only spent $212 million on the health sector, while proposing allocating $688 million to support the defense industry. Lawmakers urged the administration to provide detailed information regarding its actions and plans related to increasing domestic production of medical supplies and equipment before allocating any further CARES Act funds to carry out the Defense Production Act.

07/14/2020
Administration’s Efforts to Increase Domestic Production of Critical Supplies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Members of Congress wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting information about the federal government’s efforts to increase the domestic production of medical supplies and equipment in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The letter also raises questions regarding the Defense Production Act.

07/14/2020
Request to Labor Department to Uphold Labor Standards and Ensure Immigration and Workforce Systems Sustain Viable Migration Pathways Promoting Safe Workplaces
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism

Rep. Joaquin Castro and seven other members of Congress wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia expressing concern over President Trump’s June 2020 executive proclamation suspending all work visas, particularly H1-B visas, during the Covid-19 pandemic. The members urged Scalia to uphold strong labor standards to ensure that the U.S.’s immigration and workforce systems sustain viable migration pathways that promote equal rights and safe workplaces, while raising wages for all workers. They noted that if Labor decides to issue regulations pursuant to Trump’s proclamation, that regulations for guest worker programs include provisions that ensure American workers have an opportunity to apply for open positions, that guest workers are paid fairly according to local standards, and that Labor take its enforcement mission seriously by holding employers accountable for recruitment and hiring abuses.

07/14/2020
Efforts to Block Testimony by Fauci, Azar, and Birx: House Subcommittee Letter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and HHS Secretary Alex Azar, regarding the Trump administration’s efforts to block testimony by health experts. The subcommittee had invited NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, and Azar to testify, but the administration refused to make them available.

07/13/2020
FDA Evaluation of Reliability of Coronavirus Tests
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn requesting information about the steps the FDA is taking to ensure the reliability of both diagnostic and serological coronavirus tests.

07/13/2020
Request to Education Department to Rescind IFR and Give Institutions Maximum Flexibility to Distribute CARES Act Education Aid
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

Reps. Bobby Scott (chair, House Committee on Education and Labor) and Rosa DeLauro (chair, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, House Committee on Appropriations), and Sen. Patty Murray (ranking member, Senate HELP Committee) wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos expressing concern about the Education Department’s interim final rule (IFR) to prevent millions of students from getting the emergency relief Congress provided under the CARES Act. The members argued that while the department has taken the position that emergency financial aid grants to students are limited to those eligible to participate in Title IV programs under Section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, the legal basis and rationale put forth in support of this position are flawed. They stated that the CARES Act did not impose any eligibility restrictions on students, and that limiting eligibility to Title IV eligible students denies aid to students in need who are facing significant financial challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. They urged DeVos to immediately rescind both the guidance and the IFR, and grant institutions the maximum flexibility to distribute this emergency aid.

07/09/2020
Request to CDC to Testify Before Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield inviting him, or his designee, to testify before the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education on July 23, 2020. The committee asked Redfield to discuss the immediate needs of K-12 public schools amid the Covid-19 crisis, as many districts examine the possibility of reopening in the fall.

07/08/2020
Facebook’s Response to Coronavirus Related Disinformation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg requesting information on Facebook’s response to coronavirus-related disinformation, in the form of monthly reports which detail Facebook’s disinformation efforts for U.S. users.

07/08/2020
ACA’s Accrediting Process
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to American Correctional Association Executive Director James Gondles Jr. requesting information about how the Affordable Care Act is ensuring that the facilities it accredits are properly managing the coronavirus crisis and providing sufficient care to those infected with the virus.

07/08/2020
Investigating Trump’s Withdrawal from the WHO
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

Members of Congress wrote to acting OMB Director Russell Vought requesting information about how the president’s decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization furthered the nation’s public health interests, including the decision-making process and the administration’s full withdrawal plan.

07/08/2020
Outstanding Stimulus Checks: House Subcommittee Letter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig regarding the millions of Americans who did not receive Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act.

07/07/2020
Request to HHS, DOL, and Treasury to Revisit Guidance Limiting COVID-19 Testing Coverage
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Testing

Bicameral Democratic health committee leaders wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressing their concerns with guidance issued by the Trump administration allowing insurance plans and group health plans to deny coverage claims for Covid-19 tests and other related services. They note that this is in violation of Congress’ legislative intent that these tests be provided without consumer cost-sharing and without limitation. They requested that HHS, Labor, and the Treasury clarify the obligations of group health plans and insurers to provide robust and comprehensive coverage for Covid-19 testing.

07/02/2020
Request to HHS and FEMA to Release Contracts with Fillakit
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor requesting information about FEMA’s contracts with Fillakit and the ramifications of the unreliable tests provided by this company.

07/02/2020
Coronavirus Research Grants and Vaccine Development: House Letter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

Reps. James Clyburn and Carolyn Maloney requested from the Department of Health and Human Services contract agreements with private entities for research into or manufacturing of coronavirus treatments or vaccines, as well as information about how HHS will ensure any approved vaccine is affordably priced.

07/01/2020
Investigating Inappropriate Nursing Home Evictions
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma requesting an end to inappropriate nursing home evictions.

07/01/2020
Investigating Food and Beverage Safety During Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, and Cory Booker sent letters to Archer Daniels Midland Company, the Coca-Cola Company, Kraft Heinz, Mars Inc., Mondelez International, and PepsiCo requesting information about the steps each company is taking to prioritize worker health, prevent potential outbreaks of coronavirus at their facilities, and ensure coronavirus doesn’t impact supply chains.

07/01/2020
Privacy Concerns Regarding HHS Collection of Data
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Members of Congress wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting information about all HHS initiatives involving the collection or use of individual data, and ways in which HHS plans to protect individual privacy.

07/01/2020
Farm Operations During Coronavirus Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, and Cory Booker sent letters to Florida Crystals Corporation, Iowa Select Farms, J.G. Boswell Company, J.R. Simplot Company, R.D. Offutt Company, and Wonderful Inc. requesting information about the steps each company is taking to prioritize worker health, prevent potential outbreaks of coronavirus at their farms, and ensure coronavirus doesn’t impact food supply chains.

06/29/2020
Scientific Reliability of HHS and CDC Recommendations
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting details about how HHS and the CDC ensure recommendations and policies are scientifically sound, and whether the CDC has sufficient resources to carry out the pandemic response.

06/29/2020
Marathon Petroleum’s Tax Break in CARES Act
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse wrote to Marathon Petroleum Corporation CEO Michael Hennigan requesting information to determine how Maratthon Petroleum has benefited from the net operating losses tax provision in the CARES Act.

06/26/2020
Request to HHS to Release State Testing Plans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting information regarding testing plans on the state and local level.

06/26/2020
Requesting Information on Efforts to Replenish Strategic National Stockpile
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Six senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting visibility into the agency’s efforts to manage and replenish the Strategic National Stockpile.

06/25/2020
Request to Trump to Ensure CARES Act Funding Assists Fishermen and Fishing Industry
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The House Natural Resources Committee wrote to President Trump detailing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the seafood industry and fishermen’s livelihoods. Lawmakers noted that while the CARES Act includes $300 million to Tribal, subsistence, commercial, and charter fishery participants, Commerce took six weeks to determine how to allocate the funds; as of the date of the letter, the lawmakers noted that fishermen have yet to receive any CARES Act monies. They also noted that while Trump issued an executive order (“Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth”) on May 7, 2020, the order does not help the fishing industry in the near term and will have negative impacts on both the industry and fish in the long term.

06/24/2020
Possible Privacy Violations by Ventel: Congressional Letter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

Members of Congress wrote to Ventel Inc. President Chris Gildea requesting information about Ventel’s Covid-19 relief efforts and details about the location data Ventel collects.

06/23/2020
Ensuring Safety in the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s Reopening
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

Senators wrote to EOIR Director James McHenry requesting information about the office’s decision to resume hearings, the decision-making process, and how it will ensure hearings are safe.

06/23/2020
SBA Duplicate PPP Loans: House Subcommittee Letter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus sent a letter to the Inspector General of the Small Business Administration, requesting an investigation into a vulnerability in loan processing at the SBA that led to many businesses receiving duplicate loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.

06/22/2020
Request to HHS IG to Investigate Funding Related to Coronavirus Testing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

Four senators wrote to HHS Acting Inspector General Christi Grimm requesting a review of all funding streams related to coronavirus diagnostic testing and an investigation determining whether any program was slowed at the request of the president.

06/22/2020
Investigating the Meat Industry’s Manipulation of the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Cory Booker wrote Tyson Foods CEO Noel White, JBS USA CEO Andre Nogueira, Cargill CEO David MacLennan, and Smithfield Foods CEO Kenneth Sullivan requesting information about the companies’ handling of the pandemic, including sick leave policies and actions taken for workers with coronavirus. They requested information about how many tons of meat were produced, how much was exported to China, and the prices of meat for domestic consumers.

06/22/2020
White House Dismissal of Case Surges and Possible Suppression of Testing: House Subcommittee Letter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, CDC Director Robert Redfield, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar for projections on coronavirus cases as well as for documents or communications regarding efforts to limit the number of tests.

06/18/2020
N95 Respirator Production
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Jan Schakowsky wrote to Vice President Pence requesting information about the administration’s choice not to build up domestic manufacturing for N95 masks in the beginning stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

06/18/2020
Economic and Unemployment Projections: House Subcommittee Letter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Council of Economic Advisers Acting Chairman Tomas Philipson, and OMB Acting Director Russell Vought asking the White House to release unemployment claims and economic projections.

06/16/2020
Plans to Control the Coronavirus Pandemic in Nursing Homes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to CMS Administrator Seema Verma requesting information about CMS’s plans for controlling the spread of the coronavirus in nursing homes, including the number of coronavirus tests performed and projections of the pandemic’s spread through December 2021.

06/16/2020
Covid-19 Deaths in Nursing Homes: House Subcommittee Letter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent a letter to Seema Verma, the director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as to the CEOs of five senior-care companies (Genesis HealthCare, Life Care Centers of America, Ensign Group, Consulate Health Care, and SavaSeniorCare) seeking coronavirus-related projections, company information, and related communications or complaints, to investigate the devastating impact of Covid-19 on nursing home residents and workers.

06/15/2020
Letter Requesting Dr. Moncef Slaoui Resolve Ethics Concerns
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

Sens. Warren and Blumenthal, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar expressing concern about Chief Adviser for Operation Warp Speed Dr. Moncef Slaoui’s conflicts of interest and demand that he be hired as a special government employee and that he resolve his conflicts of interest.

06/15/2020
Investigating the Efficacy of the Paycheck Protection Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza requesting communications with banks and industry associations, all applications received, and loans granted to determine whether the Paycheck Protection Program has favored large companies over struggling small businesses.

06/15/2020
Major Banks and the Distribution of PPP Funds: House Subcommittee Letter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent a letter to the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration, as well as to eight banks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, PNC Bank, Truist Bank, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Citibank, and Santander) regarding preferential loan processing and waste in the Paycheck Protection Program.

06/15/2020
Request to HHS and CMS to Help Uninsured and Underinsured Americans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Reps. Frank Pallone, Bobby Scott, and Richard Neal, and Sens. Patty Murray and Ron Wyden wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma to ask the Trump administration to help the uninsured and underinsured amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The letter follows an April 13 letter, written to HHS, Labor, and Treasury, requesting information on the steps the administration would take to ensure robust access to health insurance coverage through the insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. However, the members’ request for this information, as well as their request for related data, had gone unanswered.

06/13/2020
Investigating the Paycheck Protection Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Reps. Richard Neal, Maxine Waters, and Nydia Velazquez wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza requesting information about the recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program and the loans granted to these recipients.

06/12/2020
Request to Education Department to Stop Imposing Onerous and Unauthorized Requirements on HEER Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos expressing concern over unauthorized guidance to restrict Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) funds to millions of students across the country. After the passage of the CARES Act, the Education Department released the HEER certification of agreement form, which established the conditions institutions would accept to receive HEER funds; many institutions immediately applied for this emergency aid by signing and transmitting these forms. However, after an initial wave of applications, the department released a guidance document interpreting the CARES Act to include several restrictions on institutions’ HEER funds. Among these provisions, it claimed that the CARES Act prohibited institutions from providing HEER funds to students ineligible for Title IV student aid, such as federal direct loans, a restriction not specified in the CARES Act. The committee expressed concern that these restrictions would exclude students in needs, and urged the department to stop imposing onerous and unauthorized requirements on emergency relief funds and facilitate institutions’ distribution of aid.

06/11/2020
Request to HHS to Withdraw Proposed Rule Allowing Taxpayer-Funded Discrimination Against LGBTQ Communities and Religious Minorities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Ron Wyden and Patty Murray wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar to ask him to withdraw a proposed rule that would allow recipients of HHS grants and contracts to discriminate against LGBTQ communities and religious minorities across the country. The senators expressed concern the rule would make it more difficult for vulnerable populations to benefit from programs and receive services they need to remain safe and healthy during the Covid-19 crisis. They ask instead that HHS use departmental resources to expand health-care services and access during the crisis.

06/11/2020
Request to HHS to Establish A Single, Comprehensive, and Publicly Available Data Source for CARES Act Provider Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

In the interest of transparency around Covid-19 relief funds, the Senate Finance Committee wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking that his agency create a comprehensive public database of funds distributed from the CARES Act to health-care providers.

06/10/2020
EPA’s Coronavirus Policies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Members of Congress wrote to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler requesting information to show how the EPA is implementing its Covid-19 enforcement policy.

06/08/2020
Project Airbridge Initiative
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Senators wrote to Pandemic Response Accountability Committee Acting Chair Michael Horowitz requesting that he investigate the president’s Project Airbridge Initiative, specifically the origin and effectiveness of the Initiative and the amount of medical supplies it provided.

06/03/2020
Request to HHS to Disperse Covid-19 Relief Funds to Medicaid Providers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The chairs and ranking members of the committees of jurisdiction over Medicaid wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar expressing concern over prolonged delays in disbursing funds from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for Medicaid-dependent providers. The letter was signed by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr., House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Greg Walden, Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley, and Senate Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden. The members highlighted the need for a dedicated distribution from the PHSSEF for providers who rely on Medicaid.

05/28/2020
Investigating Conditions at Otay Mesa Detention Center
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Members of Congress to DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari requesting an investigation into the death of a detained person at Otay Mesa Detention Center due to coronavirus. They also requested that the investigation determine what measures ICE has taken to ensure the testing, treatment, and care of detained people.

05/28/2020
Request to GAO to Investigate Mental Health Services Contracts Among Insurance Companies
Source: Sen. Ron Wyden
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

As the Covid-19 pandemic increased demand for mental health services, Sen. Ron Wyden wrote to the Government Accountability Office to request data on mental health parity. Wyden requested that the GAO examine what is known about the role of behavioral health service organizations that many Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and commercial health plans contract with for their coverage of mental health-care services. Specifically, he requested this information so as to understand whether the delivery of mental health-care services meets federal parity requirements.

05/28/2020
Request to Treasury for Assurances That Mnuchin Would Not Follow Illegal Orders from Trump to Withhold Federal Aid from States
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Ron Wyden, Patrick Leahy, Chuck Schumer, and Amy Klobuchar requested assurances from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that he would not follow an illegal order from President Trump to withhold federal aid from states that facilitate voting by mail during the Covid-19 pandemic.

05/21/2020
Request to Trump to Extend Title 32 Activation of the National Guard in Light of Covid-19 Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

The activation of the National Guard under Title 32 provides essential support to states and localities as they confront the Covid-19 pandemic. Guard members are assisting with testing, especially for vulnerable populations (such as those in nursing homes), logistics, and warehouse distribution support. Reps. Adam Smith (chair, House Armed Services Committee) and Jackie Speier (chair, Subcommittee on Military Personnel) wrote to President Trump asking him to extend Title 32 activation until the end of September 2020 at the earliest, from its original end date of June 24.

05/21/2020
White House Development of National Vaccination Plans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote to Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Deborah Birx asking whether the administration had a plan for manufacturing and equitably distributing a coronavirus vaccine, preparing existing immunization infrastructure for this, and educating providers and patients about the vaccine.

05/20/2020
Request to Education Department to Rescind “Equitable Service” Guidance
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Committee on Education and Labor, House Committee on Appropriations, and Senate HELP Committee wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking her agency to rescind its “equitable service” guidance, which would redirect Covid-19 relief funding away from students in public schools to fund services for students in private schools, regardless of their wealth or residence.

05/19/2020
Request to HHS to Ensure College Students Continued Access to Health Care Amid Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

The House Committee on Education and Labor and the Senate HELP Committee wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking him to take proactive steps to help more than 14 million displaced college students maintain access to health-care coverage amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

05/19/2020
Request to Education Department to Stop Garnishing Wages of Student Loan Borrowers Amid Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking for an explanation for her agency illegally garnishing the wages of student loan borrowers amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This action, the committee noted, was in direct violation of the CARES Act, which suspends all student loan payments until Sept. 30, 2020, and halts all debt collection activities, including wage garnishment.

05/19/2020
Request to Labor Department Regarding When People May Refuse to Return to Work and Continue to Claim UI or PUA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Ron Wyden and 21 other senators wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia requesting clarification on circumstances under which individuals may refuse to return to work due to the Covid-19 crisis, but still continue to claim Unemployment Insurance (UI) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

05/14/2020
Investigating ICE’s Inadequate Response to Coronavirus Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence for the third time, criticizing ICE’s approach to the pandemic and requesting that ICE parole all detainees whose release does not require a court order. The committee also reiterated requests for information about the number of infected and medically vulnerable detainees in ICE custody and ICE’s plan to treat these detainees.

05/11/2020
Request to Travel-Sector Stakeholders for Feedback on Trump’s Budget Request and Legislation Impacting TSA Operations
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee wrote to transportation and travel sector stakeholders requesting feedback regarding President Trump’s budget request for FY 2021, the CARES Act, and other legislation impacting TSA operations and programs in light of the Covid-19 crisis. Responses from the stakeholders (Airlines for America, Airports Council International North America, American Association of Airport Executives, Security Manufacturers Coalition, Surface Transportation Security Advisory Committee, and the U.S. Travel Association) are included in the order mentioned, with the exception of Airlines for America (link provided by the committee could not be opened): https://www.commerce.senate.gov/services/files/F3CA88E2-5F8C-429E-8797-07A23B8FC4CE; https://www.commerce.senate.gov/services/files/A9CDA2FB-AFEA-4A2E-957B-4CFC8C86B806l; https://www.commerce.senate.gov/services/files/F2D05655-1C18-4450-9D1B-E0C23C5DD6CB; https://www.commerce.senate.gov/services/files/A1037232-0245-4D6B-93AF-A934AAB89B98; https://www.commerce.senate.gov/services/files/5F7F69D8-2764-4FBA-A4E3-8624E125612F).

05/08/2020
Request to Treasury For Detailed Report on the Status of the Payroll Support Program (PSP), Included Within the CARES Act
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin requesting information on the implementation of CARES Act assistance for the air transportation industry. In particular, the senators asked Mnuchin to provide a detailed report on the status of the Payroll Support Program (PSP) included within the CARES Act, which authorizes the Treasury to provide direct assistance to air carriers and their airport-based contractors to ensure the continued payment of their employees’ wages, salaries, and benefits.

