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)
04/09/2021
Requests to Former Trump Administration Officials for Documents and Transcribed Interviews Regarding Roles in Pandemic Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released documents obtained as part of its ongoing investigation into the Trump administration’s political interference in the Covid-19 response and its haphazard efforts to obtain critical medical supplies. The documents included communications illustrating administration officials bragging about influencing the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, attacking CDC’s guidance for schools and universities, and pushing a “herd immunity” strategy to combat the virus. The documents also showed that Trump administration officials often used personal email accounts for government work. The acquisition and release of these documents prompted the subcommittee to send letters to Paul Alexander (former HHS senior adviser), Scott Atlas (former special adviser to the president), and Steven Hatfill (former adviser to Assistant to the President Peter Navarro) requesting documents and transcribed interviews regarding their roles in the Trump administration’s pandemic response: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-04-08.Clyburn%20to%20Alexander%20re%20COVID%20Response%20.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-04-08.Clyburn%20to%20Atlas%20re%20Scientific%20Information%20.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-04-08.Clyburn%20to%20Hatfill%20re%20PPE%20.pdf. The documents obtained by the Select Subcommittee can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/j8cqfywd4g22hxm/04.09.21%20New%20Evidence%20Release%20Combined%20All%20Files.pdf?dl=0

04/06/2021
Request to HHS to Establish Special Enrollment Period After Expiration of ARPA’s COBRA Subsidies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Education and Labor Committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, Senate HELP Committee, and Senate Finance Committee sent a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra urging him to establish a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that will allow unemployed workers to maintain access to health insurance coverage after the expiration of the American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA) COBRA subsidies. While eligible workers who experienced job loss or reduced hours have access to premium-free COBRA coverage through Sept. 30, 2021, under ARPA, they may not be able to receive coverage through the ACA marketplace until Jan. 1, 2021. Thus, without an SEP, unemployed workers would either be forced to pay the full cost of COBRA coverage or go without health insurance for three months until they enroll in a marketplace plan.

04/01/2021
Request to California Governor, State Assembly Speaker, and State Senate President Pro Temp to Use ARP Section 9901 Authority to Help Localities in Need of Relief
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and California State Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins asking them to use their authority within Section 9901 of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to help special districts and other units of state and local government that are in dire need of relief due to the Covid-19 crisis. Section 9901 provides funds to help states, territories, Tribal governments, and localities manage the public health and economic consequences of the pandemic.

04/01/2021
Request to HHS OIG to Include Inconsistencies in Georgia Covid-19 Nursing Home Data in Ongoing Audit of Data Collection
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Raphael Warnock and Rep. Hank Johnson Jr. sent a letter to HHS Principal Deputy Inspector General Christi Grimm expressing concern about apparent inconsistencies in data reported by dozens of Georgia nursing homes to the federal government regarding Covid-19 deaths since May 2020. Warnock and Johnson noted that hundreds of Georgia Covid-19 nursing home deaths may not have been included in data collected and published by CMS and CDC. They asked HHS OIG to include these data inconsistencies as part of its ongoing oversight and audit of Covid-19 data collection.

03/30/2021
Request to FEMA to Keep Federally-Run COVID-19 Vaccine Sites at Oakland Coliseum and Cal State LA Operational
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, Vaccines and Treatments

Sens. Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton asking his agency to work with state and local governments to keep the federally run Covid-19 vaccination sites at the Oakland Coliseum and California State University Los Angeles operational.

03/30/2021
Requests to NARA, HHS, DHS, and FEMA for Documents Related to Investigation into Trump Administration’s Efforts to Procure and Distribute PPE and Other Supplies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent letters to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton seeking documents related to its ongoing investigation of the Trump administration’s efforts to procure and distribute PPE and other supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic. The inquiries were sent around the same time the subcommittee publicly released documents and communications obtained during its ongoing investigation, which provided evidence that: President Trump failed to heed an urgent warning from then-Assistant to the President Peter Navarro about the virus; White House officials pursued an ineffective and ad hoc approach to supply contracts; and the administration relied on outside advisers rather than career professionals to arrange contracts. The letters to the National Archives and Records Administration, HHS, DHS, and FEMA can be found here: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-03-30.Select%20Sub%20to%20Ferriero%20re%20NARA%20Supply%20Chain%20.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-03-30.Select%20Sub%20to%20Becerra%20re%20Supply%20Chain%20.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-03-30.Select%20Sub%20to%20Mayorkas%20Fenton%20re%20DHS%20FEMA%20.pdf

03/30/2021
Request to FCC to Expand Broadband Internet to Rural Communities, Close Digital Divide
Source: Sen. Ron Wyden
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Ron Wyden sent a letter to Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel asking her agency to expand broadband internet access to all rural communities across the U.S. Wyden argued that helping communities recover economically from Covid-19 will require the country to close the digital divide and make broadband internet an essential service.

03/30/2021
Request to Amazon to Modify Policies and Procedures That Could Mislead Customers Seeking Masks and Other PPE
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote a letter to Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, expressing concern that Amazon’s search and sponsorship algorithms may be misleading consumers seeking masks and other PPE during the Covid-19 pandemic. She noted that Amazon’s quality-control methods did not appear to be sufficient to prevent consumers from receiving counterfeit items; in fact, Amazon appeared to be increasing risks for individuals purchasing masks and other protective equipment by promoting products not authorized by the FDA. Warren requested that Amazon modify its policies and procedures to prevent consumers from receiving misleading information about these products.

03/25/2021
Request to HHS, NIH, and NIAID to Use Ownership of Spike Protein Patent to Expand Access to NIH-Moderna Vaccine
Source: Public Citizen
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Advocacy organizations
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

Public Citizen, PrEP4All, and leading experts in health and intellectual property wrote to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, NIH Director Francis Collins, and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci urging the U.S. government to use its ownership of U.S. Patent No. 10,960,070 (known as the “070 patent”), which covers methods for stabilizing Covid-19 spike proteins, to expand production of the NIH-Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. Public Citizen and its partners urged the federal government to insist on terms with Moderna that would expand vaccine access, including empowering the federal government to manufacture the vaccine itself and share the technology with the World Health Organization.

03/25/2021
Request to Labor to Restore Overtime Pay Protections for Workers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management

Sen. Sherrod Brown and Reps. Mark Takano, Bobby Scott, and Alma Adams sent a letter to Labor Secretary Marty Walsh urging the Labor Department to restore overtime pay protections for millions of workers. As the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, the members noted that it would be important to prioritize policies that boost pay and encourage hiring, particularly by extending overtime protections by raising the overtime salary threshold.

03/24/2021
Request to SSA to Provide IRS with Payment Files Needed to Issue EIPs to SSI Beneficiaries
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

The House Ways and Means Committee wrote to Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew Saul expressing concern about SSI beneficiaries still awaiting their economic impact payments. Because SSA had not yet sent the necessary files to IRS, tens of millions of SSI beneficiaries were awaiting their EIPs.

03/24/2021
Request to Treasury to Provide Maximum Flexibility to States When Using Relief Funds in American Rescue Plan
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

35 Democrats wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asking her agency to provide maximum flexibility for the distribution of relief funds in the American Rescue Plan, so that states can target these relief monies to the benefit of their most vulnerable communities.

03/24/2021
Request to HHS for Information on Rates of Covid-19 Vaccination in Nursing Homes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Finance Committee and Senate Aging Committee wrote to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra urging him to provide the public and Congress with information on the rates of Covid-19 vaccinations in America’s nursing homes.