05/08/2020
Large Corporations’ Use of PPP Small Business Funds: House Subcommittee Letter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent letters to five large public corporations (EVO Transportation & Energy Services, Gulf Island Fabrication, MiMedx Group, Quantum Corporation, Universal Stainless & Alloy Products), demanding that each return the Paycheck Protection Program loans intended for small businesses.

05/08/2020
Request to Education Department to Abandon Plan to Divert Education Stabilization Fund Monies from Public Schools Toward Private School Vouchers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking her agency to abandon its plan to divert emergency education funding, intended to provide Covid-19 relief for public schools, toward private school vouchers.

05/07/2020
The Trump Organization’s Ties to Funding
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Trump Family Business

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote to the Trump Organization’s Executive Vice President Eric Trump asking for records of the company’s requests for financial benefits from domestic and foreign governments because of the coronavirus crisis.

05/05/2020
Request to Trump to Direct FEMA to Waive Cost-Share Requirements for Assistance Under Emergency Declaration
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Washington state’s congressional delegation wrote to President Trump in support of Gov. Jay Inslee’s April 30 request to direct FEMA to waive all cost-share requirements for assistance authorized under the Emergency Declaration issued on March 13, 2020, and Major Disaster Declaration issued on March 22 for Washington state in response to Covid-19.

05/05/2020
Request to HHS to Send Funds to Medicaid-Focused Providers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar voicing concerns that, to date, roughly $70 billion had been distributed to health-care providers under the CARES Act in a way that discriminated against Medicaid-dependent providers. Wyden and Pallone called on Azar and the administration to address the lack of financial relief for Medicaid providers fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

05/04/2020
Request to Education Department to Delay Rulemaking in Distance Education Until Congress Can Better Assess Needs of Students and Institutions
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

Rep. Bobby Scott, Sen. Patty Murray, and other members of Congress wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking her to delay changes to distance education rules as students and schools adapt to virtual classrooms in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The letter writers urged DeVos to delay rulemaking until Congress and the public could better assess the needs of students and institutions.

05/04/2020
Request to Labor Department for Information Related to Using a National Interest Exemption to Respond to Covid-19 Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to the director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) at the Labor Department, Craig Leen, expressing strong opposition to Labor’s recent guidance allowing new service, supply, and construction contracts related to Covid-19 response to avoid federal affirmative action requirements. In March, the OFCCP issued a National Interest Exemption (NIE), which has been used in regional emergencies, but has little precedent for national emergencies. In the letter, the committee noted that federal contracts to address the Covid-19 pandemic crisis will be magnitudes greater in cost and likely far longer in duration than those of previous emergencies. The committee asked Labor to disclose how many contracts the NIE will impact, how many qualified candidates will lose opportunities for employment, and whether the NIE will further weaken enforcement of civil rights laws with respect to federal government contractors.

05/01/2020
Limiting Coronavirus Spread to Latin America
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

Senators wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf requesting that they mandate Covid-19 testing for migrants before they are deported from the U.S.

04/30/2020
Political Interference in HHS Response to Coronavirus
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

Senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking for information to ensure that political interference isn’t influencing HHS, including ways in which HHS employees can file complaints and and how the department avoids ideological bias.

04/29/2020
FEMA’s Distribution of Medical Supplies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure wrote to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor requesting detailed information about the supply chain for medical equipment, including names of suppliers, information about volunteers, and the allocation of resources to specific states.

04/28/2020
Follow-up Letter on FDA’s Policies Regarding Coronavirus Testing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

The House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to follow up on the committee’s inquiries into the FDA’s policies regarding serological testing for coronavirus.

04/28/2020
Demographic Data of Incarcerated People in Home Confinement
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Senators wrote to Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal asking that he release demographic data of incarcerated people who are currently in home confinement or are awaiting transfer to home confinement.

04/27/2020
Request to Pence to Issue Comprehensive Covid-19 National Testing Strategy
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing

Washington state’s congressional delegation wrote to Vice President Mike Pence iterating the need for a comprehensive, national strategy for Covid-19 testing. The delegation asked the administration to quickly issue a comprehensive strategic plan to address testing in the U.S. and move rapidly to build out this system.

04/27/2020
Participants of Project Airbridge
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Richard Blumenthal wrote letters to the CEOs of Cardinal Health, Concordance Healthcare Solutions, Henry Schein, McKesson Corporation, Medline Industries, and Owens & Minor, Inc. requesting information about their participation in Project Airbridge, a public-private partnership to distribute medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. They requested information about how the companies were chosen to participate, what contracts were in place, and how the companies receive, price, and distribute medical supplies.

04/24/2020
President’s Emergency Authorities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Judiciary Committee requested that Attorney General William Barr provide information and documents regarding President Trump’s potential use of emergency powers to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

04/24/2020
FEMA’s Covid-19 Response to Underprivileged Communities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

35 members of Congress wrote DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor expressing concern over FEMA’s past response to disasters impacting underprivileged communities and requesting information on how FEMA plans to equitably address communities’ Covid-19 needs.

04/23/2020
Trump Organization’s Seeking of Rent Relief During Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Trump Family Business

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure wrote to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy expressing concern about reports that the Trump Organization was seeking rent relief, and asking for information about these requests and correspondence between the Trump Organization and GSA.

04/23/2020
Political Influence in Dr. Bright’s Reassignment
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to HHS Principal Deputy Inspector General Christi Grimm requesting an investigation into the reassignment of Dr. Rick Bright.

04/22/2020
Administration’s Distribution of Medical Supplies and Political Opportunism: Senate Letter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Medical Supplies and PPE, Political Opportunism

Ten senators sent a letter to the Inspectors General of the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, calling for investigations into whether electoral motivations influenced the Trump administration’s involvement in the distribution of medical equipment to states or the decision to put the president’s signature on relief checks.

04/21/2020
Request to Education Department for Clear Guidance on Protecting Needs of Students with Disabilities During and Following Nationwide School Closures Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Chris Murphy and Bill Cassidy wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking for clear guidance to protect the needs of students with disabilities during and following nationwide school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators noted that as the Education Department considers any recommendations to Congress for additional flexibility with regards to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), they were committed to seeking targeted supplemental funding for IDEA in the next Covid-19 stimulus package.

04/21/2020
Request to Trump to Confront Surging Anti-Asian Racism During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Robert Menendez, Chuck Schumer, Mazie Hirono, and Tammy Baldwin, and 25 other senators wrote a letter to President Trump echoing concerns regarding the surge in anti-Asian racism in the context of Covid-19.

04/21/2020
Request to Treasury to Issue Additional Guidance on How State and Local Governments Can Use CARES Act Funding, Including as Revenue Replacement
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination

Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asking him to issue additional guidance on how state and local governments can use funding secured in the CARES Act, including as revenue replacement. The senators also asked that the administration work with them to ensure that new funding for state and local governments beyond the CARES Act is robust, dedicated, and flexible, allowing governments to provide critical services and address significant budget shortfalls associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

04/21/2020
Management and Distribution of Medical Supplies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Ten senators wrote to DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari and HHS Principal Deputy IG Christi Grimm to request an investigation into the management and distribution of medical supplies by FEMA and HHS.

04/21/2020
Request to Treasury for Information on Decision to Include Trump’s Signature on Covid-19 Economic Impact Payment Checks
Source: Sen. Ron Wyden
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Ron Wyden requested Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin provide information about the decision-making process that led to Donald Trump’s name being printed on Economic Impact Payment checks intended to assist Americans with the effects of the Covid-19 epidemic. Wyden worried that the signatures would delay delivery of the checks.

04/20/2020
Request to Pence, USDA, FDA, EPA, and DHS for Information About Actions to Ensure Safety of Food Supply and Workforce
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Debbie Stabenow and 35 other senators wrote to Vice President Mike Pence, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, and Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf seeking information about what agencies are doing to ensure the safety of the country’s food supply and to protect essential federal and private-sector food supply chain workforce.

04/20/2020
Request for Information from HHS and FEMA Regarding Distribution of Emergency Supplies to States
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor requesting information about the administration’s response to states’ requests for emergency equipment, the distribution of that equipment, and future plans for its distribution.

04/20/2020
Request to Aviation, Security, and Travel Sector Stakeholders on Challenges in Meeting REAL ID Implementation Deadline
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Roger Wicker (chairman, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation) sent a letter to aviation-, security-, and travel-sector stakeholders to inquire about challenges in meeting the Oct. 1, 2021, REAL ID implementation deadline and the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on implementing the REAL ID Act.

The responses from the stakeholders (American Association of Airport Executives, American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, National Governors Association, U.S. Travel Association, and National Council of State Legislatures) are included below in the order listed: https://www.commerce.senate.gov/services/files/957A6D10-B919-4CF1-9011-67416A8573AF; https://www.commerce.senate.gov/services/files/592D3B56-6B26-4031-9ADB-C8E4E4469D88; https://www.commerce.senate.gov/services/files/3F1256AC-AC06-42C7-B7BF-51C97109F32D; https://www.commerce.senate.gov/services/files/E8FB9F1D-A83F-48CC-BCEC-46C57BE25833; https://www.commerce.senate.gov/services/files/0B559740-8587-4562-AE0F-5B5ADA5A524B

04/17/2020
Investigating Coronavirus Response in Nursing Homes: Senate Letter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Finance Committee wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma requesting an explanation of how they intended to use the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund and that they release plans to update training for personnel in nursing homes and other longterm care facilities.

04/17/2020
Investigating Small Business Relief Programs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Senators wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza requesting information about the number and amount of loans distributed to small businesses, nonprofits, and religious organizations through the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Emergency Grants Program.

04/16/2020
Political Pressures Interfering with FDA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

The Senate HELP Committee wrote to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn requesting information about the mechanisms are in place to prevent political interference with the FDA’s scientific decision-making process.

04/16/2020
Navy’s Pandemic Preparedness
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Senators wrote to Acting Secretary of the Navy James McPherson requesting information about the Navy’s pandemic response, including how much PPE is available to the Navy and what procedures the Navy has identified for controlling and adapting to possible outbreaks.

04/15/2020
Philips Corporation’s Role in Lack of Available Ventilators
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy wrote to CEO Vitor Rocha of the Philips North American Corporation, which had a contract to provide ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile. The letter requests production schedules, specified communications and contracts with the federal government, and ventilator specifications.

04/15/2020
White House Coronavirus Task Force Conflicts-of-Interest Concerns
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response

Sens. Warren, Blumenthal, and Carper wrote to White House Senior Counsel Scott Gast expressing concern that members of the Coronavirus Task Force and other members of the administration involved in responding to the pandemic have potential financial conflicts of interest, that members were using communications methods that potentially violate the Presidential Records Act, and that the task force is potentially violating the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

04/15/2020
Request to HHS Regarding Distribution of Remaining $70 Billion in Provider Fund from CARES Act
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Ron Wyden and 11 other senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting the administration be transparent and equitable in its distribution of the remaining $70 billion in the CARES Act Provider Fund. The letter outlined two key priorities for the administration to adhere to when it distributes the remaining funds: First, providing a detailed and public account of where all funds have gone, as well as a thorough explanation of the criteria used to determine which providers receive funds. Second, ensuring an equitable distribution of funds to where they are needed most. The senators requested that future distributions account for the imbalanced allocation of the first $30 billion, ensure that all providers receive the resources they need, and avoid penalizing states for their efforts to expand qualified, comprehensive health coverage.

04/14/2020
USPTO’s Operations and Finances In Response to COVID-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Members of Congress wrote Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu requesting information on the office’s transition to remote work, the impact of Covid-19 on the number of trademark and patent application filings, and the impact of Covid-19 on the office’s finances.

04/14/2020
EPA’s Enforcement of Air Pollution Regulations
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Senators wrote to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler requesting information about the air pollution regulations the EPA is enforcing and the steps the EPA is taking to improve air quality in light of the link between air pollution and worsened Covid-19 patient outcomes.

04/13/2020
Request to Labor Department to Clarify Guidance on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program Eligibility
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Chuck Schumer and 33 other senators wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia to request that the Labor Department clarify its guidance pertaining to workers who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 without receiving a test, workers with Covid-19 who take time off of work, workers without child-care options in summer months, workers unable to get to work due to stay-at-home orders, workers with underlying health conditions like asthma, and self-employed workers like gig workers experiencing plummeting demand for services. The senators argue that parts of the guidance appear narrow or ambiguous, which could make states think they need to exclude workers whom Congress intended to receive unemployment compensation through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

04/13/2020
Request to HHS, Treasury, and Labor to Establish New Special Enrollment Period for Those Impacted by Pandemic and Economic Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Committee on Ways and Means, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, House Committee on Education and Labor, Senate Committee on Finance, and the Senate HELP Committee wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia asking them to immediately establish a new Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for millions affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis. The committees also called on the Trump administration to use all administrative tools available to assist those affected by the pandemic in accessing health insurance coverage, including through expanded awareness of the existing SEP for those who lose their employer-based health coverage.

04/10/2020
Requesting Coronavirus Task Force to Upgrade Testing Capacity
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

Senators wrote to Vice President Pence requesting that HHS and FEMA conduct a national inventory of the country’s coronavirus test supply and provide a detailed plan for addressing future gaps in the testing supply chain.

04/10/2020
Requesting Oversight of Private Medical Supply Distributors
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Senators wrote to Vice President Pence requesting information about the private distributors of medical supplies and the oversight that FEMA is conducting of these private distributors.

04/10/2020
Oversight Needed of Private-Sector Distribution of Medical Supplies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Senators wrote to Vice President Pence asking for information about the role of the private sector in distributing medical supplies and what oversight FEMA is conducting of this distribution.

04/10/2020
Concerns About Administration’s PPE Supply Chain
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Senators wrote to Vice President Pence expressing concern that the administration’s use of private companies to distribute medical supplies opens opportunities for waste and fraud. They requested details on the administration’s distribution plan and how the administration was using the Defense Production Act to guide distribution efforts.

04/10/2020
DOJ’s Response to Coronavirus Outbreaks in Prisons
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Judiciary Committee wrote to Attorney General William Barr requesting more information about how the Justice Department is managing high levels of coronavirus infection at FCI Oakdale, FCI Elkton, and FCI Danbury. The letter requests information about available PPE and social distancing guidelines.

04/10/2020
Need for Expansion of Coronavirus Testing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing, Vulnerable Populations

Senators wrote to Vice President Pence requesting that the White House Coronavirus Task Force conduct a national inventory of the country’s coronavirus test supply, release data on testing results, and provide a detailed plan for fixing gaps in the testing supply chain, especially in regards to Indian tribes.

04/10/2020
The Role of Private Companies in PPE Distribution
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response

Senators wrote to Vice President Pence asking for more details regarding FEMA’s use of private companies to distribute personal protective equipment, with specific note as to how PPE is being allocated and how FEMA is conducting oversight.

04/10/2020
Racial Disparities in Testing and Treatment: Congressional Letter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

Members of Congress (Sens. Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Robin Kelly) sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services urging the agency to collect racial and ethnic demographic data on Covid-19 testing.

04/10/2020
Request to DOJ IG and CIGIE Chair For Input on Legislative and Other Proposals to Increase the Independence of IGs and Protect Them From Retaliation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The chairs of multiple House committees wrote to Justice Department Inspector General and Chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) Michael Horowitz condemning President Trump’s assault on inspectors general and requesting direct input from the CIGIE on legislative and other proposals to increase the independence of IGs and protect them from retaliation. The letter highlighted several actions by the president against IGs, including removing the newly appointed Chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.

04/09/2020
Investigating the Trump Administration’s Tax Policies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Lloyd Doggett wrote to Vice President Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and OMB Acting Director Russell Vought to request communications pertaining to the administration’s advocacy for two tax provisions included in the CARES Act, both of which would reduce tax revenue.

04/09/2020
Creation of PPE Distribution Strategy
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Committees on Armed Services, Energy and Commerce, and Homeland Security wrote to President Trump requesting a clear strategy and national coordination plan to issue contracts for distributing personal protective equipment, ventilators, and testing.

04/08/2020
Request to Treasury to Shift Unspent Funds in TARP to Hardest Hit Fund
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program
Relief Funds and Loans

The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) Christy Goldsmith Romero wrote to Treasury Secertary Steve Mnuchin recommending that the Treasury put to better use unspent funds in TARP to enhance existing unemployment mortgage assistance through the Hardest Hit Fund in light of recent, significant unemployment due to the Covid-19 crisis. A response to SIGTARP, from Gavin Beske (deputy assistant secretary for community and economic development), is also included.

04/08/2020
Fighting Impending Drug Shortages
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Sens. Gary Peters and Patty Murray wrote to Vice President Pence, HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, and FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor asking for the administration’s plans to prevent critical drug shortages in the face of the pandemic.

04/08/2020
CBP’s Treatment of Pregnant People
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Senators wrote to DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari requesting an investigation into the treatment of pregnant people by Customs and Border Protection personnel.

04/07/2020
Request to CDC to Release Coronavirus Testing Demographic Data
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

Multiple members of Congress wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting demographics data related to coronavirus testing.

04/07/2020
Problems in FEMA’s Oversight of PPE and Supply Distribution
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Committees on Homeland Security and Oversight and Reform wrote to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor requesting information on how FEMA is acquiring and distributing personal protective equipment and medical supplies, including any seizures by FEMA of this equipment, as well as FEMA’s communications with White House officials like Jared Kushner regarding medical supplies.

04/06/2020
Royalty Cuts to Oil and Gas Producers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

16 members of Congress wrote to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt urging him to ignore requests from Republicans asking for royalty cuts for oil and gas producers on federal land in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

04/06/2020
USCIS’s Potential Exacerbation of Physician Shortages During Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

37 members of Congress wrote to Ken Cuccinelli (then consider USCIS acting director) requesting that USCIS rethink its suspension of Form I-129 and I-140 processing, as the suspension could exacerbate physician shortages by preventing foreign physicians from working in the U.S.

04/06/2020
Imports Needed to Fight Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

The House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance wrote to U.S. International Trade Commission Chairman David Johnson requesting that the agency conduct an investigation to determine which imported products may be needed to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

04/03/2020
Disbursing Loan to USPS
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Members of Congress (Sens. Gary Peters and Tom Carper and Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney and Gerald E. Connolly) wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requesting the administration disburse the $10 billion loan Congress authorized the administration to provide to the Postal Service in the CARES Act.

04/03/2020
Request to HHS OIG to Investigate Potential Interference In Management of Strategic National Stockpile
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Senators wrote to the HHS principal deputy inspector general requesting an investigation into potential interference in the management of the Strategic National Stockpile for political purposes following an alteration of the stockpile’s description.

04/03/2020
EPA’s Enforcement Suspension
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey wrote to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler requesting information about the decision-making process behind the EPA’s suspension of its enforcement of environmental laws, including whether the EPA analyzed how this decision will impact emissions.

04/03/2020
Request to Vice President Pence and HHS to Establish General Special Enrollment Period
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Committee on Ways and Means, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, House Committee on Education and Labor, Senate Committee on Finance, and the Senate HELP Committee wrote to Vice President Mike Pence and HHS Secretary Alex Azar urging the administration to establish a general Special Enrollment Period (SEP) so that people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can sign up for health insurance coverage. The committees expressed concern that the administration rejected establishing a general SEP amid the pandemic, and asked that the administration reconsider this decision and allow uninsured and underinsured Americans to have access to comprehensive health insurance coverage through Healthcare.gov.

04/02/2020
Unemployment Provisions During Coronavirus Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

The House Committee on Ways and Means wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia requesting information about when his department will grant states increased funds and allow states to begin providing increased unemployment compensation to workers.

04/01/2020
Distributing PPE to Health-Care Workers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Committee on Ways and Means wrote to Vice President Pence requesting information about how the White House Coronavirus Task Force is distributing personal protective equipment to frontline health-care workers.

04/01/2020
Request to OMB to Extend Public Comment Periods During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Fourteen House committee chairs wrote to OMB Acting Director Russell Vought requesting an immediate extension of public comment periods, hearings, and meetings due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The committee leaders asked that the Office of Management and Budget direct agencies to extend public comment periods by at least 45 days beyond the end of the declared national emergency.

03/31/2020
FEMA’s Coronavirus Response in U.S. Territories
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Natural Resources wrote to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor requesting information about FEMA’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in U.S. territories, including how FEMA intends to support vulnerable populations and ensure access to food and water for residents.

03/31/2020
Request to NLRB to Reverse Suspension of Union Elections Amid Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to National Labor Relations Board Chairman John Ring calling on NLRB to reverse its suspension of union elections, especially mail ballot elections, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The letter comes after the NLRB announced it was suspending all representation elections through at least April 3. The committee noted that given the uncertain timing and geographic spread of Covid-19, the NLRB’s decision postpones — potentially indefinitely — workers’ right to choose their union.

03/30/2020
Protecting Children in the Child Welfare System
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Ten senators wrote to Vice President Pence and Administration on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner Elizabeth Darling requesting plans to ensure that children in the child welfare system are guaranteed access to stable housing, education, and health throughout the pandemic.

03/27/2020
Request to Education Department to Return Money Garnished From Federal Tax Refunds of Student Loan Borrowers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

The House Committee on Ways and Means, House Committee on Education and Labor, Senate Committee on Finance, and the Senate HELP Committee wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking her agency to return money garnished from the federal tax refunds of student loan borrowers since this year’s filing season began on Jan. 27, 2020. The administration previously announced they would halt all collection activity on certain defaulted federal student loans during the Covid-19 pandemic, and would retroactively return $1.8 billion that had been garnished from borrowers since March 13, 2020.

03/26/2020
Requesting Information About Administration’s Supply Distribution Plan
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Six senators wrote to Vice President Mike Pence asking for information about the administration’s plan to efficiently allocate and distribute medical supplies.

03/26/2020
Protecting Native American Populations During the Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Natural Resources Committee wrote to FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor and National Tribal Affairs Adviser Denise Kraus requesting information about FEMA’s plans to address the coronavirus outbreak in Indian Country.

03/26/2020
Request to State and USAID to Maintain Humanitarian Assistance to Yemen During Covid-19 Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Reps. Adam Smith (chairman, House Committee on Armed Services) and Eliot Engel (chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs) wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and USAID Administrator Mark Green asking the administration to maintain humanitarian assistance to Yemen during the Covid-19 pandemic, which reporting had indicated the administration was planning to reduce or cut. While Smith and Engel acknowledged that restrictions on aid put in place by both the Houthi-led government and the Government of the Republic of Yemen were unacceptable, they argued that a suspension of U.S. aid would worsen an already tragic humanitarian crisis. The letter was cosigned by Reps. Ted Deutch, Ted Lieu, Ro Khanna, Debbie Dingell, and Tom Malinowski.

03/25/2020
USPS Response to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Members of Congress (Sens. Booker and Menendez, and Reps. Malinowski, Watson Coleman, Gottheimer, Payne, Kim, Pascrell, Pallone, Sires, and Norcross) sent a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan requesting information on USPS’s actions to protect USPS employees and customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

03/24/2020
Carbon Health Medical Group’s At-Home Testing Kits
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

The House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy wrote to Carbon Health Medical Group CEO Eren Bali requesting information about his company’s at-home coronavirus tests, such as the number sold, the number returned, and policy regarding consumer samples.

03/21/2020
Request to Senate Banking Committee to Support Waiving Public Services Cap for CDGM Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Jacky Rosen wrote to the chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee asking them to support waiving the public services cap for Community Development Block Grant funds during the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/21/2020
Request to President Trump to Grant Remaining Assistance Requested by New York to Fight Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand wrote a letter to President Trump thanking him for granting New York a Major Disaster Declaration in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, while urging him to expeditiously grant the remaining assistance requested by New York to ensure that the state has all the resources the federal government can provide to fight the outbreak. The senators urged Trumo to approve the Public Assistance, Individual Assistance, and Hazard Mitigation still listed as under review by FEMA.

03/21/2020
Medical Supply Availability and Manufacturing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Senators wrote to President Trump and Vice President Pence requesting information about the nation’s current stockpile of medical supplies and the administration’s plan to manufacture and distribute more supplies.

03/21/2020
Expanding Access to Medical Supplies and Care
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec requesting a briefing to explain the administration’s plans to acquire and distribute PPE and medical supplies, and to increase hospital bed capacity.

03/20/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Support for Clean Energy Industry in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and 17 other senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden asking them to include support for the clean energy industry in their next Covid-19 relief package.

03/20/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Protections for Airline Employees and Contractors in Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Ed Markey and 11 other senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them to protect airline employees and contractors in any forthcoming Covid-19 relief package.

03/20/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Establish Special Adviser to the President for Global Health Security Position
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Angus King wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking them to add an amendment to the CARES Act establishing a special adviser to the President for Global Health Security. The special adviser would lead a Global Health Security directorate at the White House National Security Council.

03/20/2020
Request to Senate Leadership for Funding Allocation of At Least $550 Million for CDFI Fund in Upcoming Covid-19 Stimulus Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Chris Van Hollen wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to request a funding allocation of at least $550 million for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) in the upcoming Covid-19 stimulus package. CDFIs finance small businesses, affordable housing, non-profits, and community development projects which address the needs of low-income communities.

03/20/2020
Request to Senate Appropriations and HELP Committees to Increase Funding, Flexibility, and Eligibility for CCDBG in Economic Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Tim Kaine and Todd Young wrote to Senate Appropriations Chair Roy Blunt and Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray urging them to increase funding, flexibility, and eligibility for the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) in the forthcoming Covid-19 economic relief package.

03/20/2020
Request to President Trump for Administration’s Strategy to Address Shortage of PPE, Ventilators, and Other Supplies
Source: Sen. Tom Carper
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Tom Carper wrote to President Trump asking him to immediately brief Congress on his administration’s strategy to address the shortage of PPE, ventilators, and other supplies, including all authorities that may be exercised or invoked. In addition to exercising its authorities under the DPA, Carper wrote, he asked the administration to take additional measures to ensure the immediate provision of critical medical supplies to states and localities where they are needed most.

03/20/2020
Request to DHS and State Department for Information on Government’s Ability to Help Americans Abroad Return to U.S.
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking about the federal government’s ability to help Americans return to the U.S. safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/20/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Include Funding for CDBG Program in Next Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation wrote to Senate and House leaders asking that they include robust funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program as they prepare the next Covid-19 relief package.

03/20/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Ensure Funding to Protect Election Officials and Voters Is Included in Final Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Chris Coons wrote to House and Senate leaders to ensure that funding to protect election officials and voters is included in the final Covid-19 relief package.

03/20/2020
Request to HHS to Send PPE, Testing Supplies, and Ventilators to Maine
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Testing

Maine’s congressional delegation wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar urging his agency to quickly distribute PPE, testing supplies, and ventilators to Maine.

03/20/2020
Request to President Trump to Get Critical Medical Supplies and PPE to New Hampshire
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, State Issues, Testing

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation wrote to President Donald Trump urging him to take additional action to swiftly get medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile, such as personal protective equipment, swabs for diagnostic testing, and ventilators, to New Hampshire.

03/20/2020
Request to Transportation Department to Require All Airlines Suspend Fees for Ticket Changes and Cancellations During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren wrote to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao reiterating the need for the Transportation Department to immediately require that all airlines suspend their fees for ticket changes and cancellations during the Covid-19 outbreak.

03/20/2020
Request to HHS for Guidance for Child-Care Operators
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting guidance for child-care operators to determine whether these centers should remain open.

03/20/2020
Request to NRC to Delay Public Meetings and Extend 60-Day Comment Period Regarding Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State Issues

New Mexico’s congressional delegation wrote to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairwoman Kristine Svinicki asking the NRC to delay any public meetings and to extend the 60-day public comment period regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Holtec’s proposed spent nuclear fuel storage facility in southeast New Mexico given the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/20/2020
Request to State Department to Repatriate New Mexicans Living Abroad
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State Issues

New Mexico’s congressional delegation wrote a to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking State to take immediate action to repatriate New Mexicans living, working, and traveling abroad, and to provide them with all necessary medical care while these plans are being executed.

03/20/2020
Request to President Trump to Ensure Airports Have Resources Necessary to Deal with Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and multipe other senators wrote to President Trump asking his administration to support airports across the country and ensure that they have the resources necessary to deal with the Covid-19 crisis.

03/20/2020
Request to President Trump to Cease Efforts to Repeal, Sabotage, or Undermine ACA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Tim Kaine and 19 other senators wrote to President Trump asking him to cease all efforts to repeal, sabotage, or undermine health-care coverage and protections provided by the Affordable Care Act, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic worsens.

03/20/2020
Request to President Trump to Fully Invoke DPA in Effort to Combat Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management

Sen. Ed Markey and 19 other senators wrote to President Trump asking him to fully invoke Titles I, III, and IV of the Defense Production Act, which, they argued, would commence the type of wartime manufacturing mobilization needed to combat the Covid-19 crisis.

03/20/2020
Request to VA to Extend Deadlines for Filing Veterans’ Benefits Claims and Appeals
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie asking his agency to provide an extension for filing veterans’ benefits claims and appeals, given the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/20/2020
Request to President Trump for Major Disaster Declaration for Washington State
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Washington state’s congressional delegation wrote to President Trump expressing support for Gov. Jay Inslee’s request for a major disaster declaration for Washing. The state had been hit hard, and early, by Covid-19, and the delegation urged Trump to authorize the full suite of Individual Assistance Programs requested by Inslee, in addition to the major disaster declaration.

03/20/2020
Request to Defense Department to Deploy USNS Mercy to LA to Assist California With Combating Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper asking him to immediately deploy the USNS Mercy to the port of Los Angeles to help California respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. Feinstein noted that California had been disproportionately impacted by the federal government’s repatriation of Americans who contracted Covid-19 from abroad, causing the state’s health-care system to become overloaded.

03/20/2020
Request to Interior Department to Extend Comment Period on Chaco Culture National Historic Park Draft Plans Given Cocid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

New Mexico’s congressional delegation wrote to Secretary David Bernhardt asking the Department of the Interior to extend the public comment period on the Chaco Culture National Historic Park Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement Plan for at least 120 days, given the Covid-19 pandemic. The delegation also asked for Tribes to be given the same extension during the scoping process in order to ensure their participation in crafting the study.

03/20/2020
Request to President Trump to Increase FEMA’s Public Assistance Federal Cost Share to 100 Percent and Authorize Individual Assistance
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

A bipartisan group of 23 senators wrote to President Trump to use the authority vested in him by the Stafford Act to increase FEMA’s Public Assistance federal cost share to 100 percent, and authorize Individual Assistance to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators noted that it was vital for the federal government to leverage all of its resources to help state and local governments slow and stop the spread of Covid-19.

03/20/2020
Request to State Department to Protect Food Supply Chain by Ensuring Agriculture Workers Can Receive H-2A Visas During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Immigration and Border Issues

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking the State Department to protect the food supply chain by ensuring agriculture workers are able to receive H-2A visas during the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/20/2020
Request to Justice Department for Information on Steps Taken to Protect Survivors of Domestic Violence During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote a letter to the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women Director Laura Rogers requesting information on the steps she is taking to protect survivors of domestic violence during the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, Feinstein asked for information on how the office was ensuring domestic violence victims access to food support and housing, including rental assistance and transitional housing provided under the Violence Against Women Act.

03/20/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Publicly Report Metrics Surrounding Covid-19 Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and the Senate HELP Committee wrote to Vice President Pence requesting that he publicly report to Congress and the American people a list of critical metrics surrounding the Covid-19 response. These metrics can be used to assess if steps currently being taken to combat the pandemic are effective, or if the U.S. government needs to implement alternative solutions.

03/20/2020
Request to HHS and FEMA to Ensure Rural States Like Montana Have Access to PPE, Testing Supplies, and Ventilators
Source: Sen. Jon Tester
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination, Testing

Sen. Jon Tester wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor urging them to ensure that rural states like Montana have access to test kits, supplies, PPE, and ventilators.

03/20/2020
Request to DHS and State to Implement Requirements for Entry into the U.S. Consistent with Scientific and Public Health Expertise and Diplomatic Practices
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging their departments to implement requirements for entry into the U.S. that are consistent with scientific and public health expertise, as well as best diplomatic practices.

03/20/2020
Request to State Department to Empower Repatriation Task Force With Staff and Resources Needed to Help Repatriate Americans Stuck Abroad
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Kamala Harris wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking him to empower the newly created Repatriation Task Force with the staff and resources needed to help get Californians and other Americans living abroad home as the Covid-19 crisis worsens.

03/20/2020
Request to BOP for Information Regarding Preparation and Guidelines for Responding to Covid-19
Source: Sen. Bob Casey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Bob Casey wrote to Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal requesting additional information regarding the BOP’s current preparation and guidelines for responding to Covid-19.

03/20/2020
Request to FEMA and Army Corps to Rapidly Increase Number of Available Hospital Beds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand wrote to FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor and Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Todd Semonite asking FEMA and the Army Corps to move as quickly as possible to rapidly increase the number of available hospital beds for the anticipated surge of patients who will be in need of hospitalizations in states that are hardest hit by Covid-19, including New York.

03/20/2020
Request to VA to Ensure All VA Medical Facilities in Illinois Are Equipped to Respond to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie urging him to ensure that all VA medical facilities in Illinois are well-equipped to promptly respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and provide for the well-being of veterans and VA employees.

03/20/2020
Request to BOP for Information on Covid-19 Preparations to Address Outbreaks in Prisons
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 11 other senators wrote to BOP Director Michael Carvajal following up on requests for answers to questions pertaining to actions taken by BOP to prepare for Covid-19 outbreaks in prisons. The senators also requested a telephone briefing with members of their staff.

03/20/2020
Request to Administration for Metrics on Coronavirus Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

Sens. Gary Peters and Patty Murray wrote to Vice President Mike Pence requesting publication of a number of metrics regarding the coronavirus and the administration’s response.

03/19/2020
Request to President Trump to Exercise Authority Under DPA to Boost Production of Medical Devices, Equipment, and Supplies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Tammy Duckworth wrote to President Trump to immediately exercise emergency authority under the Defense Production Act to boost production of vital medical devices, equipment, and supplies critical to addressing Covid-19.

03/19/2020
Request to OPM and OMB to Require Departments and Agencies to Post Continuity of Operation Plans Online
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sens. Mark Warner, Chris Van Hollen, Ben Cardin, Mazie Hirono, Sherrod Brown, Tim Kaine, Brian Schatz, and Gary Peters wrote to OPM Acting Director Michael Rigas and OMB Acting Director Russell Vought to ask that they require departments and agencies to post their continuity of operation plans online in an accessible format and central location. The senators noted that making these plans transparent and readily available is key to ensuring that constituents understand what services are continuing in the midst of Covid-19.

03/19/2020
Request to State to Address False Narratives and Misinformation Regarding Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Dick Durbin, Jeff Merkley, Chris Coons, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Ben Cardin, Pat Leahy, and Richard Blumenthal wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the State Department — in partnership with other U.S. agencies — to address troubling false narratives and misinformation regarding Covid-19. Specifically, the senators asked Pompeo to take action against foreign actors who are weaponizing disinformation to undermine efforts by the U.S. and global partners to inform the public about efforts to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/19/2020
Request to FCC for Plans to Expand Access to Broadband During Covid-19 Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai seeking information about FCC’s authority and plans to expand access to broadband and assist Americans with remote education, work, and health care during the Covid-19 crisis.

03/19/2020
Request to BOP to Release Low-Risk Prisoners
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Kamala Harris wrote to BOP Director Michael Carvajal asking the Bureau of Prisons to release low-risk prisoners following reports that individuals in a California jail tested positive for Covid-19. Her letter follows an earlier one sent on March 5, 2020.

03/19/2020
Request to State Department to Help Americans Stranded Abroad Due to Covid-19 Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Chris Van Hollen wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking the State Department to help Americans stranded abroad in countries have restricted travel due to the Covid-19 crisis.

03/19/2020
Request to Labor Department for Information About How Agency is Preparing for and Responding to Spread of Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Margaret Wood Hassan and 12 other senators wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia to request more information about how the Labor Department is preparing for and responding to the spread of Covid-19, and how it impacts workers with disabilities, including those who are immunocompromised.

03/19/2020
Request to Alabama Governor to Extend Unemployment Benefits for Alabamians Impacted by Spread of Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Doug Jones and Terri Sewell wrote to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey urging her to extend unemployment benefits for Alabamians impacted by the spread of Covid-19 to 26 weeks.

03/19/2020
Request to Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission to Issue Order Suspending Ability of Any Public Utility to Charge Late Fees Through Duration of State of Emergency
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues

Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine wrote to the Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission asking it to promptly issue an order suspending the ability of any public utility in Virginia to charge late fees through the duration of Virginia’s state of emergency.

03/19/2020
Request to Defense and Navy to Protect Health of Shipyard Employees During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Maine’s congressional delegation wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly urging them to take action to protect the health of shipyard employees during the Covid-19 outbreak.

03/19/2020
Request to FCC to Ensure Minnesota Students Have Internet Access During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai urging his agency to ensure Minnesota students have high-speed internet access so that they can continue learning while schools are closed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/19/2020
Request to White House OSTP to Balance Privacy Concerns with Data-Driven Solutions When Addressing Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to Chief Technology Officer of the United States Michael Kratsios asking the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to consider privacy concerns when pursuing data-driven strategies to addressing the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, Markey expressed concern surrounding the government’s possible use of cell phone data, including location services, and asked that assurances be made that collecting and processing these types of information, even if aggregated and anonymized, will not pose safety and privacy risks to individuals.

03/19/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Require Gig Economy Companies to Recognize Workforce as Employees in Order to Receive Bailout Monies
Source:
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Ed Markey wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer identifying the vulnerabilities of gig workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, and urging that gig economy companies be required to properly recognize their workforce as employees to be eligible for any future bailouts.

03/19/2020
Request to FCC to Expand Access to Broadband During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asking him to immediately expand access to broadband and assist Americans with remote education, work, and health care during the Covid-19 outbreak.