03/23/2021
Request to CDC to Extend Eviction Moratorium Beyond March 31, 2021
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky urging the CDC to extend its eviction moratorium beyond March 31, 2021, to prevent homelessness during the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/22/2021
Request to IRS and SSA to Address Delays in Stimulus Payments to SSI, RRB, and VA Beneficiaries
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The House Ways and Means Committee wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig and SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul expressing concerns about reported delays in sending automatic stimulus payments to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries, along with Railroad Retirement Board and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries. The committee urged the IRS and SSA to quickly issue these payments, and update the committee about the timeline for these payments by March 26, 2021.

03/19/2021
Request to HHS and CMA to Issue Guidance to States Clarifying That Emergency Medicaid Will Provide Coverage for Covid-19 Testing, Treatment, and Vaccinations for Undocumented Immigrants
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Immigration and Border Issues, State and Federal Coordination, Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

50 members of Congress asked HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and acting CMS Administrator Elizabeth Richter to issue guidance to states clarifying that emergency Medicaid will provide coverage for emergency medical conditions, including for Covid-19 testing, treatment, and vaccinations for undocumented immigrants. The members noted that such guidance would help ensure that undocumented individuals without health coverage can receive access to coronavirus-related care.

03/18/2021
Request to DOJ IG to Conduct Review of All Covid-19 Deaths of Incarcerated Individuals in BOP Custody
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

22 Senate Democrats wrote to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz urging his office to conduct a comprehensive review of all coronavirus-related deaths of incarcerated individuals in BOP custody since the start of the pandemic.

03/17/2021
Request to Federal Government Experts LLC for Documents Related to Canceled VA and FEMA Contracts for PPE
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to Robert Jenkins Jr., counsel to Robert Stewart (CEO, Federal Government Experts LLC), regarding a failed $35 million contract to provide N95 masks to the VA during the Trump administration. The subcommittee noted that the contract in question, in addition to a second multimillion-dollar contract to provide masks to FEMA, was canceled after Stewart’s company failed to deliver any masks and after Stewart pleaded guilty to related fraud charges. The subcommittee first sought documents related to the VA contract on July 14, 2020, but the company refused to comply with the request. In renewing its requests, the subcommittee asked for documents and communications related to federal contracts for PPE, medical supplies, or testing supplies.

03/17/2021
Request to OMB and Labor Department for Metrics Used to Assess Employment Inequities for Low-Wage Workers, POC, and Women
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to acting OMB Director Rob Fairweather and acting Labor Secretary Al Stewart urging them to closely track unemployment data for vulnerable groups during the pandemic in order to better inform efforts to rebuild the economy. The subcommittee asked OMB and DOL for information on the metrics being used by the Biden administration to assess inequities in employment for low-wage workers, people of color, and women, and how the administration plans to communicate these metrics to Congress and to the public. The subcommittee also inquired about whether the administration plans to include data on employment disparities in its Budget and Mid-Session Review, and information on strategies being pursued to reduce these disparities.

03/15/2021
Request to White House Coronavirus Task Force Response Coordinator to Develop Plan to Share Surplus Covid-19 Vaccine Doses with Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

The Joint Economic Committee (JEC) sent a letter to White House Coronavirus Task Force Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients urging the Biden administration to develop a plan for sharing surplus Covid-19 vaccine doses equitably with low- and middle-income countries. JEC asked that the plan includes donating the surplus doses to the WHO’s COVAX initiative.

03/15/2021
Request to Biden to Suspend Trade Waivers Allowing Foreign Companies That Do Not Pay U.S. Taxes or Have American Workers to Bid on American Rescue Plan Projects
Type: Report
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

Thirteen Senate Democrats wrote a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to temporarily suspend trade waivers that would allow foreign companies that do not have American workers or pay U.S. taxes to bid on projects funded by the American Rescue Plan.

03/15/2021
Request to Senate Small Business Committee and House Small Business Committee to Support the PPP Extension Act of 2021
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Trade associations
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

More than 90 trade associations and chambers of commerce urged the Senate Small Business Committee, House Small Business Committee, and other congressional leaders to pass the PPP Extension Act of 2021, which would extend the Paycheck Protection Program application period beyond March 31, 2021.

03/12/2021
Request to Treasury and IRS to Ensure Individuals Who Received UI in 2020 Can Use Tax Exclusion Included in American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

A bicameral group of 21 Democrats sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig urging them to ensure that individuals who received unemployment compensation in 2020 are able to use the tax exclusion included in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

03/11/2021
Request to FAA to Extend Mask Enforcement Policy on Commercial Flights
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sent a letter to FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson asking FAA to extend its “zero tolerance” enforcement policy with respect to passengers who refuse to wear masks on commercial flights. The policy was adopted in January 2021, and is slated to end on March 30, 2021.

03/10/2021
Request to Texas Governor to Expand Covid-19 Vaccine Eligibility to Farmworkers, Meatpackers, and Agricultural Workers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Vaccines and Treatments

Seven members of the Texas congressional delegation sent a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott urging him to expand Covid-19 vaccine eligibility to farmworkers, meatpackers, and other agricultural workers. Texas is one of the only states to have excluded such workers from Tier 1B of its vaccine rollout.

03/09/2021
Request to White House, National Archives and Records Administration, DHS, DOD, HHS, OMB, and State for Information Related to Covid-19 Federal Preparedness and Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The Senate Homeland Security Committee sent letters to the White House, National Archives and Records Administration, DHS, DOD, HHS, OMB, and State Department seeking documents, communications, and interviews related to the federal government’s Covid-19 preparedness and response. It is the first bipartisan effort by the committee’s leaders to examine the federal government’s planning, coordination, and execution of prevention and response efforts to Covid-19.

03/08/2021
Request to Federal Maritime Commission to Ensure Ocean Carriers Abide by U.S. Law and Do Not Engage in Unfair Shipping Practices Due to Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sent a letter to Michael Khouri, chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, asking him to ensure that ocean carriers are abiding by U.S. law and are not engaging in unjust or unreasonable shipping practices resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee noted that the pandemic upended the shipping industry, disrupted links in the maritime supply chain, and created unprecedented demand for imported products due to the consumer shift towards mass home delivery. As a result, many ocean carriers have prioritized higher value foreign goods over U.S. agricultural products, leaving limited shipping capacity for U.S. farm exports.

03/08/2021
Request to USDA to Help Biofuels Producers Hurt by Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

A bipartisan group of ten senators wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking USDA to assist biofuels producers hurt by the Covid-19 pandemic.

03/08/2021
Request to HHS to Rescind Title X Policies Curtailing Access to Family Planning and Sexual Health Services
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

A bicameral group of Democrats sent a letter to Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran urging HHS to rescind the Trump administration’s Title X Family Planning Program policies that severely curtailed access to family planning and sexual health services. The members argued that the Covid-19 pandemic necessitates an immediate rescission of the rule, arguing that the rule compounds the already disproportionate health impacts of the pandemic on communities of color and low-income communities. The members pointed out that a 2020 study found that the pandemic has led many women of color and low-income women to seek delaying or preventing pregnancies, but the rule has made it more difficult for these women to access family planning services and sexual health care, including contraception.