03/19/2020
Request to SBA for EIDL for Minnesota Businesses
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Minnesota’s congressional delegation wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza urging SBA to provide assistance in the form of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for Minnesota businesses following significant economic impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/19/2020
Request to Labor Department for Information on Preparations and Response to Covid-19, Especially Regarding Impact to Workers with Disabilities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Maggie Hassan and 12 other senators wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia asking for more information on how the Labor Department was preparing for and responding to the spread of Covid-19 in the U.S., and how the pandemic impacts workers experiencing disabilities, including those who are immunocompromised.

03/19/2020
Coronavirus Testing Delays
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

Sen. Patty Murray wrote to HHS Principal Deputy Inspector General Christi Grimm requesting an investigation into the Department of Health and Human Services’ processes to develop, deploy, and analyze diagnostic coronavirus tests.

03/19/2020
Request to HHS and CDC to Provide Coronavirus Testing Plan
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield to ask for the administration’s current coronavirus testing capacity and plan to increase testing capability.

03/19/2020
Rep. Pallone Statement on Possible Oil Industry Bailout
Type: Press Release
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Rep. Frank Pallone released a statement condemning the administration’s push to include a multibillion-dollar bailout for the oil industry in the coronavirus stimulus package.

03/19/2020
Travel Restrictions at the Canadian Border
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

Sen. Charles Schumer wrote to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf requesting that DHS clarify travel restrictions in place at the U.S.-Canadian border, particularly by specifying what travel is deemed essential and what isn’t.

03/19/2020
Request to HHS to Supply Connecticut Hospitals with Sufficient PPE
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Connecticut’s congressional delegation wrote to HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority Director Robin Robinson, and HHS Regional Administrator (Region 1, New England) Gary Kleinman asking them to supply Connecticut hospitals with sufficient PPE to keep patients and hospital staff healthy and safe amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/19/2020
Request to FCC to Ensure All K-12 Students in Minnesota Have Access to High-Speed Internet Amid Covid-19 School Closures
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai requesting his agency to ensure that all K-12 students in Minnesota have access to high-speed internet so they can continue their education while schools are closed amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/19/2020
Request to USDA to Approve Connecticut’s Nutrition Waiver Submissions and Provide Guidance Regarding Implementation of Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Administrator Pam Miller asking them to provide Connecticut guidance regarding the implementation of provisions included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. They also asked USDA to swiftly approve Connecticut’s nutrition waiver submissions.

03/19/2020
Request to SBA to Approve Maryland’s Request for Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Maryland’s congressional delegation wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza expressing support for Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency request that the agency provide assistance in the form of Economic Injury Disaster Loans for all Maryland jurisdictions amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/19/2020
Request to Treasury to Extend Tax Filing Deadline to July 15, 2020, at Minimum
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Chris Murphy and 20 other senators wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asking him to extend the deadline for individuals and businesses to file their 2019 taxes to, at a minimum, July 15, 2020. The senators noted that the Treasury’s current guidance allows taxpayers such an extension only for payments, but the trajectory of the spread of Covid-19 and the continued precipitous economic downturn require that the filing deadline also be moved back automatically for all filers.

03/19/2020
Request to FCC to Ensure No Eligible American Is Disconnected from Lifeline Assistance Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Ed Markey, Michale Benet, and Brian Schatz wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asking him to ensure no eligible American is disconnected from the Lifeline assistance program. Lifeline provides millions of Americans discounted broadband and voice services, a critical service amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/19/2020
Request to to CMS to Consider Washington State’s 1135 Waiver Requests
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues

Washington state’s congressional delegation wrote to CMS Administrator Seema Verma urging quick consideration of Washington’s 1135 waiver requests.

03/19/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Appoint Official to Coordinate Supply and Distribution of PPE for Health-Care Workers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging him to immediately appoint a senior administration official to coordinate the supply and distribution of PPE for health-care workers amid the Covid-19 crisis.

03/18/2020
Request to USDA to Ensure Groceries Can Be Delivered to SNAP Beneficiaries’ Homes During Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Sen. Bob Casey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Bob Casey wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking USDA to ensure that groceries can be delivered to SNAP participants who cannot safely leave their home to travel to a store during the Covid-19 pandemic. USDA’s SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot makes it possible for SNAP participants to purchase grocery deliveries, but its availability is limited to only a few states. Casey urged USDA to work with retailers to make grocery delivery possible for all SNAP recipients who need it.

03/18/2020
Request to Defense and HHS to Ensure Civilian Health-Care Workers Are Well-Trained to Use Respirators Masks, PPE, and Ventilators
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Tammy Duckworth wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking them to work together to ensure civilian health-care workers are well-trained to use respirator masks and other PPE, including 2,000 deployable ventilators that the Defense Department made available to HHS in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/18/2020
Request to Massachusetts Banks and Credit Unions to Waive Fees During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey wrote to Massachusetts banks and credit unions asking them to waive any bank-related fees customers may incur during the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/18/2020
Request to HHS for Information on ORR Policies and Procedures to Prevent and Manage Potential Spread of Covid-19 in Facilities
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to HHS ACF Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnston requesting information about policies and procedures ORR has in place to prevent and manage the potential spread of Covid-19 to children in ORR-funded facilities.

03/18/2020
CDC Legal Authority to Cover Covid-19 Testing and Treatment Costs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing, Vaccines and Treatments

Letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren seeking clarification on the legal authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to cover the costs of Covid-19 testing and treatment. In March, Director Robert Redfield had said during congressional testimony that the CDC would cover all costs.

03/18/2020
Request to HHS to Halt Plans to Finalize Proposed Rules Undermining Anti-Discrimination Protections and Ensure People with HIV Can Safely Access Covid-19 Testing and Treatment Services
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Bob Menendez and 10 other senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking him to take affirmative action to ensure that everyone in the U.S., including people living with HIV, can safely access Covid-19 testing, treatments, and support services. The senators noted that HHS, having worked to dismantle anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, a group disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS, has exacerbated Covid-19 risks for this community. The senators called on Azar to halt any plans to finalize proposed regulations that would undermine anti-discrimination protections for HHS-funded programs and services.

03/18/2020
Request to Vice President Pence for Information About Plan to Launch Covid-19 Screening Website
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing

Sens. Robert Menendez, Sherrod Brown, Richard Blumenthal, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker wrote to Vice President Pence expressing concern about privacy and cybersecurity vulnerabilities involving a third-party Covid-19 testing website. The senators requested information about the administration’s plan to launch a virus screening pilot website for Covid-19 using a third-party vendor.

03/18/2020
Request to Trump to Approve Governor’s Call for Army Corps of Engineers and Military to Aid New Jersey’s Efforts to Address Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

New Jersey’s congressional delegation wrote to President Trump asking him to approve Gov. Phil Murphy’s request that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. military aid New Jersey’s ongoing effort to increase hospital and intensive care unit capacity amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/18/2020
Request to FCC to Ensure Internet Access for All K-12 Students Amid School Closures Due to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Federal Management

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Gary Peters, and Jon Tester wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asking his agency to take immediate action to ensure that all K-12 students have access to the internet so that they can continue learning while schools are closed due to the Coid-19 pandemic.

03/18/2020
Request to SBA for Approval of Arizona Governor’s Request for SBA Declaration Under 13 CFR Part 123.3
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza requesting her approval of Arizaona Gov. Doug Ducey’s request for an Small Business Administration declaration under 13 C.F.R. Part 123.3 for all Covid-affected Arizona counties. Sinema noted that 99 percent of Arizona businesses are small business, and that a declaration by the SBA would provide much-needed working capital through Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

03/18/2020
Request to Defense Department to Clarify Personnel Policy Governing Response to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Mark Warner wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper asking him to clarify personnel policy governing the Defense Department’s response to Covid-19 so that uniformed, civilian, and contractor personnel better understand how they can and should adapt to minimize the spread and impact of Covid-19.

03/18/2020
Request to HHS, CDC, NIH to allow Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to Assess IT Infrastructure
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Michael Bennet wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, CDC Director Robert Redfield, NIH Director Francis Collins, and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Christopher Krebs asking them to allow the CISA (DHS) to assess infrastructure at HHS, CDC, and NIH following reports of cyberactivity on March 15, 2020, on the HHS computer system. Bennet urged CISA to perform a comprehensive review of all computer-based IT and network systems at HHS, CDC, and NIH to identify and address any vulnerabilities. As the Covid-19 crisis continues, Bennet noted that it would be important for federal health agencies to be protected from future cybersecurity threats so that they can continue to provide trusted information about Covid-19 to Americans.

03/18/2020
Request to SBA to Approve Ohio’s EIDL Program Application
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza asking her to approve Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program application.

03/18/2020
Request to SSA to Suspend CDRs During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Sherrod Brown and Bob Casey wrote to Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew Saul asking his agency to temporarily suspend all Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) under the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs. Such a suspension, they wrote, would prioritize the health and safety of SSDI and SSI beneficiaries, as well as SSA employees, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/18/2020
Request to SBA to Approve Governor’s Request for Economic Injury Declaration
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Illinois’ congressional delegation wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza asking her to approve Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s request for an SBA Economic Injury Declaration for qualifying counties in Illinois amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/18/2020
Request to HHS for Update on Status of Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Request for PPE from Strategic National Stockpile
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec requesting an update on the status of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s formal request for PPE from the Strategic National Stockpile.

03/18/2020
Request to SBA to Support Massachusetts’ Request for Declaration of Economic Injury
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Masschusetts’ congressional delegation wrote to Kem Fleming, Office of Disaster Assistance, FOCE director (SBA) asking him to support Massachusetts’ request for a declaration of economic injury as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/18/2020
Request to CDC for Information on Plans to Use Full Authority to Ensure Health and Safety Amid Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting information on how the CDC plans to use its full legal authority to ensure the health and safety of all Americans amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/18/2020
Request to Trump to Direct Army Corps of Engineers to Convert or Construct New Temporary Medical Facilities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to President Trump asking him to fortify the domestic response to the Covid-19 pandemic by directing the Army Corps of Engineers to convert or construct new temporary medical facilities.

03/18/2020
Request to VA for Plans and Preparations for Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Joe Manchin wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie requesting information about the VA’s plans and preparations for the Covid-19 outbreak. Manchin expressed concerns that West Virginia’s veterans were uniquely vulnerable to the pandemic, and thatthe VA was not fully prepared, equipped, or staffed to respond to the coming Covid-19 crisis in West Virginia.

03/18/2020
Plans for Managing Coronavirus Outbreaks in Detention Centers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

24 senators wrote to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence, and CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan requesting information about the policies that the DHS, ICE, and CBP have put in place to manage a potential coronavirus outbreak and treat and isolate people accordingly.

03/18/2020
Request to HHS for ORR Policies and Procedures to Manage Potential Spread of Covid-19 in ORR-Funded Facilities
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to Lynn Johnson, Administration for Children and Families assistant secretary, requesting information about policies and procedures the Office of Refugee Resettlement has in place to prevent and manage the potential spread of Covid-19 to children in ORR-funded facilities.

03/18/2020
ORR’s Plans for Managing Coronavirus Outbreaks
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Edward Markey wrote to HHS Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson requesting information about the procedures the Office of Refugee Resettlement has in place to manage a coronavirus outbreak among children in ORR facilities.

03/18/2020
Request to EOIR to Close All Immigration Courts Due to Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Immigration and Border Issues

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to EOIR Director James McHenry asking EOIR to temporarily close all immigration courts due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/18/2020
Request to Trump to Add National Capital Region to List of Priority Locations for Federally Supported Covid-19 Testing Sites
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Testing

Thirteen Democratic senators and representatives from the National Capital Region wrote a letter to Pres. Trump asking him to support a request by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to add the National Capital Region to the list of priority locations for federally-supported COVID-19 testing sites.

03/18/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Grant State and Local Health Agencies Flexibility in Resource Allocation Amid Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen wrote to Vice President Mike Pence requesting state and local health agencies be granted the flexibility necessary for them to allocate scarce staff resources, without jeopardizing their federal grant funding amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/18/2020
Request to DHS, ICE, and CBP for Information About Procedures to Manage Covid-19 Spread in Immigrant Detention Facilities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Kamala Harris and 23 other senators wrote to acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, acting ICE Director Matthew Albence, and acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan requesting information about policies and procedures that these agencies have in place to prepare for and manage a potential Covid-19 spread among detained individuals in DHS custody and staff at immigration detention facilities.

03/18/2020
Request to Governors and State Workforce Administrators to Support Workers Facing Hardship Due to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Mark Warner and four other senators wrote to governors and state workforce administrators urging them to do everything in their existing authorities to support workers facing hardship due to lost hours or jobs, sickness, family caretaking responsibilities, and other coronavirus-related circumstances.

03/18/2020
Veterans Health Administration’s Pandemic Preparedness
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie requesting daily updates detailing the Veterans Health Administration’s preparedness for the coronavirus pandemic. The request specified that updates include number of veterans and employees tested, test results, and testing time.

03/18/2020
Request to EOIR to Close Immigration Courts in Light of Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Immigration and Border Issues

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to Executive Office for Immigration Review Director James McHenry asking that EOIR adhere to current public safety recommendations and temporarily close all immigration courts in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/18/2020
Request to DHS, ICE, and CBP for Information on Covid-19 Preparedness
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Kamala Harris and 23 other senators wrote to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence, and Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan requesting information on the policies and procedures agencies have in place to prepare for and manage a potential Covid-19 spread among detained individuals in custody and staff at immigration detention facilities.

03/18/2020
Request to BOP to Allow Free Phone Calls and Videoconferencing in Light of Canceled In-Person Visits Due to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Cory Booker wrote a letter to Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal urging BOP to allow phone calls and videoconferencing free of charge for all people behind bars, in the wake of BOP’s decision to temporarily cancel in-person visits due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/18/2020
Request to SBA to Approve Wisconsin’s Request for EIDL Declaration
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Sen. Tammy Baldwin wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza asking for swift approval of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ request to the Small Business Administration to issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) declaration for Wisconsin’s 72 counties in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Baldwin noted that these loans would help Wisconsin businesses access the capital they need to stay afloat during the pandemic.

03/18/2020
Request to State Department for Information on Efforts to Facilitate Return of Americans to U.S. During Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking for clarification on the agency’s current efforts to facilitate the return of Americans to the United States, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, whether by commercial flights, charter flights, or other means. The senators also asked for a description of efforts undertaken by the State Department to provide support to Americans and their families who are unable or choose not to return home during the crisis.

03/18/2020
Request to FCC to Waive FCC Rules and Increase Rural Access to Telehealth Amid Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

A bipartisan group of senators wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to waive current FCC rules and help increase access to care by increasing subsidies for Rural Health Care Program participants amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators noted that telehealth allows providers to deliver health care to patients without requiring vulnerable patients to travel to hospitals and waiting rooms during Covid-19.

03/18/2020
Request to USDA to Ensure SNAP Beneficiaries Can Receive Home Food Delivery During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Source: Sen. Bob Casey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Bob Casey wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging USDA to ensure SNAP participants can receive home food delivery during the Cpvod-19 pandemic. Casey stated that he heard from constituents who claimed that they were unable to access grocery delivery using their SNAP benefits. He asked USDA to work with retailers and and urged USDA to immediately work with retailers to address this gap in food access.

03/17/2020
Request to State to Form Worldwide Task Force Devoted to American Citizen Services
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Ed Markey wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the State Department to immediately prioritize services for U.S. citizens stuck overseas due to the Covid-19 pandemic by forming a worldwide task force devoted to American Citizen Services.

03/17/2020
Request to HUD to Cease All Pending Rulemaking Processes That Could Impede Federal Response to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Sherrod Brown (ranking member, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs) wrote to HUD Secretary Ben Carson asking HUD to suspend all pending rulemaking processes at the agency that are not a direct response to imminent health and safety concerns and that could impede the federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Brown also wrote letters to financial regulators (CFPB, FDIC, FHFA, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, National Credit Union Administration, and the SEC) with the same request. The letters are linked here in the order mentioned: https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Brown%20CFPB%20COVID-19%203.17.20.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/3-16-20-Brown-FDIC-COVID-19_formatted.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/BrownFHFA%20COVID-19%203.17.20.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Brown%20OCC%20COVID-10%203.17.20.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Brown%20Fed%20COVID-19%203.17.20.pdf; brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/BrownNCUACOVID-193.17.20.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020-03-17_SEC%20Letter%20re_rulemaking.pdf)

03/17/2020
Request to National Sheriffs Association Asking It to Support Moratorium on Evictions in Light of Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Sherrod Brown and Dianne Feinstein wrote to the National Sheriffs Association asking it to support, and its members to establish, local moratoriums on evictions in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/17/2020
Request to President Trump to Use Defense Production Act
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Sherrod Brown and 27 other senators wrote to President Trump urging him to use his existing authority to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The senators also requested that the Defense Department, in collaboration with state governors and appropriate federal agencies, conduct a national assessment of the country’s supply of PPE, ventilators, diagnostic test kits, and other necessary equipment, as well as anticipate future need of these supplies.

03/17/2020
Request to HHS for Swift Federal Assistance on Covid-19 Requests Made by Illinois
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination

Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting that the federal government respond swiftly to the State of Illinois’ requests for masks, respirators, gloves, and gowns for hospitals. The requests were made on March 4, 2020, and referred to PPE from the federal Strategic National Stockpile. To date, Illinois had not received clear indications from the HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response about when to expect the requested PPE. Additionally, the city of Chicago was informed that it would receive 25,000 N95 masks — a fraction of the local need and of the allotment it received (1 million masks) during the H1N1 outbreak.

03/17/2020
Request to SBA for Emergency Declaration for New Hampshire
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza expressing support for New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s request for an emergency declaration by the Small Business Administration to ensure that the state’s small businesses are eligible for the full suite of emergency resources available through the SBA, pursuant to the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.

03/17/2020
Request to HHS to Help New Hampshire Hospitals Secure Medical Equipment and Supplies During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking his agency to help New Hampshire hospitals secure critical medical equipment and supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/17/2020
Request to HHS to Fulfill New Mexico Governor’s Request for Full Allotment of PPE for Health-Care Providers Responding to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

New Mexico’s congressional delegation wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec asking the federal government to fulfill New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan’s request for the state’s full allotment of PPE for health-care providers responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, the state had received 25 percent of its allotment from the Strategic National Stockpile, but the delegation stressed that it would be critical for New Mexico to have sufficient PPE supplies.

03/17/2020
Request to FCC to Help Provide Wi-Fi Connectivity to Students Learning From Home During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Federal Management

Sens. Margaret Wood Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai requesting FCC help provide wi-fi hotspots or devices with wi-fi capability to students who lack internet access at home so that they can continue their education during the Covid-19 pandemic. The letter requests that the FCC temporarily allow schools to use funding through the federal E-Rate program, which provides discounts to help eligible schools and libraries obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access.

03/17/2020
Request to DHS to Halt Deportations and Release Detained Immigrants Who Don’t Pose Public Safety Threat
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to DHS acting Secretary Chad Wolf to immediately halt deportations and release from detention all
immigrants who pose no public safety threat. Markey noted that deportations can spread Covid-19, particularly given that time in detention and grueling travel may weaken immune defenses and exacerbate the risk of infection. Markey argued that the government needed to halt measures and policies that jeopardize global health and prolong the pandemic, including needless deportations.

03/17/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Implement Nationwide Public Education Campaign About Slowing Spread of Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sen. Robert Menendez wrote a letter to Vice President Mike Pence asking him, as leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, to implement a nationwide public education campaign instructing Americans on what they can do to slow the spread of Covid-19. Menendez noted that while states and localities have taken steps to prevent the spread of the virus, the lack fo clear, national messaging hinders efforts to “flatten the curve” and reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection and death.

03/17/2020
Request to FTC to Address Google’s Continued Use of Ads for Masks, Other Products Marketed as Covid-19 Precautions
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Mark Warner wrote a letter to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons expressing concern that Google continues to run ads for products marketed as precautions for Covid-19 (including masks and hand sanitizer), despite a policy prohibiting content that capitalizes off “sensitive events” such as natural disasters, conflict, or death. On March 10, 2020, Google announced a formal ban on ads for face masks and claimed it would “take action as needed to protect users.” Despite this action, the ads — many of which feature companies engaging in price gouging and/or misleadingly touting products as “medical grade” or falsely labeling masks as “N95 masks” — still continue to appear. Blumenthal and Warner requested FTC address this pattern of misbehavior from Google, while copying the Justice Department in light of FTC’s past failures to challenge the company.

03/17/2020
Request to President Trump to Use DPA to Address Shortages in Resources for Covid-19 Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Robert Menendez wrote to President Trump asking him to exercise the powers authorized to him by the Defense Production Act (DPA) in order to address impending shortages of critical resources in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/17/2020
Request to Financial Regulators to Take Measures to Protect Hospitality and Tourism Industry Workers During Covid-19 Outbreak
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Chris Van Hollen, Ben Cardin, Mark Warner, and Tim Kaine wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, FDIC Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams, NCUA Chairman Mark McWatters, and President and CEO of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors John Ryan asking them to take action to mitigate the adverse impacts of Covid-19 on workers in the hospitality and tourism industry. The senators suggested, among other recommendations, that these regulators provide loan workouts to modify or restructure loans to avoid foreclosure, allow borrowers to defer payments without penalty (provided that the businesses use the deferral for employee-related expenses), allow borrowers to defer the principal portion of the monthly payment and make an interest-only payment, and allow borrowers to refinance without fees.

03/17/2020
Request to CMS to Consider Washington State’s Application for National Emergency Waiver
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Washington state’s congressional delegation wrote to CMS Administrator Seema Verma urging swift consideration of Washington’s application for a national emergency waiver under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act. As part of the state’s comprehensive response to the Covid-19 outbreak, Gov. Jay Inslee, on behalf of the Washington Health Care Authority, submitted an application for a 1135 waiver to provide the state with needed flexibilities to respond to the outbreak.

03/17/2020
Request to FEMA to Provide Clear Guidance to State, Local, and Tribal Governments on Available Options in Light of National Emergency Declaration
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Colorado’s congressional delegation wrote to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor asking his agency to provide clear guidance to state, local, and tribal governments on the options available to them in light of the recent national emergency declaration in response to Covid-19. The delegation noted that it would be critical for all levels of government to be equipped with the information and resources needed to combat Covid-19.

03/17/2020
Request to State Department to Assist and Protect U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents Around the World in Light of Covid-19 Crisis
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking him to increase diplomatic cooperation and promote global coordination on all fronts to protect U.S. citizens and permanent residents residing worldwide. Markey requested that Pompeo create a task force coordinating American Citizen Services’ response to the Covid-19 threat. Additionally, Markey asked that State take steps to ensure adequate staffing in Washington, D.C., and worldwide; he noted that diplomatic posts in some locations were becoming overwhelmed and did not have the capacity to quickly assist U.S. citizens requesting information and assistance.

03/17/2020
Request to HUD to Stop Evictions of Housing Choice Voucher Recipients and Individuals Living in HUD-Assisted Housing and Public Housing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, and Bernie Sanders, and Reps. Katie Porter and Ayanna Pressley, wrote to HUD Secretary Ben Carson asking him to issue an immediate moratorium on evictions for individuals living in HUD-assisted rental housing, and public housing, and for Housing Choice Voucher recipients, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/17/2020
Request to USDA to Address Impact of Declining Cattle Prices Due to Covid-19 on Montana’s Ranchers
Source: Sen. Jon Tester
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Jon Tester wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking him to to take immediate action to address the impact of sharply declining cattle prices due to Covid-19 on Montana’s ranchers.

03/17/2020
Request to USTIA Asking Travel Insurance Companies to Provide Coverage to Consumers Whose Claims Are Denied
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to U.S. Travel Insurance Association (USTIA) President Chris Carnicelli asking American travel insurance companies to provide coverage to consumers who purchased travel insurance plans, but whose claims related to Covid-19 are now being denied.

03/17/2020
Request to Trump for Clarification on Ramifications of Travel Restrictions Between U.S. and Canada on Covid-19 Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Michigan Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow wrote to President Trump expressing concern over newly introduced travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, and how those restrictions may have unintended consequences on Covid-19 response efforts in the U.S., especially for those living in Michigan and other northern border states. Sens. Peters and Stabenow asked Trump for clarification on the ramifications that these restrictions could pose on Covid-19 response in the U.S.

03/17/2020
Managing Impact of Canada’s Travel Restrictions
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow wrote to President Trump requesting information to determine the impact of Canada’s travel restrictions on the coronavirus response in the U.S., including information on who will be allowed to cross the border and how the administration will ensure that restrictions don’t harm U.S. hospitals.

03/17/2020
Enforcing Travel Restrictions During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

Sen. Edward Markey wrote to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting information about how their agencies planned to enforce travel restrictions, including how restrictions are determined, what happens to sick passengers at points of entry, and how passengers will be screened to ensure they haven’t traveled to banned destinations.

03/17/2020
Request to State Department to Issue Guidance on Repatriating Citizens and Permanent Residents Stranded Abroad Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sen. Michael Bennet wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking the State Department to promptly issue guidance regarding the repatriation of U.S. citizens and permanent residents currently stranded outside of the U.S. due to Covid-19.

03/16/2020
White House and HHS Fail to Provide Adequate Testing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and multiple senators wrote to Vice President Mike Pence and Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir requesting information about the administration’s failure to provide enough coronavirus testing as well as an explanation for the misinformation about testing.

03/16/2020
Request to FCC to Temporarily Allow Schools to Use E-Rate Program Funding to Connect Students at Home to Internet
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Federal Management

Sen. Ed Markey and 15 other senators wrote to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai calling on the FCC to temporarily allow schools to use E-Rate program funding to provide wi-fi hotspots or devices with wi-fi capability to students who lack internet access at home. The senators noted that this action would help ensure that all students can remotely continue their education during the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/16/2020
Request to CMS for Guidance on Expanded Telehealth Services
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Michael Bennet wrote to CMS Administrator Seema Verma requesting CMS to provide guidance on expanded telehealth services. The Coronavirus Supplemental Appropriations Act provided waiver authority for expanded access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries during Covid-19. This authority allows the HHS secretary to waive originating site requirements for telehealth services in Medicare, thereby reducing the need for vulnerable older adults to make unnecessary trips outside their homes for medical care. Bennet noted that CMS had not yet provided guidance related to this waiver authority.

03/16/2020
Request to Trump to Issue Executive Order Directing Federal Agencies to Maximize Use of Telework During Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sen. Chris Van Hollen and 25 other senators wrote to President Trump asking him to issue an executive order directing agencies to use telework to the maximum extent practical in light of the Covid-19 crisis. While the Office of Personnel Management has issued general guidance for federal agencies to increase telework capacity in the National Capital Region, the senators argued that a clear directive — and one that extends beyond the D.C. area — was needed.

03/16/2020
Request to Vice President Pence and HHS for Explanation of COVID-19 Test Shortages
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 16 other senators wrote to Vice President Mike Pence and Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health and the coordinator for Covid-19 diagnostic testing efforts, requesting an explanation for why Covid-19 diagnostic tests were not widely available. The senators noted that testing shortages and delays, especially in response to the earliest Covid-19 cases, had dramatically increased the scope of the crisis and put millions of American lives at risk.

03/16/2020
Request to Senate Homeland Security Committee Chair to Convene Hearings with FEMA and CBP Regarding Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Kamala Harris wrote to Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, asking him to convene oversight hearings with FEMA and CBP. Harris stated that both agencies play significant roles in addressing the Covid-19 crisis. In particular, Harris noted that states like California were approaching wildfire season, and that FEMA would have to be prepared to carry out its usual mission of responding to natural disasters, but this time, in the middle of a pandemic.

03/16/2020
Request to CDC, HHS, and Vice President Pence for Information on Current and Projected Covid-19 Testing Capacity
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management, Testing

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield, Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir, and Vice President Mike Pence requesting that the White House and CDC provide a daily update on the number of Covid-19 tests conducted each day, as well as the daily projected testing capacity. Markey also requested that, if possible, the task force publish its testing plans, including a projection of the number of tests available presently and in the near future.

03/16/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Provide Airports with Resources to Screen and Process Arriving Travelers from Coronavirus-Impacted Countries
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker wrote to Vice President Mike Pence expressing concern over the large crowds and mass confusion at airports following Trump’s announcement of restrictions on travelers arriving from Europe. The letter urges the administration to provide airports the necessary resources to screen and process travelers arriving from impacted countries, and to coordinate any future action with state and local officials and the private sector to ensure that resources are properly deployed.

03/16/2020
Request to HHS for Supplies from Strategic National Stockpile to Combat Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

New Jersey’s congressional delegation wrote a letter to Dr. Robert Kadlec, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response, in support of New Jersey’s request for supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile to combat Covid-19. The letter attached a comprehensive list of supplies requested, and included (in text), the status of partially filled requests, including: N95 respirators: 84,578 (requested 2,880,000); face/surgical masks: 201,479 (requested 864,000); face shields: 38,365 (requested 864,000); surgical gowns: 31,280 (requested 864,000); coveralls: 160 (requested 864,000); and gloves: 111,378 (requested 2,880,000).

03/16/2020
Request to State for Increased Transparency About Impact of Covid-19 on Agency Operations
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Bob Menendez (ranking member, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations) wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing concern about the State Department’s seeming lack of urgency in addressing the Covid-19 crisis. Menendez called on Pompeo to increase transparency about the impact Covid-19 has had on the department and its employees at home and abroad, especially after reports that at least one employee testing positive for the virus and may have worked during a period in which they were infectious.

03/16/2020
Request to SBA to Issue Economic Disaster Declaration for Rhode Island Due to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza asking that she issue an economic disaster declaration covering the state of Rhode Island due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The delegation said that the declaration would help small business owners successfully apply for low-interest federal loans and unlock other SBA tools and assistance designed to assist small businesses that are suffering a substantial economic injury as a result of the pandemic.

03/16/2020
Request to USDA, Interior, and FEMA to Mobilize Agencies to Offer Coordinated Support for Rural Areas
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Michael Bennet and 23 other senators wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, and FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor requesting them to mobilize their agencies to offer coordinated support for rural counties, municipalities, and tribal communities as they respond to Covid-19. They asked the agencies to enable thousands of federal civil servants who have experience with rapid emergency response to assist rural communities that have become increasingly overwhelmed by the outbreak.

03/16/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Protect Access to FDA-Regulated Medical and Hygiene Products from Supply Chain Disruptions
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith wrote to Vice President Pence asking the administration to protect consumers’ access to FDA-regulated medical products and hygiene products, recommended by CDC to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, from supply-chain disruptions created by the pandemic.

03/15/2020
Request to DHS, CBP, and HHS for Additional Federal Resources for Airports Screening Passengers Arriving from Schengen Countries
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Testing

Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth wrote a letter to acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting additional federal resources to be directed to 13 airports, including Chicago O’Hare, responsible for screening passengers for Covid-19, following President Trump’s directives regarding Schengen passenger arrivals.

03/15/2020
Request to Vice President Pence for More Testing Supplies and Resources to Address Covid-19 in Minnesota
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Testing

Minnesota’s congressional delegation wrote to Vice President Mike Pence asking the administration to provide assistance to the state, including reagents, lab supplies, and other resources needed to process at least 15,000 Covid-19 tests per month. The delegation also asked Vice President Pence to address supply-chain issues resulting in a shortage of reagents, as these deficiencies have forced Minnesota to ration the number of tests it performs.

03/15/2020
Request to NIH to Provide Additional Flexibility to Research Grantees to Repurpose Resources Toward Covid-19 Effort
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins asking him to mobilize the biomedical research community to address the Covid-19 crisis. Specifically, Markey requested that NIH provide additional flexibility to research grantees to repurpose equipment and resources toward Covid-19 diagnostic testing in an effort to facilitate an immediate and large-scale response.

03/15/2020
Request to CBP and CDC for Information About Enhanced Covid-19 Screenings for Arrivals From Europe, Plans to Mitigate Confusion
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to CBP acting Commissioner Mark Morgan and CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting information about, and plans to address, reports of confusion and dysfunction at some of the 13 U.S. airports implementing enhanced Covid-19 health screenings of travelers arriving from Europe. Markey asked for both of the agencies’ enhanced screening procedures as well as the actions they are taking to mitigate the spread of confusion and dysfunction at airports.

03/13/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Dispel Misinformation and Discriminatory Rhetoric Around Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Mark Warner wrote to Vice President Mike Pence asking that he and the White House Coronavirus Task Force share only verifiable information about Covid-19 and work to dispel misinformation and discriminatory rhetoric, including anti-Asian racism. Warner notes that referring to Covid-19 as the “foreign virus” that “started in China” encourages xenophobia and racism, an especially concerning development given an increase in domestic terrorism.

03/13/2020
Request to USDA to Halt Implementation of Federal SNAP Rule Changes Amid Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that he halt the implementation of federal SNAP rule changes while the U.S. contends with containing the impact and spread of Covid-19. Restricting access to SNAP and reducing SNAP benefit time limits would exacerbate the challenges faced by low-income families during the Covid-19 crisis.

03/13/2020
Request to Leaders of Trade Associations for Utility Industries to Suspend Shutting Off Service to Customers Who Cannot Afford to Pay Amid Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Kamala Harris wrote to the leaders of trade associations for water, electricity, and telecommunications industries urging them to suspend the practice of shutting off services to customers who cannot afford to pay for these services and utilities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/13/2020
Request to Defense Department for Information on Readiness to Support Civilian Health and Emergency Infrastructure
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Tammy Duckworth wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper to brief the Senate Armed Services Committee on the state of National Guard and Reserve unit readiness to support civilian authorities as they combat Covid-19. The brief, Duckworth noted, should include an assessment of individual unit readiness, equipment shortfalls, and a concept of operation to stand up capabilities in communities before civilian health and emergency infrastructure is overwhelmed. Duckworth also requested Defense provide her with an updated on the status of ration stockpiles, as well as Defense’s capability to use them to combat hunger among children should Covid-19 preventative measures require long-term family isolation and school closures.

03/13/2020
Request to SSA to Expand Telework Availability for Employees Amid Covid-19 Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sens. Ben Cardin, Chris Van Hollen, and Sherrod Brown wrote to SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul to expand telework availability at the Social Security Administration amid Covid-19 and provide clear communications to employees on these polices.

03/13/2020
Request to Financial Regulators to Mitigate Adverse Impacts of Covid-19 on Hospitality and Tourism Industry Workers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management

Sens. Ben Cardin, Chris Van Hollen, Mark Warner, and Tim Kaine sent a letter to financial regulators asking them to take action to mitigate the adverse impacts of Covid-19 on workers in the hospitality and tourism industry. The letter was sent to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell; Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting; FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams; Chair of the National Credit Union Administration Mark McWatters; and President and CEO of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors John Ryan. The senators urged these regulators to ensure that workers do not lose their jobs or wages as a result of Covid-19 and to use their authority to maintain the safety and soundness of the U.S. banking system.

03/13/2020
Request to USDA and DOI to Make Resources Available to Assist with Covid-19 Response in Rural Counties and Municipalities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Michael Bennet wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt urging USDA and the Interior Department to interpret existing authorities broadly and take immediate steps to ensure USDA and DOI staff and resources are available and able to assist with emergency response to Covid-19 in rural counties and municipalities across the U.S.

03/13/2020
Request to CMS to Expand Access to Telehealth for Medicare Beneficiaries
Source: Sen. Ron Wyden
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Ron Wyden wrote a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma asking CMS to use the waiver authority provided in the CARES Act to expand access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries during the Covid-19 outbreak.

03/13/2020
Request to Offices Within HHS and Ed for Information on Steps Taken to Protect Children, Assist Early Care and Education Providers to Operate Safely, and Minimize Economic Disruptions During COVID-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

Sen. Bob Casey and 16 other senators wrote to the directors and acting directors or the Office of Early Childhood Development (HHS), Office of Special Education Programs (Education), and the Office of Early Learning (Education) requesting information on the steps they are taking to protect children, assist early care and education providers to operate safely, and minimize economic disruptions during the Covid-19 outbreak.

03/13/2020
Request to CMS Not to Move Forward with Proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Arizona’s congressional delegation wrote to CMS Administrator Seema Verma regarding the proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR) and expressing concern that MFAR would have unintended harmful consequences for the Arizona Medicaid program. They request that CMS not move forward with the proposed rule and instead work with states and relevant stakeholders to find better ways to achieve long-term fiscal integrity goals for the Medicaid program.

03/13/2020
Bureau of Prisons Coronavirus Data
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Charles Grassley wrote to Attorney General William Barr and Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal requesting that they make public how many confirmed cases have been found in prisons and what measures they are adopting to stop the spread of coronavirus.

03/12/2020
Request to VA for Information on Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Efforts
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Jon Tester and 11 other senators wrote to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Executive in Charge Dr. Richard Stone about the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Covid-19 preparedness and response efforts, including how the VA’s efforts have changed since the agency recorded 10 Covid-19 cases across the U.S.

03/12/2020
Request to Pence to Appoint Public Health Expert to Join Federal Covid-19 Response Team to Provide Daily Updates on Testing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management, Testing

Sen. Patty Murray (ranking member, Senate HELP Committee) wrote to Vice President Mike Pence asking him to appoint a qualified public health expert to join the federal government response team for Covid-19. Murray also requested that they provide daily congressional and public updates about Covid-19 testing capacity and any challenges that arise during the testing process.

03/12/2020
Request to Internet Service Providers to Suspend Broadband Caps and Associated Fees, Provide Free or At-Cost Internet Options for Students
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Education

Sen. Mark Warner and 17 other senators wrote to the CEOs of eight major internet service providers (AT&T, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Sprint Corporation, CenturyLink, Comcast, and Verizon) asking them to accommodate the increased need for telework, online education, and other remote support services. Specifically, they asked the CEOs to suspend broadband caps and associated fees for communities impacted by Covid-19. They also asked these companies to provide free or at-cost internet for students whose schools had closed due to Covid-19.

03/12/2020
Request to CDC Regarding Covid-19 Testing Kits for Illinois, Shortage of Enzymes Needed for Testing Kits
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, Testing

Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth wrote to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield requesting information on the potential shortage of enzymes needed in CDC Covid-19 test kits. They also wrote to express concern that Illinois health officials had not yet heard from the CDC on their next shipment of test kits.

03/12/2020
Request to Pence to Expand Covid-19 Testing and Establish Uniform Guidelines for Deploying Additional Public Health Measures
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Testing

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to Vice President Mike Pence urging the administration to rapidly expand Covid-19 testing capacity and to establish uniform guidelines for when state and local governments should deploy additional public health measures.