03/04/2021
Request to Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and J&J for Information on Plans to Use CARES Act Tax Provision to Increase Tax Deductions for Litigation Costs Related to Opioid Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Oversight Committee sent letters to the CEOs of Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson & Johnson requesting information about these companies’ plans to use a CARES Act tax provision to increase tax deductions for litigation costs related to these companies’ role in the opioid crisis. The letters to Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson & Johnson can be found here: https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2021-03-04.CBM%20Gomez%20DeSaulnier%20to%20Kaufman-Cardinal%20Health%20re%20CARES%20Act.pdf; https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2021-03-04.CBM%20Gomez%20DeSaulnier%20to%20Tyler-%20McKesson%20re%20CARES%20Act.pdf; https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2021-03-04.CBM%20Gomez%20DeSaulnier%20to%20Collis-%20AmerisourceBergen%20re%20CARES%20Act.pdf; https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2021-03-04.CBM%20Gomez%20DeSaulnier%20to%20Gorsky-%20Johnson%20%20Johnson%20re%20CARES%20Act.pdf

03/03/2021
Request to Treasury and SBA for Documents Pertaining to Investigation into PPP
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Acting SBA Administrator Tami Perriello, renewing its request for documents relevant to its investigation into the Paycheck Protection Program, which found that the Trump administration issued more than $4 billion in loans that may have been subject to fraud and didn’t prioritize underserved communities in loan disbursements.

03/03/2021
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Protections for Americans’ Access to Utilities During Pandemic in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

14 Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urging him to include safeguards in the upcoming Covid-19 relief package to protect Americans losing access to utilities, including power, heat, water, and internet services, during the pandemic. The letter came after extreme cold weather in Texas and other parts of the U.S. left Americans without heat and water.

03/02/2021
Request to Biden to Include Recurring Direct Payments and Automatic UI in Long-Term Economic Plan
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

11 Senate Democrats wrote to President Joe Biden urging him to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions, tied to economic conditions, in his Build Back Better long-term economic plan.

03/02/2021
Request to EPA and NIH to Address Environmental Injustices That Disproportionately Impact Minority Communities During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, and Cory Booker wrote to Acting EPA Administrator Jane Nishida and NIH Director Francis Collins asking them to address environmental injustices that have disproportionately impacted minority communities and have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators noted that Black Americans are not only more likely to be exposed to higher levels of industrial chemicals, air pollution, and other toxins, but also more likely to work in “essential” jobs during the pandemic.

03/02/2021
Request to White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator to Use Live-Event Venues as Covid-19 Vaccination Sites
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

14 senators wrote to White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients encouraging the Biden administration to use live-event venues as Covid-19 vaccination sites.

03/01/2021
Request to White House, CDC, and Labor Department to Update Respiratory Guidance to Address Covid-19 Aerosol Transmission
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

The House Education and Labor Committee, House Appropriations Committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee, and House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis asked Covid-19 Pandemic Response Coordinator Jeff Zients, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, and Acting Labor Secretary Al Stewart to update ventilation and respiratory protection guidance and standards to address aerosol transmission of Covid-19.

03/01/2021
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Targeted Support for Expanding PMHCA Program in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Eight Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asking them to include targeted support for the behavioral health needs of children, through the expansion of the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access program, in the next Covid-19 relief package. The senators asked for a $16 million annual allocation.

03/01/2021
Request to One Medical for Documents and Information About Its Covid-19 Vaccine Practices
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to One Medical CEO and President Amir Rubin seeking information about One Medical’s Covid-19 vaccination practices and urging him to comply with state and local vaccination prioritization guidelines. The letter came after reports that One Medical allowed ineligible patients to jump the vaccine line.

03/01/2021
Request to CFPB for Information on Regulatory History with Tenant Screening Technology Companies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Six Senate Democrats wrote to Acting CFPB Director Dave Uejio requesting information about CFPB’s oversight authority and regulatory history with regard to tenant screening technology companies. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a significant rise in economic and housing insecurity, including evictions, and such evictions often appear on reports generated by tenant screening companies. The senators noted that landlords rely on technologies generated by tenant screening companies, even though these technologies are also known to collect faulty data. The senators expressed concern that pandemic-induced evictions, many of which may violate eviction bans, could “blacklist” millions from future housing opportunities.

03/01/2021
Request to NYC Mayor to Add Covid-19 Vaccination Sites in Senior Residences
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio asking him to consider a request from the Hellenic-American Neighborhood Action Committee to add Covid-19 vaccination sites in their senior residences: One Flushing, HANAC Corona Senior Residence, HANAC PCA Senior Residence, George T. Douris Tower, and Archbishop Iakovos Senior Residence.

02/26/2021
Request to Census to Continue Household Pulse Survey to Assess Households’ Experiences Paying for Utilities, Fuel During Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Five Senate Democrats wrote to Acting Census Bureau Director Ron Jarmin asking the bureau to continue its Household Pulse Survey, “Measuring Household Experiences During the Coronavirus Pandemic,” and ask about American households’ experiences paying utility and energy bills during the pandemic.

02/26/2021
Request to DOT, HHS, and DHS to Convene Joint Task Force to Develop National Strategies for Safe Air Travel During and After Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Ed Markey, Richard Blumenthal, and Roger Wicker wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran, and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking their agencies to convene a joint task force advised by aviation, security, and public health experts to develop national strategies for safe air travel during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators urged DOT, HHS, and DHS to create a joint task force modeled after the Ensuring Health Safety in the Skies Act of 2021.

02/26/2021
Request to Federal Reserve, OCC, and FDIC to End Temporary Reduction of Bank’s Capital Requirements
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Blake Paulson, and FDIC Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams asking them not to extend capital exemptions for the nation’s largest banks and holding companies. The request to end the temporary reduction in banks’ capital requirements came as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to destabilize the economy; Warren and Brown argued that banks need to maintain a cushion against potential losses.

02/25/2021
Request to CMS to Implement Administrative Changes to Better Address Covid-19 in Nursing Homes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Ways and Means Committee wrote to Acting CMS Administrator Elizabeth Richter asking CMS to reinstate patient protections waived by the Trump administration in nursing home facilities, and implement administrative changes to improve patient safety, oversight, and enforcement mechanisms. Specifically, the committee asked CMS to: ensure that all standard facility quality and safety surveys are reinstated and enforced; reinstate staffing and training requirements to ensure patient safety; release clear guidance on in-person and virtual visits, updated regularly to comply with Covid-19 data; address reporting gaps in Covid-19 nursing home data; publicly report Covid-19 demographic data in nursing homes; and reinstate a requirement that civil money penalties be imposed against nursing homes for all deficiencies on a per-day basis, among other changes.

02/25/2021
Request to DHS and ICE for Information on Allegations That ICE Detainees Were Threatened with Covid-19 Exposure
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism

Seven Senate Democrats wrote to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and ICE Acting Director Tae Johnson expressing concern about reports that staff at two ICE facilities threatened to expose asylum-seekers to Covid-19 if they did not submit to deportation. The senators asked what actions ICE and DHS are taking to investigate these allegations, and what actions will be taken to ensure similar incidents do not occur in the future.

02/25/2021
Request to USPS Chicago Region to Address Mail Delivery Delays
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues

Sen. Dick Durbin wrote to Krista Finazzo, vice president of area retail and delivery operations for the USPS Chicago Region, asking her to address service delays in the region. Durbin noted that the region has experienced disruptions in USPS service due to the Covid-19 pandemic, staff shortages, and snow storms, but stressed that more needed to be done to ensure the timely delivery of medicine and other essential mail during the pandemic.