03/12/2020
Request to Vice President Pence for Information on Efforts to Protect Nursing Home Residents, Workers, and Their Families from COVID-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Bob Casey and 38 other senators wrote to Vice President Mike Pence requesting information on efforts to protect nursing home residents, workers, and their families from Covid-19.

03/12/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Ensure that Gathering Places for Seniors and People with Disabilities Are Equipped to Deal with COVID-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Bob Casey and 36 other senators wrote a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging him to ensure that gathering places for seniors (e.g., nursing homes), people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations are well-equipped to deal with Covid-19. The senators noted that seniors and people with disabilities often rely on critical services provided through their local agencies on aging and Medicaid Home and Community Based Services to remain in their homes and communities.

03/12/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Ensure That Covid-19 Communications are Accessible to Vulnerable Populations, Disadvantaged Groups
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Bob Casey and 33 other senators wrote to Vice President Mike Pence urging him to ensure that all Americans, including older adults, people with disabilities, and people with limited English proficiency, have access to clear, accurate information about the Covid-19 pandemic. They urged that all forms of communication regarding Covid-19 be distributed in an accessible manner.

03/12/2020
Request to Trump Not to Bail Out Oil Industry in Response to Financial Impact of Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, and Bernie Sanders wrote a letter to President Trump urging him not to bail out the oil industry as part of his administration’s response to the financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis. They argued that providing government funds to help the oil industry during this time would be wasteful, exacerbate the climate crisis, and be considered a misuse of government resources.

03/12/2020
Request to USDA to Use Its Authority to Help New Jersey Schools Safely Administer School Meal Programs During Covid-19 Closures
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. and Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking USDA to consider New Jersey’s request for flexibility to safely administer school meal programs during Covid-19 closures, and to use its authority to allow all eligible School Food Authorities (SFAs) to serve students meals through the Summer Food Service Program, in which 41 of 675 New Jersey school districts are eligible to participate.

03/12/2020
Request to HHS and CMS to Open Special Enrollment Period Due to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing

Sen. Jack Reed and 24 other senators wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma requesting that they allow individuals who are at-risk for Covid-19 to access affordable health-care options through the health insurance marketplace via a special enrollment period. The senators noted the importance of improving access to health care at a time when government officials were also encouraging people who may have been exposed to Covid-19 to get tested and seek treatment to help prevent the spread of the virus.

03/12/2020
Request to USDA to Prioritize Waiver Approvals for West Virginia Child Nutrition Offices to Offer Non-Congregate Feeding Options for Students
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Joe Manchin wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking that USDA prioritize the approval of waivers for state Child Nutrition Offices to offer non-congregate feeding options should schools close because of Covid-19. More than 120,000 students in West Virginia receive both breakfast and lunch during the school day through direct certification, and more than 80,000 are receiving the same benefit due to community eligibility. On March 9, the West Virginia Office of Child Nutrition submitted a Child Nutrition Program State Waiver Request to USDA; approval would allow the Summer Food Service Program and National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option to receive USDA reimbursement for meals provided in non-congregate locations.

03/12/2020
Request to Treasury to Protect Americans from Unreasonable Debt Collection Due Covid-19 Treatment
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asking his agency to protect Americans from unreasonable debt collection due to treatment related to Covid-19. Sen. Cortez-Masto pointed out that many Americans are uninsured or underinsured, and that some or all of their Covid-19 treatment costs may not be covered by a health insurance provider.

03/12/2020
Preparations to Prevent Census Disruption from Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Reps. David E. Price, Jose E. Serrano, Carolyn B. Maloney, and Jamie Raskin wrote a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross requesting information on the plan to ensure the 2020 census is not disrupted by Covid-19.

03/12/2020
Request to Senate Rules and House Administration Committees to Consider the Well-Being of Legislative Branch Employees and Contract Workers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Mark Warner, Sherrod Brown, and Dick Durbin wrote to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and to the Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration asking them to take into consideration the well-being of all Legislative Branch employees, including contractors. Warner, Brown, and Durbin urged their colleagues to address the potential financial hardship these workers may experience if Congress adjourns for a prolonged period due to Covid-19 or if they have to self-quarantine due to exposure or potential exposure to the virus.

03/12/2020
Request to USDA to Proactively Work with State Agencies to Ensure Availability of Waivers Providing Flexibility for Child Nutrition Programs Due to School Closures
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Brian Schatz and 13 other senators wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that USDA proactively work with all state agencies to ensure the availability of waivers that provide flexibility for Child Nutrition Programs in the event of school closures.

03/12/2020
Justice Department Preparations for Coronavirus in Prisons
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on the Judiciary wrote to Attorney General William Barr requesting information about the measures taken by the Justice Department to ensure the health and safety of incarcerated people and staff working in U.S. prisons, protocols surrounding testing and isolation for those who have been exposed to coronavirus, and data about coronavirus cases in prisons.

03/12/2020
Investigating Rationale Behind Trump’s Europe Travel Ban
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

The House Committee on Homeland Security wrote to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting detailed reasoning for the European travel ban, including why certain European countries were included and not others and plans to monitor and evaluate travelers from all European countries.

03/11/2020
Request to Pence, HUD, and USDA to Address Health and Economic Needs of Residents in Federally Assisted Housing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Sherrod Brown (ranking member, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs) wrote to Vice President Mike Pence, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that the White House Coronavirus Task Force take steps to address the health and economic well-being of Americans living in federally assisted housing. Specifically, Brown asked that they engage with residents, owners, and managers to inform the rask force’s needs assessment. Brown also asked that they provide resources to help housing and homeless providers.

03/11/2020
Request to Pres. Trump for Economic Relief Package for Workers and Their Families in Light of COVID-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Mark Warner and 33 other senators wrote to President Trump calling for a Covid-19 economic stimulus package that will benefit workers and their families. The senators noted that stimulus measures discussed to date mostly centered around tax breaks for wealthier individuals and corporations, rather than relief monies that will benefit the most affected workers and their families.

03/11/2020
Request to CDC to Prioritize Confirmation of Initial Presumptive Covid-19 Case Samples So States Can Increase Screening and Testing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Testing

New Jersey’s congressional delegation wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting that CDC prioritize confirmation of initial presumptive Covid-19 case samples so states can ramp up screening and testing. At the time of writing, the New Jersey Department of Health, in conjunction with the New Jersey Public Health and Environmental Laboratories, sent test samples from 23 patients with presumptive Covid-19 cases. However, CDC had not yet confirmed a positive or negative result for any of the tests that were sent. The delegation emphasized the importance of knowing test results in a timely manner in order to contain the spread of the virus in their communities.

03/11/2020
Request to Vice President Pence, White House Coronavirus Task Force to Combat Covid-19 Misinformation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sen. Mark Warner wrote to Vice President Mike Pence about the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s failure to counter misinformation about the virus, including misinformation generated by President Trump and members of his administration. Warner urged Pence to get the task force to communicate accurate and timely information about Covid-19 to the public, including by developing a coordinated effort to counter misleading information about the virus, often spread through social media and other online sources.

03/11/2020
Request to Labor Department to Collect Information on Workers’ Access to Range of Benefits
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Mark Warner wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia asking that the Bureau of Labor Statistics begin collecting information on the extent to which all workers in the economy — including contingent workers and those in alternative work arrangements — have access to benefits like health and social insurance and alternative work arrangements and crucial benefits amid the Covid-19 crisis.

03/11/2020
Request to IOC for Information About Plans to Protect Athletes, Spectators from Covid-19 at Summer Olympics
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Jerry Moran and Richard Blumenthal wrote to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach requesting information on the IOC’s plans the prevent the spread of Covid-19 to protect athletes, fans, sponsors, and members of the media at the Olympics in Tokyo. The senators requested a detailed description of the protocols in place.

03/11/2020
Request to Vice President Pence for Testing Kits for North Carolina, Guidance on Best Practices for Testing Prioritization
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Testing

Sen. Thom Tillis and Reps. Richard Hudson and David Price wrote to Vice President Mike Pence requesting testing kits for North Carolina and for guidance on best practices for testing prioritization.

03/11/2020
Request to IRS to Provide Flexibility on Tax Filing Amid Covid-19 Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Bob Menendez, Patty Murray, and 17 other senators wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig requesting that IRS provide significant flexibility on the April 15 tax filing season deadline in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

03/11/2020
Request to OPM and DNI to Issue Guidance to Prevent Covid-19 from Negatively Impacting Security Clearance Adjudications
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Mark Warner (vice chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence) wrote to Office of Personnel Management Director Dale Cabaniss and Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell asking OPM and DNI to issue guidance directing agencies to ensure that Covid-19 does not negatively impact adjudications for government employees’ or contractors’ security clearances or determinations of trust.

03/11/2020
Request to Vice President Pence That White House Coronavirus Task Force Take Action to Support States as They Combat Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Testing

Massachusetts’s congressional delegation wrote to Vice President Mike Pence urging the White House Coronavirus Task Force to take every action in its power to support states as they combat Covid-19. Their requests include: supporting the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s request for assets from the Strategic National Stockpile, expanding access to affordable Covid-19 tests, monitoring the supplemental funding needs of Massachusetts public health officials and request supplemental funding from Congress as necessary, and considering the need for wrap-around services for individuals affected by Covid-19.

03/11/2020
Request to EOIR to Require Signage with Covid-19 Public Health Information in English, Spanish, and Other Languages in Immigration Courtrooms
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey wrote to EOIR Director James McHenry requesting information about the removal of public health information about Covid-19 from immigration courtrooms. Warren and Markey urged EOIR to require the posting of CDC signage, in English, Spanish, and other relevant languages, in courtrooms and waiting areas to raise awareness of Covid-19 and how to avoid transmitting and contracting it.

03/11/2020
Request to Pence for Information on Task Force’s Efforts to Ensure Federal Covid-19 Response Is Science-Based
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and seven other senators wrote to Vice President Mike Pence requesting information on the steps the White House Coronavirus Task Force will take to ensure that the federal response to the Covid-19 outbreak will be grounded in science and evidence-based public health principles.

03/11/2020
Request to Billings Area IHS to Ensure Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Have Access to Covid-19 Testing and Treatment
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Testing, Vulnerable Populations

Montana Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Bullock wrote to Billings Area Indian Health Service Director Bryce Redgrave to ensure that access and affordability are not barriers to members of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians when seeking medical attention or getting tested for Covid-19.

03/11/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Develop Government-Implemented Passenger Portal to Assist in Containing Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Ted Cruz (chairman, Subcommittee on Aviation and Space; Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation) and Kyrsten Sinema (ranking member, Subcommittee on Aviation and Space; Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation) wrote to Vice President Mike Pence requesting a government-implemented passenger portal be developed to help contain Covid-19 and future communicable diseases. This secure mobile application and online web platform would allow the CDC to directly collect complete, accurate, and timely data to trace infected or exposed travelers.

03/10/2020
Request to HHS and NIH for Information on Taxpayer Funds of Covid-19 Research and Agencies’ Plans to Promote Affordable Vaccines and Treatments
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Dick Durbin wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins requesting information on how taxpayer monies are being used in Covid-19 research, as well as HHS’s and NIH’s plans to promote affordable vaccines and treatments for Covid-19.

03/10/2020
Request to Treasury to Eliminate Financial Barriers to Covid-19 Testing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing

Sen. Steve Daines wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asking him to eliminate financial barriers to accessing Covid-19 tests. Specifically, Daines requested the Treasury issue guidance deeming Covid-19 testing a preventative care benefit and permitted to be provided by a Health Savings Account-eligible high deductible health plan, and without a deductible.

03/10/2020
Request to HHS to Develop Strategy to Reduce Long-Term Over-Reliance on Foreign Manufactured Pharmaceutical and Medical Products
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Mark Warner wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar expressing concern over the U.S.’s over-reliance on Chinese or foreign-manufactured pharmaceutical and medical supplies, and its potentially negative ramifications in light of Covid-19. Warner requested HHS monitor the potential impact of this overr-reliance and ensure Americans have access to necessary medical products in the short term, while devising a longer-term strategy reduce U.S. reliance on foreign supply chains.

03/10/2020
Request to Vice President Pence for Information on Covid-19 Screening Procedures at U.S. Airports
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Testing

Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez wrote to Vice President Mike Pence requesting information on Covid-19 screening procedures at airports across the U.S., citing reports of passengers not being screened despite having arrived from regions with high Covid-19 numbers.

03/10/2020
Request to Education Department for Clarity and Federal Guidance on Covid-19 for School Districts and Higher Education
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Patty Murray and 32 other senators wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos requesting clarity and federal guidance for school districts and higher education institutions following widespread school closures across the country due to Civud-19. The senators also requested information on how students who rely on school lunch programs will continue to have access to meals; how students who rely on school-based health centers will continue to have access to health care; and how students without access to computers or high-speed internet at home will have their tech needs met amid the pandemic, among other questions.

03/10/2020
Request to Labor Department for Information on Role in Federal Response to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management

Sen. Patty Murray and 29 other senators wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia requesting information on his agency’s role in the federal response to Covid-19 amid a seeming absence or exclusion of the agency from the Trump administration’s efforts to address the crisis. Anticipating the economic impact of Covid-19 on workers across the country, the senators asked Scalia to ensure federal response efforts incorporate both the immediate and long-term needs of workers.

03/10/2020
Request to CDC for Clarification and Guidance About Airport Screening Measures and Discrepancies in Travel Advisories Between State Department and CDC
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Testing

Sen. Dick Durbin wrote to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield requesting clarification and guidance from CDC about airport screening measures in place to protect Americans from Covid-19. Durbin highlighted the discrepancy in travel advisories between the CDC and the State Department.

03/10/2020
Request to FTC About Protecting Consumers from Price Gouging, Fake Donation Pages, Other Deceptive Practices
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons urging his agency to develop a plan to protect consumers in light of Covid-19. Markey expressed concern that the Covid-19 crisis would make consumers vulnerable to scams and predatory business practices, ranging from fake donation pages to price gouging by unethical sellers. He asked the FTC to stop unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and to take proactive steps to protect consumers.

03/10/2020
Request to NIH and FDA About Unique Covid-19 Risks of Populations Historically Underrepresented in Pandemic Research Agendas and Vaccine Trials
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Patty Murray wrote to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn asking them to account for the unique risks and concerns of populations historically excluded from pandemic research agendas, and vaccine development and therapeutics, among other investments. The letter highlights the particular needs of pregnant individuals, and notes that current understanding of the impact of Covid-19 on pregnant people is limited. Warren and Murray urged Drs. Collins and Hahn to increase the representation of historically underrepresented populations in future Covid-19 vaccine and treatment trials.

03/10/2020
Follow-up Letter on ACF Employees’ Potential Covid-19 Exposure
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Committee on Ways and Means sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar regarding the committee’s initial request about potential exposure of Administration for Children and Families employees to Covid-19. This letter reiterated questions and attached a set of new questions.

03/09/2020
Request for Provide Guidance to Financial Institutions to Help Coronavirus-Affected Individuals and Communities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Mark Warner and seven other senators wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, FDIC Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams, National Credit Union Administration Chairman J. Mark McWatters, Conference of State Bank Supervisors President and CEO John Ryan, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger, and FHFA Director Mark Calabria asking them to provide guidance to financial institutions to help coronavirus-affected individuals and communities.

03/09/2020
Request to Trade Associations to Encourage Member Institutions to Ensure Employment Protections for Those Following Public Health Guidance Regarding Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Mark Warner and seven other senators wrote to Richard Hunt (president and CEO, Consumer Bankers Association), Kevin Fromer (president and CEO, Financial Services Forum), Greg Baer (president and CEO, Bank Policy Institute), Jim Nussle (president and CEO, Credit Union National Association), Rob Nichols (president and CEO, American Bankers Association), B. Dan Berger (president and CEO, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions), and Preston Kennedy (president and CEO, Independent Community Bankers of America) urging their respective trade associations’ member companies to ensure that any employees or contractors following Covid-19 public health guidance be assured basic economic protections (e.g., preservation of employment status, basic financial forbearance).

03/09/2020
Request to Labor Department to Issue Emergency Temporary Standard to Protect Workers From Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Bob Menendez and six other senators wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia urging him to direct OSHA to issue a comprehensive Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to protect all workers against Covid-19. The senators also requested that Scalia place the Infectious Disease Standard back on the department’s active regulatory agenda and dedicate all available resources to final promulgation of the rule.

03/09/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Ensure Future White House Covid-19 Communications Are Clear and Science-Based
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey wrote to Vice President Mike Pence following President Trump’s March 6 Covid-19 press conference with CDC and HHS. The senators noted that Trump spread misinformation about the virus during the press conference, and asked Pence to ensure that all future White House Covid-19 communications be clear, consistent, and science-based.

03/09/2020
Request to BOP for Information on Policies and Procedures to Prepare for and Manage Spread of Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 14 other senators wrote to Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal requesting information on the policies and procedures BOP has in place to prepare for and manage the spread of Covid-19 in the federal prison population and among federal correctional staff.

03/09/2020
Request to FTC and FDA to Take Action Against Companies Selling Products Claiming to Treat or Cure Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Richard Blumenthal wrote to FTC Chairman Joe Simons and FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn asking their agencies to take enforcement action against companies selling products misleadingly marketed as Covid-19 treatments or cures. Blumenthal urged FTC and FDA take immediate, well-publicized action against Covid-19 “scammers” and refund consumers.

03/09/2020
Request to MD Governor Larry Hogan to Reach Out to SBA and Use Authority to Help Small Businesses in MD Impacted by COVID-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen wrote to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan asking him to proactively reach out to SBA and use his authority to help small businesses in Maryland impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators urged Hogan to ensure that small businesses in Maryland take advantage of the resources allocated by Congress.

03/09/2020
Request to HHS Not to Allow CDC Plans to Permit Health-Care Workers to Use Surgical Masks Instead of N95 Respirators When Treating Covid-19 Patients
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar to express strong opposition to plans by CDC to weaken protections for health-care workers and emergency responders caring for Covid-19 patients. Recently, the CDC signaled plans to permit health-care workers to use surgical masks under certain circumstances instead of N95 respirators when exposed to patients with suspected or confirmed coronavirus. In their letter, the committee noted that there is no evidence that surgical masks are adequate in preventing exposure to Covid-19, and expressed concern that equipment shortages were being used to justify putting health-care workers’ lives at risk.

03/08/2020
Request to HHS, FAA, CDC, Santa Rosa County, and Lee County for Information on Covid-19 Spread and Preparedness Efforts
Source: Sen. Rick Scott
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Sen. Rick Scott wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, Santa Rosa County Health Department Administrator Sandra Park-O’Hara, and Lee County Health Department Administrator Angela Smith inquiring about recent Covid-19 cases in Santa Rosa County and Lee County, and seeking more information about screening and Covid-19 preparedness efforts.

03/08/2020
Request to WMATA for Information on Steps Taken to Protect Employees and Travelers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Sens. Mark Warner, Ben Cardin, Tim Kaine, and Chris Van Hollen wrote to WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld for information on steps WMATA is taking to protect its employees and travelers on its buses, trains, and facilities in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

03/06/2020
Request That Gig Worker Platform Companies Not Penalize Independent Contractors for Following Covid-19 Public Health Recommendations
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Mark Warner sent letters to the CEOs of major gig worker platform companies (Uber, Postmates, Lyft, Instacart, Grubhub, and Doordash) asking them not to penalize independent contractors who deliver their services if they opt to follow recommended health procedures in light of Covid-19. Because they are classified by platform companies as independent contractors, many gig workers do not have access to paid leave, employer-provided health insurance, and other benefits. As a result, many of these workers risk missing income or paying high out-of-pocket health-care costs if they fully comply with public health instructions to be tested, self-quarantine, or take other “social distancing” measures.

The letters to the companies, in the order listed, are here: https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/3/b/3b7548ed-4821-4962-b10a-fe1f83566a5f/B7EF104E698AE6EF93927D9A3B259DF1.2020-03-06-coronavirus-letter-to-uber.pdf; https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/a/9/a9c05e30-9d1d-47cb-b30e-1e09b45316ca/AB1521065D150C49A33B3A5DA626B3E3.2020-03-06-coronavirus-letter-to-postmates.pdf; https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/9/5/95befbf1-f981-454a-a59c-b9a8c576679b/AA1AC8201FD520B5832BA51B86EB7CA4.2020-03-06-coronavirus-letter-to-lyft.pdf; https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/4/7/4744a0db-bedd-40f6-be9e-ec395027f795/719D52989F4DEF5691A005DA94BF62BC.2020-03-06-coronavirus-letter-to-instacart.pdf; https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/5/c/5c03d50a-1846-416e-b419-9776bccefb11/B5C7E938EC82F4A73E26F0AB708987FA.2020-03-06-coronavirus-letter-to-grubhub.pdf; https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/a/6/a68a590d-d5a8-4c89-b9f9-84314aa6a4d1/BF6CE3484625778569C8B75F833AE2EC.2020-03-06-coronavirus-letter-to-doordash.pdf

03/06/2020
Request to HHS to Consider Unique Needs of Elderly Population in Covid-19 Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE, Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Special Committee on Aging wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking him to consider the unique vulnerabilities and needs of the elderly population in his agency’s Covid-19 response, from hospital preparedness to the impact of drug shortages to vaccine development.

03/06/2020
Request to OPM for Guidance on Telework and Other Public Health Arrangements for Federal Employees and Contractors During Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Mark Warner and seven other senators wrote to Office of Personnel Management Director Dale Cabaniss requesting her agency’s guidance on telework and other arrangements for federal employees and contractors during the Covid-19 outbreak. The senators asked Cabaniss for information on how OPM would support federal workers and contractors who are trying to balance fulfilling work commitments with following public health guidelines.

03/06/2020
Request to SBA for Information on How SBA is Communicating With Small Businesses About EIDL Loans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Marco Rubio (chairman, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship) and Ben Cardin (ranking member) wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza requesting information on how SBA is communicating with small businesses about the availability of low-interest loans through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

03/06/2020
Request to Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for Steps Taken to Protect Travelers and Airport Employees
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Testing

Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Reps. Jennifer Wexton, Donald Beyer Jr., and Gerald Connolly wrote to Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority CEO John Potter asking to discuss steps MWAA will take to protect travelers and airport staff as the first reported cases of Covid-19 emerged in the D.C. region.

03/06/2020
Request to HHS to Enhance Capacity of Nevada’s State-Based Health Agencies to Test for Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Testing

Nevada Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting that his agency quickly enhance the capacity of Nevada’s state-based health agencies to test patients for Covid-19.

03/06/2020
Request to Carnival Cruise Line for Covid-19 Response Plans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sen. Maria Cantwell (ranking member, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation) wrote to Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Line, requesting pandemic response plans, vessel and port disinfection policies, his company’s policy for when an employee or passenger falls ill, passenger notification measures, waiver and change fee policies, and whether there are suspected Covid-19 cases on cruise ships in U.S. waters.

03/06/2020
Request to Transportation Department for Information on Agency’s Covid-19 Pandemic Response Plan
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Maria Cantwell (ranking member, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation) wrote to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao requesting information on: Covid-19 guidance the agency provided to its employees; whether the agency implemented OPM, CDC, State Department, OSHA, or other federal guidance; the agency’s pandemic response plan; steps to limit employee travel; Covid-19 screening for facilities and employees; telework and flexible leave policies; guidance to transportation industries that the department oversees; and coordination with transit stakeholders.

03/06/2020
Request to Amtrak for Its Covid-19 Pandemic Response Plan
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management

Sen. Maria Cantwell (ranking member, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation) wrote to Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson inquiring about Amtrak’s Covid-19 pandemic response plan. Cantwell also requested information about Amtrak’s railcar and station cleaning policies, communication with passengers about Covid-19 guidance and policies, and waiver and change fee policies.

03/06/2020
Request to Vice President Pence for Coronavirus Task Force to Take Into Account Needs of Frontline Workers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal, Ed Markey, Richard Blumenthal, and Sherrod Brown wrote to Vice President Mike Pence requesting that the White House Coronavirus Task Force take into account the needs of frontline workers as they address Covid-19.

03/05/2020
Request to CMS For Information on Safety and Emergency Preparedness in Nursing Homes Amid Covid-19 Outbreak
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Richard Neal wrote to CMS Administrator Seema Verma requesting information about the administration’s efforts to address safety and emergency preparedness at nursing homes amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Their letter also highlighted previous efforts by the administration to weaken nursing home safety standards.

03/05/2020
Request to Vice President Pence for Native Communities’ and Tribal Leaders’ Inclusion in Covid-19 Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Tom Udall and 26 other senators wrote to Vice President Mike Pence requesting that the administration engage with Native communities and Tribal leaders when formulating its Covid-19 response. The senators asked that the administration include a representative from Indian Health Service on the Covid-19 Task Force, and provide Tribal leaders, Tribal health departments, and urban Indian health programs equal access to Covid-19 information shared with their state and local counterparts. Additionally, the senators asked that all Covid-19 resources identified by Congress for Native communities’ use be directed to impacted IHS facilities, Tribes, and urban Indian health programs in a timely manner.

03/05/2020
Request to BOP for Information on Its Preparations for Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Kamala Harris wrote to BOP Director Michael Carvajal requesting information on his agency’s preparations for Covid-19 in BOP facilities and private prisons. Harris inquires as to whether BOP had received guidance from Attorney General William Barr on this issue, and the number of BOP officials currently working on the agency’s response to Covid-19, among other questions.

03/05/2020
Request to FCC to Institute Temporary Measures to Ensure Connected Care Between Patients and Health-Care Providers During Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Maria Cantwell wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pia urging the FCC to consider adopting temporary policies or rule waivers to allow rural and non-rural health-care providers to apply for support for telecommunications and information services (i.e., for telemedicine, temporary measures for connected care between patients and health-care professionals, and to facilitate at-home connectivity for students) in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

03/05/2020
Request to Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and National Association of Manufacturers to Not Penalize Workers for Following Covid-19 Public Health Guidance
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Testing, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Mark Warner and 13 other senators wrote letters to major industry groups (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and National Association of Manufacturers) urging them not to penalize workers for following Covid-19 guidance from CDC and public health authorities. The senators also request that member companies work with health insurance providers to ensure workers can affordably access the preventative care and treatment they may need as a result of Covid-19.

03/05/2020
Request to Vice President Pence for Information on Covid-19 Diagnostic Test Availability
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing

Sen. Patty Murray (ranking member, Senate HELP Committee) wrote to Vice President Mike Pence requesting information on the development, deployment, and availability of Covid-19 tests.

03/05/2020
Request to Virginia Chamber of Commerce to Urge Member Companies to Prioritize Health of Workers and Not to Penalize Those Following Covid-19 Guidelines
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, State Issues, Testing

Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine wrote to Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, urging his organization’s member companies not to penalize employees or contractors who arefollowing CDC and public health guidelines regarding Covid-19. Additionally, the senators asked member companies to work with health insurance providers to ensure that workers can affordably access any preventative care and treatment they may need as a result of Covid-19.

03/05/2020
Request to Labor Department to Direct OSHA to Issue ETS in Response to Covid-19 Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia asking him to take immediate action to protect workers against Covid-19. The committee asked Scalia to direct OSHA to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in response to the emerging Covid-19 crisis.

03/04/2020
Request to SSA to Reverse Decision to Eliminate or Curtail Telework Options Amid Covid-19 Outbreak
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Richard Neal wrote to SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul requesting that he reverse his decision to eliminate or curtail telework options amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

03/04/2020
Request to HHS to Ensure Affordability of Future Covid-19 Vaccine, Among Other Requests
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism, State and Federal Coordination, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Patty Murray and 35 other senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking the administration to make a commitment that anyone who needs it will be able to afford a Covid-19 vaccine. The letter also asks Azar to rescind the administration’s “junk” plan rule, withdraw the 2018 guidance that undermines implementation of the 1332 waiver guardrails, and stop ongoing attacks on the Medicaid program.

03/04/2020
Request to Sen. McConnell to Bring Covid-19 Emergency Funding Bill to Senate Floor
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Kamala Harris wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asking him to bring to the floor a Covid-19 emergency funding bill as quickly as possible. Harris noted that the administration’s emergency supplemental appropriations request of $2.5 billion is insufficient and takes away funding from ongoing efforts to address the Ebola epidemic.

03/04/2020
Request to President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Covid Task Force to Stop All Civil Immigration Enforcement Activities Around Medical Facilities and to Suspend Public Charge Rule For Individuals Seeking Testing or Treatment
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism, Testing

Nine Senate Democrats wrote to President Trump, Vice President Pence, and members of the Coronavirus Task Force expressing concern over two DHS policies that they believe will hamper the federal response to Covid-19. First, the senators requested that DHS halt all civil immigration enforcement activities around public health departments, hospitals, medical clinics and centers, or coronavirus testing sites or laboratories. Second, the senators asked DHS to confirm that any individual seeking testing or treatment related to potential Covid-19 symptoms would not be subjected to the “public charge” rule that was implemented on Feb. 24, 2020.

03/04/2020
Request to Amazon to Address Price Gouging on Covid-19 Products
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos requesting information on Amazon’s steps to prevent Covid-19-based price gouging on items like hand sanitizer and masks.

03/04/2020
Request to CDC and HHS For Full and Fair Consideration of Colorado’s Covid-19 Grant Management Requests
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

To allow state public health officials to focus on responding to Covid-19, Colorado’s congressional delegation wrote to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dr. Robert Kadlec requesting a full and fair consideration of Colorado’s grant management requests. Namely, they ask that CDC and HHS extend current contracts with the same levels for all grants and suspend the current application process. The delegation wrote to request flexibility for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program, Hospital Preparedness Program, Epidemiology and Laboratory Program, Immunization and Vaccines for Children Program, Public Health Tracking Program, and Occupational Health and Safety Surveillance Program.

03/04/2020
Request to HHS and CDC to Prioritize and Prevent Covid-19 Spread Within Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Martha McSally wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield requesting that the administration prioritize and work to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

03/04/2020
Request to Treasury to Brief Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs About FSOC’s Plan to Address Economic Threat of Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response

Sen. Sherrod Brown (ranking member, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs) wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Chair of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), and FSOC member agencies asking him to brief the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs about the council’s plan to address the threat of an economic downturn due to the coronavirus. Brown also requested that a representative from each FSOC member agency be present at the briefing to describe the steps each agency will take to implement the council’s plan.

03/04/2020
Request to SBA to Establish Covid-19 Task Force to Ensure Assistance Is Delivered to Small Businesses Impacted by Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Tammy Duckworth wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carraza requesting that a Covid-19 Task Force be established to ensure that assistance is delivered effectively and efficiently to small businesses impacted by Covid-19.

03/04/2020
Requests to Vice President Pence, Virginia Gov. Northam, Virginia Association of Health Plans, and State Corporation Commission to Eliminate Cost Burdens Associated with Covid-19 Testing and Treatment
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Testing, Vulnerable Populations

Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine sent letters to Vice President Mike Pence, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, the Virginia Association of Health Plans, and the State Corporation Commission urging these federal and state officials and health insurers to eliminate cost burdens that could disincentivize people with Covid-19 symptoms from seeking testing and treatment. Copies of the letters to Pence, Northam, the Virginia Association of Health Plans, and the State Corporation Commission can be found in the order listed: https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/e/b/ebed9596-7d1b-4659-87b8-d49f92e1866f/77B5C00DCCD6C35A9C752B6DEEABEC64.3.4.2020-covid19-patient-cost-sharing-letter-to-vice-president-pence.pdf; https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/1/f/1f739a97-adca-4bc2-831b-79e318a99980/D0D9B7E6A510AC21591124CD36BFA0F4.3.4.2020-covid19-patient-cost-sharing-letter-to-governor-northam.pdf; https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/7/4/74aaa8f5-67e0-462d-9bb5-e74288de5f28/EADC9B23A682CC76FE18E50B1307B5B4.3.4.2020-covid19-patient-cost-sharing-letter-to-virginia-health-plans.pdf; https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/b/8/b8d25424-f9d9-4b93-ab44-6a9ea44714d2/02E544532E5D3250BB5BCB622464719C.3.4.2020-covid19-patient-cost-sharing-letter-to-state-corporation-commission.pdf

03/04/2020
Request to Transportation Department for Airlines to Suspend Ticket Change and Cancellation Fees in Light of Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao requesting that all airlines suspend their ticket change and cancellation fees in light of Covid-19.

03/04/2020
Request to DHS, CBP, and ICE to Suspend Immigration Enforcement Activities Around Hospitals and Other Medical Facilities in Light of COVID-19, Publicly Announce Such Suspensions
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and seven other senators wrote to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan, and ICE Deputy Director Matthew Albence urging DHS, CBP, and ICE to suspend all immigration enforcement actions in and around hospitals and other medical facilities, and publicly announce such suspensions, so individuals (regardless of immigration status) will not avoid or delay Covid-19 treatment out of fear of immigration enforcement.

03/03/2020
Information Regarding the Outbreak of Coronavirus in U.S.
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Letter from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting information about the spread of Covid-19 within the United States.

03/03/2020
Ensuring Covid-19 Testing and Treatment for Uninsured and Underinsured
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Letter from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma requesting HHS’s plan to ensure uninsured and underinsured individuals are able to receive testing and treatment for Covid-19.

03/03/2020
HHS Testing Procedure Development
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar to ask how the department and its sub-agencies intended to develop, authorize, and distribute coronavirus testing procedures.

03/03/2020
Request to Census to Implement Plan to Ensure Covid-19 Outbreak Does Not Impact Accuracy of Census Count
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

Sen. Tina Smith and 16 other senators wrote to Census Director Steven Dillingham requesting that his agency put a plan in place to protect census takers, the public, and ensure the integrity of census results. The letter also notes that the agency may need to prepare for challenges in recruitment and retention of census takers in the event of Covid-19 outbreaks.

03/03/2020
Request to American Airlines to Suspend Flight Change and Cancellation Fees For Consumers Changing Travel Plans Due to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sen. Richard Blumenthal wrote to the CEO of American Airlines W. Douglas Parker asking that the company suspend all flight change and cancellation fees for consumers seeking to make changes to their travel plans due to the Covid-19 crisis. Blumenthal made the same requests of JetBlue and Delta.

03/03/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Launch Centralized Federal Website to Provide Information on Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sen. Gary Peters (ranking member, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs) wrote to Vice President Mike Pence asking him to launch a centralized federal website — coronavirus.gov — that will provide information on Covid-19 and how Americans can best prepare. Such a resource, Peters notes, would maximize public accessibility to trusted sources, combat misinformation and disinformation, and strengthen coordination between federal agencies.

03/03/2020
Request to CDC For Information on Covid-19 Positive Individual Released rrom Isolation in San Antonio
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State Issues, Testing

Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz wrote to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield requesting information on how an individual who, after two negative tests, ultimately tested positive for Covid-19, and was released from the Texas Center for Infectious Disease into the San Antonio community. The senators wanted to know how the incident occurred and what the CDC would do to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.

03/03/2020
Request to Airlines for Covid-19 Plans, Aircraft Cleaning Policies, Customer Notification Policies, and Waiver and Fee Policies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sen. Maria Cantwell (ranking member, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation) wrote letters to major airline CEOs (Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United) requesting information on their Covid-19 pandemic plans, aircraft cleaning policies, customer notification policies, and waiver and change-fee policies related to Covid-19.

03/03/2020
Request to Airport Directors for Information on Covid-19 Response Plans, Airport Cleaning Policies, Passenger Notification Policies, and Employee and Contractor Notification Policies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management

Sen. Maria Cantwell (ranking member, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation) wrote letters to airport directors (ATL, BOS, CLT, DEN, DFW, IAD, IAH, LAX, MIA, ORD, PANY& NJ, PDX, PHL, SEA, SFO) requesting information on pandemic response plans, airport cleaning policies, passenger notification policies, and employee and contractor notification policies related to Covid-19.

03/03/2020
Request to CBP to Strengthen Medical Directive and Prioritize Migrant Health
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Nydia Velasquez wrote to Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan asking him to strengthen the agency’s new Medical Directive, which details the agency’s requirements for medical screening and delivery of medical care to migrants in Customs and Border Protection custody. In particular, the letter mentions the importance of strengthening detention facilities’ response to influenza and implementing preventative care measures; the flu contributed to the deaths of at least three children in CBP’s care the previous year.

03/02/2020
Labor Dept. Preparations for Spread of COVID-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Patty Murray and other senators on the HELP Committee wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia requesting information on the department’s plans to ensure worker safety during the spread of Covid-19.

03/02/2020
Education Dept.’s Preparation for Coronavirus
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos requesting information about the department’s preparations for the potential spread of the coronavirus.

03/02/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Continue to Hold China Accountable For the Spread of Covid-19 and Consider Additional Travel Restrictions
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sen. Thom Tillis wrote to Vice President Mike Pence requesting that the Trump administration continue to hold China accountable for the spread of the Covid-19 virus and consider additional travel restrictions. Tillis also reiterated the importance of protecting American military service members and their families at home and abroad, something he had expressed to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

03/02/2020
Request to HHS to Improve Covid-19 Testing Procedures, Capabilities, and Capacity
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

Sen. Tammy Duckworth wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting that his agency improve Covid-19 testing procedures, capabilities, and capacity. She made a series of policy recommendations, including: establishing an independent working group of public health experts to monitor and make recommendations on the efficiency of the CDC testing kit for Covid-19; partnering with manufacturing and distribution entities to concurrently produce Covid-19 tests following WHO guidance; establishing performance metrics to measure progress in rapidly expanding manufacturing and distribution capacity for Covid-19 testing kits; and transparently reporting progress towards performance goals.

03/02/2020
Request to Vice President Pence to Implement Mobilization Effort and Communications Strategy in Response to Covid-19 Outbreak
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Mark Warner wrote to Vice President Pence expressing concern that the administration’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak had not been aggressive enough. He also expressed concern about how the administration is communicating with state, local and federal officials, and Americans impacted by the virus. Warner requested that Pence implement an effective and reliable mobilization effort to response to Covid-19, in addition to a reliable and organized communications strategy that ensures state, local, and federal officials and the American public have the most up-to-date information needed to be prepared and safe.