02/24/2021
Request to USDA to Expand Eligibility of Covid-19 Relief Programs to Include Custom Cattle Feeders
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Iowa’s congressional delegation wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking him to expand the eligibility of USDA’s Covid-19 relief programs to include custom cattle feeders, a sector of Iowa’s agricultural economy operated primarily by family farmers.

02/24/2021
Request to GAO to Review FAA’s Implementation of NextGen, How Covid-19 Has Impacted FAA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee wrote to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro asking the Government Accountability Office to review FAA’s implementation of NextGen, the agency’s air traffic control system modernization program. The committee also asked the GAO to review how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the agency’s efforts.

02/21/2021
Request to DOJ to Determine Whether Florida Governor’s Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution Decisions Violate Federal Law
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, State Issues, Vaccines and Treatments

Rep. Charlie Crist wrote to Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson expressing concern about reports that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is establishing Covid-19 vaccination distribution sites in locations benefiting political allies and donors, over the needs of higher-risk communities and existing county waitlists. Crist asked the DOJ to determine if DeSantis’ vaccine distribution decisions violate federal law and merit a full federal investigation.

02/19/2021
Request to FEMA to Choose Massachusetts for Vaccination Center Pilot Partnerships Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation wrote to Acting FEMA Administrator Robert Fenton Jr. expressing support for the commonwealth’s request to participate in the FEMA Vaccination Center Pilot Partnerships Program. The delegation stated that, if chosen, Massachusetts would use this program to support Covid-19 vaccination efforts in underserved communities.

02/18/2021
Request to IRS to Extend Tax Filing Deadline Due to Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Ways and Means Committee wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig asking the IRS to extend the tax return filing season beyond April 15, 2021, due to the continued challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

02/18/2021
Request to IRS for Information About Alternatives to In-Person Tax Preparation Services for Low-Income and Elderly Populations
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Ways and Means Committee wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig seeking information about alternatives to in-person tax preparation services, if any, from IRS partners providing free tax preparation services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs. The committee noted that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to pose unprecedented health and economic challenges for low-income Americans and historically underserved communities, and that VITA and TCE play an important role in offering free tax assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals, as well as the elderly.

02/18/2021
Request to Biden to Remove EU Section 301 Tariffs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sen. Susan Collins and six other senators wrote to President Joe Biden requesting the removal of the Section 301 tariffs placed on food, wine, and spirits from the European Union in October 2019 in retaliation to the WTO Large Civil Aircraft Dispute. The senators argued that these tariffs have harmed restaurants, retailers, grocers, importers, and distributors, many of which are small, locally owned businesses, and have magnified the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

02/18/2021
Request to Facebook and Twitter to Combat Harassment and Covid-19 Vaccine Disinformation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Richard Blumenthal asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to stop social media harassment and Covid-19 vaccine disinformation campaigns by groups targeting expectant mothers and women who have experienced miscarriages. Recent reporting revealed that mothers who posted about receiving the Covid-19 vaccine on social media have experienced abuse and harassment from strangers and groups spreading conspiracy theories about the Covid-19 vaccine’s safety. The letters to Facebook and Twitter can be found here: https://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2021.02.18%20-%20Facebook%20-%20Antivax%20and%20Moms.pdf; https://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2021.02.18%20-%20Twitter%20Antivax%20and%20Moms.pdf

02/18/2021
Request to OPM and CDC to Vaccinate Federal Employees Through Separate, Federalized Vaccine Allocation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State Issues, Vaccines and Treatments

Reps. Don Beyer, Gerald Connolly, Jennifer Wexton, Anthony Brown, Jamie Raskin, David Trone, and Eleanor Holmes Norton wrote to Acting OPM Director Kathleen McGettigan and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky requesting that the federal government federalize its response to vaccinating its employees. Representing Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., the members argued that the federal government should not burden their states’ limited vaccine supplies, and that they should vaccinate their employees through a separate federalized, vaccine allocation instead.

02/18/2021
Request to Biden to Consider Needs of State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Governments and SUD Treatment Providers in Formulating FY 2022 Budget
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

19 Senate Democrats wrote to President Joe Biden asking him to consider the needs of state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments and opioid and substance use disorder treatment providers as he develops a comprehensive public health strategy and transmits his FY 2022 budget to Congress. The senators noted that the Covd-19 pandemic dramatically altered the opioid and SUD prevention and treatment landscape in the U.S., and that overdoses and deaths spiked over the past year.

02/18/2021
Request to Biden to Improve Covid-19 Relief Data Collection and Reporting
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Project on Government Oversight
Relief Funds and Loans

The Project on Government Oversight wrote to President Joe Biden urging his administration to improve the collection and reporting of Covid-19 relief data.

02/17/2021
Request to Labor Department to Revise Guidance That Excludes Certain Employees From PUA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Five Senate Democrats wrote to Acting Labor Secretary Al Stewart requesting that he review and consider revising guidance issued on Jan. 8, 2021, specifying that workers “who [are] working reduced hours while [their] place of employment continues to operate” are not eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The senators argued that workers who have their hours reduced or are temporarily laid off when their employer reduces business operations due to Covid-19 are covered under PUA.

02/17/2021
Request to Biden to Prioritize Funding for CDBG Program in FY 2022 Budget Proposal
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

16 Senate Democrats wrote to President Joe Biden expressing support for the Community Development Block Grant program. The senators noted that Congress provided additional CDBG funds as part of the CARES Act, and asked Biden to prioritize funding for the program in his FY 2022 budget proposal.

02/17/2021
Request to Senate Judiciary Committee to Investigate New York Governor’s Cover-up of Covid-19 Death Toll in New York Nursing Homes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Political Opportunism, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Nine Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Chairman Dick Durbin to open an investigation about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his staff’s deliberate cover-up of New York’s Covid-19 death toll in the state’s nursing homes.

02/17/2021
Request to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator to Facilitate Swift Vaccination of Farm and Food Chain Workers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

10 Senate Democrats wrote to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients urging him to work with states, territories, Indian Tribes, and other jurisdictions to facilitate and ensure the swift vaccination of farm and food chain workers.

02/17/2021
Request to USPS for Information Regarding Ongoing Mail Delays
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

34 Senate Democrats wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy seeking information about mail delays which have compromised service for veterans, seniors, and others who depend on mail for medications and critical needs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

02/16/2021
Request to HHS to Prioritize Illinois Community Health Centers in Next Round of Covid-19 Vaccine Allotments
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Vaccines and Treatments

Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth wrote to HHS Acting Secretary Norris Cochran urging HHS to prioritize Illinois’ community health centers in the next round of Covid-19 vaccine allotments.

02/16/2021
Request to DPC to Support Communities Dealing with Severe Winter Weather
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth wrote to Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice asking the White House to provide an update on the ongoing severe weather situation impacting large swaths of the United States, and to work with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other relevant agencies to support communities and public institutions. Durbin and Duckworth also asked the federal government to consider providing supplemental funding to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help low-income households with energy bills as they struggle through this weather crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.

02/12/2021
Request to Massachusetts Governor to Develop and Implement Centralized Covid-19 Vaccine Pre-Registration System
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Vaccines and Treatments

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation wrote to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker asking him to develop and implement a centralized, accessible system for all Massachusetts residents to pre-register for Covid-19 vaccinations, confirm eligibility details, and receive notifications when an appointment becomes available at a location convenient to them.

02/12/2021
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Funding for HBCUs in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

17 Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asking them to provide “as much funding as possible” to HBCUs, and to ensure these institutions’ equitable access to relief funds, as Congress crafts the next Covid-19 relief package. The senators further requested that HBCUs receive at least the same proportion of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund as they received in last year’s Covid-19 relief packages.

02/11/2021
Request to RER Solutions, Rocket Loans, and Rapid Finance for Information on Fraud and Mismanagement of EIDL Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent letters to RER Solutions, Rocket Loans, and Rapid Finance as part of its ongoing investigation of a $750 million contract the Trump administration awarded to manage the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. The letters to RER Solutions, Rocket Loans, and Rapid Finance can be found here: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-02-11.Clyburn%20and%20NV%20to%20RER%20Solutions%20re%20EIDL%20%20%281%29.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-02-11.Clyburn%20and%20NV%20to%20Rocket%20Loans%20re%20EIDL%20.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-02-11.Clyburn%20and%20NV%20to%20Rapid%20Finance%20re%20EIDL%20.pdf

02/11/2021
Request to Rhode Island Pandemic Recovery Office to Return Improperly Used Coronavirus Relief Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Inspector General - Department of the Treasury

The Treasury Inspector General sent a letter to Jeremy Licht, Director of the Rhode Island Pandemic Recovery Office, advising his office that his use of Coronavirus Relief Fund proceeds to cover revenue shortfalls is not allowed. Treasury OIG notified Licht that their office would seek a recoupment of those relief funds from the state of Rhode Island in accordance with the CARES Act.

02/10/2021
Request to Covid-19 Response Coordinator for Updates on Vaccination Efforts
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to Covid-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients requesting an update on nationwide Covid-19 vaccination efforts.

02/10/2021
Request to Congressional Leadership to Include Provisions of Assisted Living Facility Coronavirus Reporting Act in Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Katie Porter, wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging them to prioritize improving data reporting requirements for assisted living facilities, residential behavioral health facilities, and other congregate care settings in future Covid-19 relief packages. Specifically, the members asked congressional leaders to include provisions of the Assisted Living Facility Coronavirus Reporting Act in upcoming legislative packages.

02/10/2021
Request to Senate Leadership to Provide Dedicated Funding for Summer Enrichment Opportunities for Low-Income Children in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

13 Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell requesting that they provide dedicated funding in the next Covid-19 relief package for summer enrichment opportunities for low-income children.

02/10/2021
Request to SEC to Review and Reform Policies Regarding 10b5-1 Plans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vaccines and Treatments

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, and Chris Van Hollen wrote to Acting SEC Chair Allison Herrin Lee urging her to review and reform the SEC’s policies regarding 10b5-1 plans, which grant corporate executives a “safe harbor” to trade their company’s stock. The senators noted that executives — especially those in the health care industry — are abusing these plans to obtain huge windfalls. For example, the senators pointed out that on the same day Pfizer announced that its Covid-19 vaccine was effective in clinical trials, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla sold more than 60 percent of his personal shares in the company, valued at about $5.6 million. The shares were sold under Bourla’s 10b5-1 plan, which allows corporate executives to set an advance plan for purchase and sale of their corporate stock.

02/09/2021
Request to FDA to Lift In-Person Dispensing Requirement for Mifepristone
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

The House Oversight and Reform Committee asked Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock to lift the medically unnecessary in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone, a prescription medication used to end early pregnancies. The committee argued that this requirement needlessly placed patients and providers in harm’s way during a pandemic.

02/09/2021
Request to USPS for Briefing About High Numbers of Covid-19 Infections and Deaths Suffered by Postal Workers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Oversight and Reform Committee wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy requesting a briefing about the high numbers of Covid-19 infections and deaths among postal workers during the pandemic. The committee also requested that USPS proactively provide greater transparency and effective mitigation of the health risks faced by the USPS workforce.

02/09/2021
Request to House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate HELP Committee to Address Inequitable Access to Vaccines and Testing for Small and Rural States
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Testing, Vaccines and Treatments

13 Senate Democrats representing small and rural states wrote to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate HELP Committee to address inequitable access to Covid-19 vaccines and testing for small and rural states. The senators noted that their states faced unique challenges in providing accessible testing and distributing vaccines. They pointed out that the Covid-19 relief package signed into law in December gave small and rural states significantly less funding for testing and vaccination than expected due to a population-based formula that did not take into account the challenges faced by small and rural states.

02/09/2021
Request to Congressional Leadership to Include Portions of Maternal Health Pandemic Response Act in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Tina Smith, and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Rep. Lauren Underwood urged Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to include provisions that improve research and data collection, safeguard the health of pregnant and postpartum individuals, and dedicate resources to combat the maternal mortality and morbidity crisis during the pandemic, in the next Covid-19 relief package. Specifically, the members asked congressional leaders to include portions of the Maternal Health Pandemic Response Act in the next relief package.

02/09/2021
Request to Congressional Leadership to Include Portions of Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Defense and Enhancement Act in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vaccines and Treatments

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging them to include provisions in the next Covid-19 relief package that would boost the nation’s capacity to domestically manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients and drugs that are critical to national security and public health. Specifically, the senators asked the leaders to include portions of the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Defense and Enhancement Act in the next relief package.

02/08/2021
Request to White House Chief of Staff and HHS for Assistance in Obtaining Information Required to Investigate Trump Administration’s Covid-19 Political Interference
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Testing

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain and Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran seeking assistance in obtaining information required to complete its investigation into the Trump administration’s political interference in Covid-19 guidance, testing, and treatments. The letters were sent after the subcommittee released newly obtained documents from officials at the Trump White House, HHS, and CDC illustrating political interference in Covid-19 messaging and federal response. The letters to Klain and Cochran can be found here: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-02-08.Clyburn%20to%20Klain%20re%20WH%20Failures%20on%20Pandemic%20.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-02-08.Clyburn%20to%20Cochran%20re%20WH%20Failures%20on%20Pandemic%20.pdf

02/08/2021
Request to FAA and TSA to Enforce Mask Mandate for Airline Passengers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Transportation Committee and House Homeland Security Committee wrote to FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson and Acting TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye asking FAA and TSA to enforce a federal mask mandate for airline passengers to help slow the spread of Covid-19 and ensure passenger and frontline aviation and transportation security worker safety.

02/05/2021
Request to Amazon to Support Workers’ Rights to Unionize and to Provide Them Adequate Compensation and Benefits
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

13 Senate Democrats wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy expressing their support for Amazon workers seeking to organize a union with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The senators urged Amazon to provide their workers the compensation, benefits, and respect they deserve, given that they put in long hours and risked their own health during the Covid-19 pandemic to meet increased demand for Amazon’s services.

02/05/2021
Request to Biden to Include Minority-Owned Small Businesses in Any Effort to Leverage DPA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management

The House Small Business Committee wrote to President Joe Biden asking him to include small businesses, specifically minority-owned small businesses, in any effort to leverage the Defense Production Act to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

02/05/2021
Request to Ohio Congressional Delegation for Assistance to Ohio Communities to Address Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Ohio Mayors Alliance
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

A bipartisan group of Ohio mayors wrote to Ohio’s congressional delegation requesting direct, flexible assistance to Ohio communities to address the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

02/04/2021
Request to FCC to Use E-Rate Program to Bridge ‘Homework Gap’ During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Vulnerable Populations

36 Senate Democrats wrote to Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel requesting that the FCC provide home internet connectivity and devices to students unable to participate in online learning during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, the senators asked the FCC to use the E-Rate program to start bridging the “homework gap” without delay.