03/02/2020
Request to Senate Appropriations and HELP Committees Urging Restoration of Full Funding to CDC Pandemic Prevention Programs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Gary Peters (ranking member, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee) wrote to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Appropriations and HELP Committees urging the restoration of full funding to CDC pandemic prevention programs. He also requested the acquisition of critical equipment and supplies, and expedited resources for state, territorial, and tribal public health agencies to detect and prevent the spread of Covid-19.

03/02/2020
Request to FTC and FDA for Information on Efforts to Protect the American Public from Covid-19 Scams
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vaccines and Treatments

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (member, Senate HELP Committee) and Bob Casey (member, Senate HELP Committee; ranking member, Aging Committee) wrote to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons and FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn requesting information on efforts to protect the American public from Covid-19 scams. The FTC and FDA work closely when combatting health fraud: the FTC “enforces truth-in-advertising laws,” which require ads — including those making health or fitness claims — to be “truthful, not misleading, and when, appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.” The FDA “regulates safety, manufacturing, and product labeling” for foods, drugs, and devices, and can take action when individuals or manufacturers misbrand or promote unproven health or medical claims about their products.

The letter to FTC is here (https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.03.02%20Letter%20to%20FTC%20re%20Coronavirus%20Scam%20Products.pdf) and the letter to FDA is here (https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.03.02%20Letter%20to%20FDA%20re%20Coronavirus%20Scam%20Products.pdf).

02/28/2020
Deployment of Unprepared HHS Staff to Quarantine Sites
Source: Sen. Ron Wyden
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Letter from Sen. Ron Wyden to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding a whistleblower report that revealed HHS had deployed unprepared staff — including staff who were not provided with adequate training or protective equipment — to sites in the U.S. where people exposed to Covid-19 were being quarantined during the early days of the pandemic.

02/28/2020
Protecting Non-Healthcare Federal Workers in the Pandemic
Source: Sen. Ron Wyden
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Ron Wyden wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting more information about a whistleblower allegation that HHS sent non-health care federal staff to two coronavirus quarantine sites in California without adequate training, safety protocols, or protective equipment.

02/28/2020
Request to Treasury and State to Send Medicine and Other Non-Sanctionable Humanitarian Items to Iranian People
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing concern about the vulnerability of Iranians to Covid-19 and requesting that medicine and other non-sanctionable humanitarian items be sent to the Iranian people to help prevent the further spread of Covid-19.

02/28/2020
Request to CBP for Information on Agency’s Response to Covid-19 and Virus’ Threat at U.S. Borders
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Testing

Sens. Martha McSally, John Cornyn, and Ted Cruz wrote to CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan requesting information on the agency’s response to Xovid-19 and steps taken to address the threat presented by the virus at U.S. borders. Various questions surrounding CBP’s coordination with state and local officials, staffing needs, and differentiating between Covid-19 and other illnesses with similar symptoms, among others, were raised in the letter.

02/28/2020
Requests to “Too Big To Fail” Bank CEOs for Information on Steps Taken to Monitor, Prepare For, and Mitigate Economic Risks Presented by Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to various “Too Big To Fail” bank CEOs asking about steps they are taking to monitor, prepare for, and mitigate the economic risks presented by Covid-19. Warren requested information on how these banks evaluate risks to their institutions and their customers, the extent to which they are exposed to those risks and prepared to absorb their impacts, and how they are monitoring Covid-19 developments.

02/28/2020
Request to Defense Department for Information About Agency’s Covid-19 Response and Infection Prevention Efforts
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Thom Tillis wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper requesting information about the threat of Covid-19 to service members and military families overseas and inquiring about Defense Department’s Covid-19 response and infection prevention efforts.

02/28/2020
Request to DHS and CDC for Information on Covid-19 Security Protocols and Resources for Florida Airports and Seaports
Source: Sen. Rick Scott
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Sen. Rick Scott wrote to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield requesting information on Covid-19 security protocols and resources for Florida’s airports and seaports in response to new cases of Covid-19 being reported in Mexico and countries in South America.

02/28/2020
Request to FDA for Information on Agency’s Administrative and Regulatory Actions to Mitigate New Drug Shortages Due to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

Sens. Ben Cardin, Tina Smith, Richard Blumenthal, and Chris Van Hollen wrote to FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn asking for the agency’s plans to address potential drug shortages due to Covid-19. The FDA had identified a list of 20 drugs. — either solely manufactured in China or containing active pharmaceutical ingredients solely made in China. — whose production could be disrupted due to the worsening Covid-19 crisis in China.

02/28/2020
Request to FDA for Agency’s Plans Regarding Inspections in China
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Chris Van Hollen, Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Mazie Hirono, and Patty Murray wrote to FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn requesting information about the agency’s plans for inspections in China in light of the Covid-19 crisis. The senators asked whether FDA had plans to resume sending FDA employees, including compliance or inspection personnel, to China. They also asked how FDA planned to communicate information and/or policies related to inspections in China to its workers and/or union representatives, among other questions.

02/27/2020
HHS Policies Related to Diamond Princess Cruise Ship
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Patty Murray and Gary Peters wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting information about the decision-making behind bringing American passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship back to the country.

02/27/2020
Request to President Trump to Reconsider Appointment of Vice President Mike Pence to Lead Federal Coronavirus Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sen. Patty Murray, ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee, wrote to President Trump expressing concern with his appointment of Vice President Mike Pence to lead the Covid-19 response.

02/27/2020
Request to HHS to Reject Administration Proposal to Fund National Coronavirus Response by Transferring Money Out of LIHEAP
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking that he reject the Trump administration’s reported proposal to fund federal coronavirus response by transferring money out of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

02/27/2020
Request to President Trump to Prioritize Response and Preparedness Efforts to Protect Americans from Coronavirus
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Susan Collins wrote to President Trump asking him to prioritize response and preparedness efforts to protect Americans from Covid-19. Collins stressed the importance of timely and accurate information from the administration, despite uncertainties about the virus. She also highlighted the importance of giving state and local health departments the tools they need to respond to the threat, and urged the administration to keep in mind the unique vulnerabilities and needs of older adults.

02/27/2020
Request to USTR to Remove Section 301 Import Tariffs on Medical Products Necessary to Combat Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Cory Gardner wrote a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer requesting that USTR remove Section 301 import tariffs on medical products that are necessary for the U.S. to prepare for the Covid-19 outbreak. Gardner noted that removing the tariffs would be critical in addressing medical supply chain concerns.

02/27/2020
Request to Vice President Pence for Rapid Covid-19 Testing of All Suspected Cases
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to Vice President Mike Pence asking for rapid testing of all suspected Covid-19 cases.

02/27/2020
Request to SBA for Information on Agency’s Plan to Ensure Small Businesses Are Prepared for Coronavirus-Related Disruptions
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management

Sens. Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza requesting information on the agency’s plan to ensure that small businesses are prepared to respond to potential disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

02/27/2020
Request to CDC to Launch Phone Hotline to Address Public’s Questions About Covid-19 and Schedule Regular Conference Calls with State and Local Health Officials
Source: Sen. Rick Scott
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Rick Scott wrote to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield requesting his agency to launch a 24/7, fully-staffed phone hotline to address questions from the American public about the Covid-19 and schedule regular conference calls with state and/or local health officials on Covid-19, among other requests.

02/27/2020
Request for President Trump to Support Funding to Address Covid-19 Without Taking Resources Away from LIHEAP
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Tina Smith and Tammy Baldwin wrote to President Trump asking him to support funding to address the spread of Covid-19 without taking away resources from the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The senators also expressed concern over the relatively small size of Trump’s supplemental funding request ($2.5 billion).

02/26/2020
Request to President Trump for Information on Administration’s Overall Response to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Kamala Harris wrote to President Trump requesting information on the administration’s overall plan to respond to Covid-19. She noted that the emergency supplemental appropriations request he issued on Feb. 24, 2020, was insufficient in addressing her concerns related to the administration’s preparedness. Harris also noted that the request was smaller than previous emergency supplemental appropriations requests and relied on taking public health funding from other critical priorities. The letter outlines action items for the administration, including ensuring adequate PPE and medical equipment for frontline workers, correcting problems with Covid-19 diagnostic test kits, and ensuring greater transparency and coordination with state and local entities, among other requests.

02/26/2020
Request to CDC, State, and FAA for Information on Domestic and International Screening and Prevention Measures for Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Testing

Sen. Cory Gardner wrote to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and FAA Administrator Steve Dickson requesting information on domestic and international screening and prevention practices for Covid-19 with regard to countries with a growing number of cases. The letter includes questions about whether screening practices have been informed and improved by SARS and MERS outbreak patterns; steps taken to proactively reevaluate and inform airport screening protocols in light of new “hotspot” countries like South Korea, Italy, and Iran; and steps taken by the FAA to coordinate with the CDC, WHO, and airlines to ensure public health containment, among other questions.

02/26/2020
Request to State, HHS, and CDC for Information on Rationale and Process for Future Public Health Decisions Regarding Coronavirus
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield raising concern over reports that appeared to show confusion and disagreement when State Department and HHS officials overruled CDC recommendations during the evacuation from Japan of American citizens with Covid-19. Warren wrote to request information on the rationale and process for future public health decisions regarding coronavirus.

02/25/2020
Request to DHS to Increase Screening at Airports for Foreign Nationals Coming from Regions of Growing Concern for Covid-19 Transmission
Source: Sen. Rick Scott
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

Sen. Rick Scott wrote a letter to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf requesting information about DHS’s plans to address Covid-19. Specifically, Scott asked a number of questions related to virus screening for foreign nationals arriving from regions in which Covid-19 is of growing concern. Scott also asked about DHS’s confidence in its procedures for screening imports from China and whether DHS would consider additional temporary travel restrictions, among other questions.

02/25/2020
Request to FDA for Information on Agency’s Plan to Address Safety and Security of Medical Supply Chain
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sens. Robert Menendez and Bill Pascrell wrote to FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn requesting information on the FDA’s plan to ensure the safety and security of the medical supply chain. The letter includes a request to FDA for a list of 150 at-risk drugs, clarification on FDA’s medical product inspections in China, information on changes FDA has made since the outbreak of Covid-19, and information on steps taken to ensure that U.S. health-care workers have the necessary PPE and medical equipment to address the health crisis, among other questions.

02/24/2020
Request to FDA for Information on Agency’s Mitigation of Potential Drug and Medical Device Shortages
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Josh Hawley wrote to FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn asking for responses to several questions pertaining to the agency’s plans to mitigate potential drug and medical device shortages due the Covid-19 crisis and resulting disruptions to medical supply chains. Hawley also copied HHS Secretary Alex Azar in his letter to Hahn.

02/14/2020
Request to HHS and OMB to Transmit Emergency Supplemental Request Ensuring It Can Fully Reimburse States for Costs Incurred as Part of Federal Covid-19 Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Patty Murray and 25 other senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney conveying concerns from states and local public health departments about the escalating costs they are incurring due to implementing various initiatives (e.g., travel screenings, staffing, equipment, etc.) in service of the federal response to Covid-19. The letter also raised concerns about how HHS will cover the significant costs associated with Phase II and III clinical trials to test Covid-19 vaccines. Lastly, the letter raised concerns over President Trump’s budget proposal, which proposed to cut funding for public health programs critical to containing the spread of and responding to infectious diseases like Covid-19. The senators requested the administration transmit an emergency supplemental request that ensure it can and will fully reimburse states for the costs they have incurred as part of the federal response to Covid-19. The supplemental request should also provide funding to replenish the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Fund.

02/14/2020
Request to FDA for Information About Decision to Remove Inspectors of Chinese Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Facilities
Source: Sen. Rick Scott
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Rick Scott wrote to FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn requesting information about the agency’s decision to remove staff inspecting Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. While Scott agreed that removing the inspectors was a good decision, he wrote to Hahn to ask whether inspections were still being conducted, whether a list of products the FDA typically inspects in China could be provided, and whether the U.S. should consider suspending importing drugs, medical devices, etc. from China, among other questions.

02/13/2020
Request to National Security Advisor to Appoint Qualified Global Health Security Expert to Coordinate U.S. Response to Covid-19 and Other Global Health Emergencies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

In light of Covid-19’s spread, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 26 other senators wrote to National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien asking him to appoint a qualified global health security expert to coordinate the United States’ global health security work, including the response to and containment of Covid-19 and other global health emergencies. The position has been vacant since May 2018. At that time, some Senate Democrats wrote to then-National Security Adviser John Bolton regarding their concerns about the vacancy.

02/13/2020
Request to HHS to Establish Clear Guidelines for State and Local Governments to Receive Reimbursements for Costs Incurred as Part of Federal Response to Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and 16 other senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting that his agency establish clear guidelines for state and local governments to receive federal reimbursement for costs they incur as part of the federal response to Covid-19. The letter cites previous examples — 2009 H1N1 influenza, 2014 Ebola crisis, 2016 Zika crisis. — in which federal funding was distributed to state and local efforts that directly supported federal activities.

02/07/2020
Request to OMB to Fully Fund Pandemic and Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Efforts in FY 2021 Budget Proposal
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Gary Peters, Patrick Leahy, Patty Murray, and Bob Menendez wrote to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney expressing concern over President Trump’s previous attempts to cut funding for pandemic and infectious disease preparedness and response programs. The senators urged Mulvaney’s office to fully fund such programs in its FY 2021 budget proposal.

02/06/2020
Request to FDA to Ensure Safety and Supply of Pharmaceuticals, Food, and Medical Supplies Imported from China
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sens. Marco Rubio and Chris Murphy wrote to FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn asking the FDA to ensure the safety and supply of pharmaceuticals, food, and medical supplies imported from China. The senators also inquire about the degree to which Covid-19 has disrupted the FDA’s inspection schedule for the 2020 calendar year and how many FDA personnel remained in China to inspect facilities producing items for export to the U.S., among other questions.

02/06/2020
Request to Veterans Health Administration About VA’s Preparedness to Protect Health and Safety of Veterans and Staff
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Jon Tester and six other senators from the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs wrote to Dr. Richard Stone of the Veterans Health Administration to inquire about steps taken by the VA to protect the health and safety of veterans and the staff caring for them. The senators asked Stone how the VA was collaborating with the CDC and other federal partners on Covid-19 preparedness and response. The senators also asked Stone about whether VA facilities had developed standardized training and guidance so that providers were equipped to safely assess and treat potential Covid-19 cases, whether they had the appropriate equipment and supplies necessary to treat potential and confirmed Covid-19 patients, and whether the VA needed anything from Congress to respond appropriately to Covid-19, among other questions.

02/05/2020
Request to HHS for Steps to Ensure Adequate Resources and Personnel to Screen and Quarantine Incoming Travelers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar to follow up on a Jan. 15, 2020, letter inquiring about steps HHS was taking to ensure the U.S. was prepared for a Covid-19 outbreak. Feinstein asked Azar for information about what his agency was doing to ensure there were adequate resources and personnel at designated quarantine facilities to oversee the health of evacuees returning to the U.S. She also asked how the federal government planned to reimburse states and local governments assisting with Covid-19 evaluations, and what was being done to contact incoming travelers who were screened prior to the implementation of the 14-day quarantine period.

02/05/2020
Request to President Trump for Administration to Be Open and Transparent About Covid-19 Information
Source: Sen. Rick Scott
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sen. Rick Scott wrote to President Trump requesting that the administration be as open and transparent as possible concerning any new information about the coronavirus. In light of the CDC confirming the first case of person-to-person Covid-19 infection in the U.S., Scott asked Trump to take lessons from Florida’s handling of the Zika virus and take steps to disrupt local transmission of Covid-19.

02/05/2020
Request to President Trump to Increase Federal Funding to Respond to Coronavirus and Other Pandemics as FY 2021 Budget Proposal Is Finalized
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation wrote to President Trump to support increased resources for federal efforts to respond to Covid-19 and other pandemics as the administration finalizes its FY 2021 budget proposal. Despite the CDC tapping into the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund — and plans to redirect more federal monies into that fund — the delegation expressed concern over Trump’s call for significant reductions to CDC and NIAID funding in the FY 2020 budget.

02/03/2020
CDC Distribution of Rapid Diagnostic Tests in States and Localities with Confirmed Cases
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

Bipartisan, bicameral letter signed by 48 members of Congress urging CDC Director Robert Redfield to distribute rapid diagnostic tests to state and local health officials, prioritizing those states and localities with confirmed cases of Covid-19.

02/03/2020
Request to NIAID for Information About Efforts to Produce Covid-19 Vaccine
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci inquiring about efforts to develop a universal Covid-19 vaccine.

01/30/2020
Request to USAID for Information About USAID’s Decision to Shut Down PREDICT
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Angus King wrote to USAID Director Mark Green requesting information about USAID’s decision to shutdown PREDICT, a program established to identify and combat viruses with the capacity to generate pandemics. USAID’s PREDICT program, part of USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats Program, was launched in 2009 after the 2005 H5N1 bird flu sparked global fears of a pandemic.

01/28/2020
Request to State, HHS, and DHS for a Targeted Travel Ban on China
Source: Sen. Tom Cotton
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Tom Cotton wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf requesting the implementation of a targeted travel ban on China in response to Covid-19. The letter asks for commercial flights from China to be halted immediately, describes possible exceptions to the targeted travel ban, and discusses the need to assist in the return of American citizens, among other requests.

01/28/2020
Information on Federal Strategy and Response Coordination with States to Contain Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee wrote to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf requesting information about DHS’s Covid-19 response plan and its plans to coordinate with state and tribal governments. Questions relate to screening at ports of entry, adequate supplies for front-line responders, and the process for providing updates to public health and safety officials, among other issues.

01/27/2020
Assessment of Covid-19 Situation and Response Plans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

31 Democratic senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting an assessment of the rapidly unfolding Covid-19 situation, the current and planned response, information about the threat to health-care workers and plans to equip them properly, and screening procedures at airports, among other questions.

01/27/2020
Request to Reestablish NSC Global Health Security and Biothreats Directorate
Source: Sen. Ed Markey
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Ed Markey wrote to President Trump requesting the reestablishment of the Global Health Security and Biothreats directorate within the National Security Council, which had been established during the Obama administration after the Ebola crisis and eliminated in 2018. Markey asked Trump to appoint a qualified individual to fill the post and coordinate the government’s response to Covid-19.

01/22/2020
Preventing Covid-19 from Becoming a Pandemic, Cooperation with China and Other Governments, International Bodies
Source: Sen. Tom Cotton
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Tom Cotton wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting greater coordination among the U.S., China, and other national governments and international bodies in an effort to prevent Covid-19 from becoming a pandemic. Cotton urged Azar to notify Congress if HHS finds that China is providing inaccurate information about Covid-19 to the U.S. government.

01/22/2020
The CDC’s Plan to Address Covid-19
Source: Sen. Rick Scott
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

Sen. Rick Scott wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting the agency’s plan to address the threat of Covid-19, including steps taken to coordinate with state and local health authorities and criteria for screening individuals arriving at ports of entry.

01/21/2020
Request to State and CDC for Supplemental Resources for Newark Liberty International Airport
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

Sens. Menendez and Booker wrote a letter to CDC Director Robert Redfield and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking them to send supplemental resources, similar to those received by three other airports, to Newark Liberty International Airport response in these agencies’ major U.S. airports to COVID-19.