02/04/2021
Request to NIDA for Updates About Efforts to Develop Treatments to Address Methamphetamine Use Disorder
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

13 senators wrote to National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow supporting efforts to research and develop treatment options for individuals struggling with addiction to methamphetamine and other stimulants. Overdoses due to opioids, meth, and polysubstance use increased during the Covid-19 pandemic due to social isolation and limited in-person recovery options. The senators asked NIDA to keep them updated about efforts to develop treatments to address methamphetamine use disorder. They also asked for information about the amount of funding being dedicated to research on potential medications, the progress of clinical trials, and steps being taken to ensure diversity in clinical trials.

02/04/2021
Request to Congressional Leadership to Pass Coronavirus Containment Corps Act
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Andy Levin wrote to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to expand the country’s public health workforce as they begin crafting relief legislation to execute President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Warren and Levin argued that the best way to expand the public health workforce during the pandemic is through their Coronavirus Containment Corps Act, reintroduced this week, which would train a culturally competent and diverse public health workforce to counter mistrust among historically marginalized communities.

02/03/2021
Request to Treasury to Ensure Covid-19 Direct Assistance Reaches Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

28 Senate Democrats wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urging the Treasury to ensure that Covid-19 relief reaches individuals experiencing homelessness.

02/02/2021
Request to Congressional Leadership to Repeal Tax Cuts for the Wealthy in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

A bicameral group of Democrats wrote to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them to repeal “unwarranted” tax cuts for the wealthy in the next Covid-19 relief package. The tax breaks, given to a small number of extremely wealthy tax payers, were placed in a relief package passed in 2020.

02/02/2021
Request to Facebook, Twitter, and Google to Stop the Spread of Misleading Information About Covid-19 Vaccines on Platforms
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vaccines and Treatments

As part of its ongoing investigation into tech companies’ handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccine misinformation, the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to Facebook, Twitter, and Google asking them to stop the spread of false or misleading information about Covid-19 vaccines on their platforms. The letters to Facebook, Twitter, and Google can be found here: https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Facebook%20Letter%20re%20COVID%20Vaccine%20Misinformation.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Twitter%20Letter%20re%20COVID%20Vaccine%20Misinformation.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Google%20Letter%20re%20COVID%20Vaccine%20Misinformation.pdf

02/02/2021
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Repeal Tax Breaks for Wealthy in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

A bicameral group of 120 Democrats wrote to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer asking them to repeal tax breaks for the wealthy in the next Covid-19 relief package.

02/01/2021
Requests to OSHA, Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods, and JBS USA for Information Related to Covid-19 Outbreaks at Meatpacking Plants
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to OSHA, Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods, and JBS USA seeking information and documents related to Covid-19 outbreaks at meatpacking plants, which have resulted in the deaths of more than 250 employees. The letters came as reports indicated that OSHA, under the Trump administration, failed to enforce worker safety laws at meatpacking plants across the country, resulting in preventable Covid-19 infections and deaths. The letter to OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary James Frederick can be found here: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-02-01.Clyburn%20to%20OSHA%20re%20Meatpacking%20Investigation_.pdf.
Letters to Tyson, Smithfield, and JBS can be found here: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-02-01.Clyburn%20to%20Tyson%20re%20Meatpacking%20Investigation%20.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-02-01.Clyburn%20to%20Smithfield%20re%20Meatpacking%20Investigation%20.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-02-01.Clyburn%20to%20JBS%20re%20Meatpacking%20Investigation%20.pdf

02/01/2021
Request to Biden to Distribute Higher-Quality, Medical-Grade Masks Through USPS
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Reps. Adam Schiff and Ro Khanna, and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Brian Schatz, wrote to President Joe Biden asking him to prioritize educating Americans about higher-quality masks and explore options to make them readily and freely available. The members asked Biden to direct the CDC and FDA to provide the public with information about how to discern which masks are most effective and where they can get them. The members also asked Biden to distribute the highest-quality medical-grade masks available through USPS and make them accessible for safe pick-up. Lastly, the members asked Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase the supply of higher quality masks.

01/28/2021
Request to HHS to Monitor and Address Demographic Disparities in Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Strategy
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, wrote to HHS Acting Secretary Norris Cochran asking HHS and its subagencies to monitor and address racial and other demographic disparities in the federal government’s Covid-19 vaccination deployment strategy, as it is critical for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and immigrant communities to have access to the vaccine.

01/28/2021
Letter to Biden About HHS’s Failures to Follow Safety Protocols When Evacuating Americans from Wuhan
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: U.S. Office of Special Counsel
Communications Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel wrote to President Biden discussing reports transmitted to OSC by HHS’s Office of General Counsel in response to wrongdoing at the Administration for Children and Families. A whistleblower disclosed improprieties related to the deployment of ACF personnel to assist Americans repatriated from Wuhan, China at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic on Jan. 29, 2020. OSC found that when evacuees arrived at a California military base from Wuhan, they were met by ACF officials who were not wearing PPE and who lacked infection-control training, thereby increasing the risk of infection transmission to deployed personnel and to the American public.

01/28/2021
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Additional Relief for States, Localities, and Tribal Governments in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

13 Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asking them to include additional relief for states, localities, and tribal governments in the next Covid-19 relief package.

01/27/2021
HHS Misappropriated Millions in BARDA Funds Intended to Fund Vaccine Research and Emergency Preparedness for Public Health Threats
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: U.S. Office of Special Counsel
Political Opportunism, Vaccines and Treatments

The Office of Special Counsel wrote to President Biden alerting him and Congress that, over the last decade, HHS misappropriated millions of dollars Congress intended to fund vaccine research and emergency preparedness for public health threats like Ebola, Zika, and Covid-19. A whistleblower alerted OSC to the misuse of funds appropriated to BARDA; OSC referred the allegations for investigation to HHS OIG, whose investigation substantiated many of the allegations. The OIG reported that the practice of using BARDA funds for non-BARDA purposes was so common, it was called the “Bank of BARDA” within the agency.

01/27/2021
Request to Genesis Healthcare for Explanation About CARES Act Funds Usage After More Than 2,800 Residents Died of Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to Genesis Healthcare Chairman and CEO Robert Fish expressing concern about the decision by Genesis and its board to approve and pay out exorbitant bonuses to its top executives after more than 2,800 residents in its facilities died of Covid-19. Warren requested an explanation for this decision amidst a public health emergency and economic crisis. Warren asked why Genesis, which claimed to be on the brink of bankruptcy, accepted $300 million in CARES Act aid and then gave its top executive at the time a multimillion dollar bonus.

01/26/2021
Request to Safeguard Medical and AutoMedx Inc. for Documents Regarding Trump Admin’s Purchase of SAVe II and SAVe II+ Ventilators
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote to Safeguard Medical and AutoMedx Inc. seeking documents regarding the purchase of SAVe II and SAVe II+ ventilators, following reports that the Trump administration spent $70 million in taxpayer money to purchase these ventilators. Shortly after the administration signed contracts with these companies, HHS concluded that the existing SAVe II ventilator model could not treat Covid-19 patients. The letters can be found here: https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2021-01-26.RK%20to%20Johnson-%20Combat%20Medical%20Systems%20re%20Federal%20Gov.%20Contracts.pdf; https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2021-01-26.RK%20to%20Evans%20AutoMedx%20re%20Federal%20Gov.%20Contracts.pdf

01/26/2021
Request to Biden and HHS to Grant DACA Recipients Access to ACA Health Benefits
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Rep. Joaquin Castro and 93 members of the House of Representatives wrote to President Joe Biden and Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran requesting that HHS, in response to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, grant DACA recipients access to health benefits under the Affordable Care Act. The members noted that access to Covid-19 testing and treatment for DACA recipients is critical as 202,500 DACA recipients are employed as essential workers.

01/26/2021
Request to HHS to Prevent Implementation of Trump Administration Rule Allowing Taxpayer-Funded Discrimination Based on Sex, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Finance Committee wrote to Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran requesting that HHS prevent the implementation of a harmful rule, RIN 0991-AC16, finalized by the Trump administration and set to go into effect on Feb. 11, 2021. The rule would remove Obama-era nondiscrimination protections from HHS-funded grant awards, and would allow sweeping taxpayer-funded discrimination based on sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. The committee also asked HHS to revisit comments provided during an earlier comment period for the new rule and requested that the agency open a new comment period so stakeholders could contribute comments in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which laid bare the need for HHS to protect the health of all vulnerable populations.

01/25/2021
Request to Six E-Commerce Companies to Reduce Plastic Usage in Packaging to Protect Environment
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Six Senate Democrats wrote to Amazon, Walmart, Apple, Home Depot, Target, Wayfair, Best Buy, and Costco asking them to reduce plastic usage in their packaging to protect the environment. The senators noted that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers have turned to online shopping, and expressed concern that this uptick in plastic packaging is contributing to the world’s growing plastic pollution problem.

01/25/2021
Request to FDA to Review Accuracy of Pulse Oximeters Across Racially Diverse Patients and Consumers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden wrote to Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock requesting that the FDA quickly conduct a review of the accuracy of pulse oximeters across racially diverse patients and consumers. The use of pulse oximeters to monitor blood oxygen levels has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, but a recent study suggested that devices measuring blood oxygen levels are less accurate in Black patients.

01/25/2021
Request to Biden to Create Federal Task Force to Help States Combat Organized Criminal Unemployment Benefits Fraud
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla wrote to President Joe Biden urging him to create a federal task force to help states combat organized criminal unemployment benefits fraud.

01/22/2021
Request to Treasury to Support IMF Assistance for Developing Nations During Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

13 members of Congress wrote to Treasury Secretary-Designate Janet Yellen asking the Treasury to support IMF assistance for developing nations during the Covid-19 pandemic. The members urged Yellen to support the release of IMF Special Drawing Rights to help developing economies provide vaccines and manage the economic hardships caused by the pandemic. The members urged the Biden administration to support the “Support for Global Financial Institution Pandemic Response Act” and to partner with Congress to enact this proposal into law.

01/19/2021
Request to IRS to Review Turning Point USA’s Nonprofit Status After Organization Hosted ‘Superspreader’ Events
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig asking the IRS to review Turning Point USA’s nonprofit, tax-exempt status after the organization held a series of Covid-19 “superspreader” events. Whitehouse noted that an organization is ineligible for tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) if the purpose of the organization is contrary to public policy or is illegal and argued that Turning Point USA’s decision to host potential “superspreader” events was in open violation of local Covid-19 guidelines and clearly contrary to the public good.

01/19/2021
Request to President-Elect Biden to Fully Use DPA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, Testing

26 Senate Democrats wrote to President-Elect Joe Biden urging him to fully use the Defense Production Act and all other federal acquisition authorities at his disposal to increase the production and stockpiling of critical medical, testing, and PPE supplies.

01/19/2021
Request to FHFA for Clarification of Policy Regarding Loan Sales by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Banking Committee wrote to FHFA Director Mark Calabria seeking clarification of FHFA’s policy regarding loan sales by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the Covid-19 pandemic.

01/15/2021
Request to VA to Offer Military Borrowers the Same Options Offered by Other Federal Agencies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The Senate Banking Committee wrote to Jeffrey Martin, assistant director of the VA Office of Regulatory Policy and Management, expressing concern about the VA’s proposed Covid-19 Veterans Assistance Partial Claim Payment program. The committee stated that the program would raise monthly costs for military borrowers and threaten their ability to stay in their homes. The committee asked that like other federal agencies, the VA ensure that each military borrower in forbearance has access to the cost-free loan deferral or modification option that meets their financial needs.

01/15/2021
Request to President-Elect Biden to Consider Reforms to Prevent Politicization of Future Decennial Censuses
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

Sen. Brian Schatz asked President-elect Joe Biden to consider implementing reforms to prevent the politicization of future decennial censuses. From the delayed nomination of a qualified Census Bureau director, to proposals to include a citizenship question, to efforts to end the 2020 census prematurely, Schatz pointed to examples of the Trump administration’s interference with the Census Bureau’s work.

01/14/2021
Request to HHS for Clarification About Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution Plans and Available Supply for Oregon
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, State Issues, Vaccines and Treatments

Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar seeking clarification on the availability of Covid-19 vaccines for Oregon. Based on Azar’s Jan. 12, 2021, announcement that the federal government planned to accelerate vaccine distribution to states by releasing the “entire supply” in its reserves, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown planned to make those aged 65 and older eligible for vaccination. However, on Jan. 14, Gen. Gustave Perna informed her that there was no reserve of vaccine doses and that Oregon was already receiving its full allocation. Allen asked Azar to reconcile his Jan. 12 statement with the information provided by Operation Warp Speed on Jan. 14.

01/14/2021
Request to President-Elect Biden to Ensure Immigration Reform Is Passed, Address Covid-19 Health Disparities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus wrote to President-elect Joe Biden expressing their commitment to working with him to build a fair and inclusive immigration system. The CHC noted that Covid-19 had hit immigrant and mixed-status families particular hard. Health disparities are tied to immigration status; Latinos are more likely to contract the virus and die from Covid-19 and less likely to have access to health care than non-Hispanic whites, and immigrants continued to dominate “essential jobs” during the pandemic.

01/14/2021
Request to OWS to Bolster Covid-19 Vaccine Supply by Using Full Authorities Provided Under DPA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Katie Porter wrote to Operation Warp Speed Chief Adviser Moncef Slaoui and OWS COO Gen. Gustave Perna urging the Trump administration to use the Defense Production Act to bolster the nation’s Covid-19 vaccine supply.

01/14/2021
Request to President-Elect Biden to Waive All Cost-Share Requirements for Covid-19 and Major Disaster Emergency Declarations
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, House Homeland Security Committee, and the House Appropriations Committee, along with Reps. Dina Titus, Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Mike Thompson asked President-elect Joe Biden to waive all cost-share requirements for the Covid-19 emergency declarations declared on March 13, 2020, and any subsequent major disaster declarations for all states, tribes, territories, and the District of Columbia for the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

01/14/2021
Request to EPA Not to Issue Pending SREs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism

Seven Republican Senators wrote a to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging the EPA to avoid making any decisions on small refinery exemptions (SREs) until after the Supreme Court rules in the Renewable Fuels Association et al. v. EPA case. The senators expressed concerns that EPA was planning on issuing numerous pending SREs, which would harm biofuels producers and the farmers who sell to them. Ethanol and biodiesel plants are currently struggling with the economic fallout of Clvkd-19.

01/13/2021
Request to President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris to Include Baby Bonds in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Ayanna Pressley wrote to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris encouraging a bold vision for racial and economic justice by including the American Opportunity Accounts Act, or “Baby Bonds,” in the next Covid-19 relief package. Baby Bonds would create a federally funded savings account for every American child with the hope of closing the racial wealth gap; at birth, $1,000 is deposited, and the account grows every year until the child is 18 years old.

01/13/2021
Request to CDC to Publish Best Practice Guidelines on Maximizing Distribution of Covid-19 Vaccines
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked that CDC Director Robert Redfield publish best-practice guidelines on how Covid-19 vaccine providers can maximize distribution of their allocated doses in situations where demand in priority groups is lower than expected or doses would otherwise be at risk of expiring.

01/13/2021
Request to NYC Mayor to Open Covid-19 Vaccination Site on Roosevelt Island
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

Rep. Carolyn Maloney urged New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to improve Covid-19 vaccine access for NYC’s elderly and disabled residents by adding a vaccination site on Roosevelt Island.

01/11/2021
Request to Internet Service Providers for Information Regarding Price Hikes and Data Caps During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Education

The House Energy and Commerce Committee asked nine internet service providers for information regarding their decisions to raise prices and impose data caps during the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee emphasized the importance of access to reliable, affordable broadband internet during the pandemic, as many Americans have transitioned to remote work and online learning. The letters to Altice USA, AT&T, Century Link/Lumen, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Frontier Communications, T-Mobile US, and Verizon can be found here in the order listed: https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Altice%20USA.2021.1.11.%20Letter%20to%20ISPs.CAT_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/ATT.2021.1.11.%20Letter%20to%20ISPs.CAT_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Lumen%20Technologies.2021.1.11.%20Letter%20to%20ISPs.CAT_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Charter%20Communications.2021.1.11%20Letter%20to%20ISPs.CAT_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Comcast%20Cable.2021.1.11.%20Letter%20to%20ISPs.CAT_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Cox%20Communications.2021.1.11.%20Letter%20to%20ISPs.CAT_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Frontier%20Communications.2021.01.11.%20Letter%20to%20ISPs.CAT_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/T-Mobile%20US.2021.1.11.%20Letter%20to%20ISPs.CAT_.pdf; https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Verizon%20Communications.2021.1.11.%20Letter%20to%20ISPs.CAT_.pdf

01/11/2021
Request That HHS Address Challenges With Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution Process
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

45 Senate Democrats wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking him to address challenges hampering the Covid-19 vaccine distribution process and requesting that the Trump administration develop a comprehensive, national vaccination plan.

01/11/2021
Request to HHS to Allocate Funds Reserved for Underserved Communities in Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and six House Democrats urged HHS Secretary Alex Azar to allocate funds reserved for underserved communities in the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021. Given that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income communities, Tribal nations, and communities of color, the members noted that the funds Congress appropriated to address health disparities for these communities must be used effectively, including allocated through grants to nonprofit organizations and for culturally responsive outreach activities.

01/10/2021
Request to President-Elect Biden to Expand EITC and CTC
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Advocacy organizations
Vulnerable Populations

45 religious organizations, including the National Council of Churches, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, and the National African American Clergy Network, urged President-elect Biden to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit in order to support low-wage workers, many of whom are people of color, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

01/07/2021
Request to HHS to Coordinate National Distribution of Covid-19 Vaccine and Improve Communication and Transparency with States and Stakeholders
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Vaccines and Treatments

The American Hospital Association wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking HHS to coordinate national Covid-19 vaccine distribution efforts across all states and jurisdictions, as well as the many relevant stakeholders involved in the vaccine distribution process. AHA noted that they did not know who was “responsible for answering questions” about the rollout and asked for greater transparency and communication from the agency. AHA also asked HHS to identify and resolve barriers to the rapid deployment of millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

12/30/2020
Request to HHS, Treasury, and CMS to Abandon Proposed NBPP Rule Change
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The Senate Finance Committee, Senate HELP Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee, and House Education and Labor Committee wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and CMS Administrator Seema Verma expressing concern regarding policies included in the proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2022. The committees urged HHS, Treasury, and CMS to abandon the proposed rule changes, which they worry could make health care more expensive and obstruct access to health care for millions of Americans.

12/23/2020
Request to Treasury to Halt Any Significant Changes to Housing Finance System During Covid-19 Crisis
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to halt any significant changes to the country’s housing finance system during the Covid-19 crisis. The committees also requested Mnuchin brief Ranking Member Sherrod Brown and Chairwoman Maxine Waters on any actions that the Treasury Department might take in the next month that will affect the housing finance system and housing opportunities for families across the country.

12/22/2020
Request to USDA to Rescind Proposed Rule That Would Roll Back Nutrition Standards for School Meals
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Education and Labor wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging him to rescind the proposed rule titled “Child Nutrition Programs: Restoration of Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Flexibilities,” which is nearly identical to a vacated 2018 rule of the same title. The committee urged Perdue to uphold his responsibility to ensure that federal school nutrition standards are consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. While the Covid-19 pandemic has strained the capabilities of school food authorities, the committee noted that pandemic would not excuse providing unhealthy food, so USDA should not roll back nutrition standards for meals.

12/22/2020
Request to VA to Implement Covid-Related Compensation for VA New Jersey Healthcare System Employees
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Donald Payne wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie urging his agency to implement coronavirus-related compensation, including retention pay, for VA New Jersey Healthcare System employees who are serving on the frontlines of the pandemic. Booker and Payne pointed out that the VA New Jersey Healthcare System, unlike VA Healthcare Systems across the U.S., is not offering retention pay and does not plan to grant employees Covid-related compensation in the future.

12/21/2020
Request to HHS and CDC to Produce Documents on Political Interference That Hindered U.S. Covid-19 Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Political Opportunism

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis issued subpoenas to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield, ordering them to produce documents on political interference that hindered the U.S.’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The subpoenas followed more than three months of obstruction by HHS and evidence that CDC Director Redfield instructed subordinates to delete an email illustrating the White House’s interference in the agency’s scientific reports.

12/21/2020
Request to HHS and CMS to Publicize Data on Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution to Nursing Homes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Finance Committee and Senate Aging Committee asked HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma to publicize data on Covid-19 vaccine distribution to nursing homes.

12/21/2020
Request to OSHA to Explain Why It Is Not Protecting Meatpacking Plant Workers During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker wrote to Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor, asking why OSHA has not protected meatpacking plant workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. The letter followed the publication of a study that explicitly identified meatpacking facilities as Covid-19 transmission vectors into surrounding populations that accelerated the spread of the virus in these communities.

12/21/2020
Request to Pence, Several Federal Agencies for Information on the Federal Government’s Planning, Coordination, and Execution of Covid-19 Prevention and Response Efforts
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The Senate Homeland Security Committee informed Vice President Mike Pence that the committee is conducting oversight of the federal government’s response to Covid-19 and will examine the federal government’s planning, coordination, and execution of Covid-19 prevention and response efforts. The committee will seek detailed information from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, DHS, HHS, Defense, State, and OMB to analyze the challenges and flaws of the Trump administration’s pandemic preparedness and response efforts. The committee requested relevant documents and communications pertaining to its review of the government’s response from Pence, and sent letters to the agencies mentioned: https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/201221_PetersLetter_COVIDDocDHS.pdf; https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/201221_PetersLetterr_COVIDDocDOD.pdf; https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/201221_PetersLetter_COVIDDocHHS.pdf; https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/201221_PetersLetter_COVIDDocOMB.pdf; https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/201221_PetersLetters_COVIDDocState.pdf

12/18/2020
Request to Major Sports Leagues to Promote Mask Use and Social Distancing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Communications Management

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and 13 other heads of major sports leagues urging them to publicly promote compliance with Covid-19 safety guidelines such as masking and physical distancing.

12/17/2020
Request to Treasury to Rescind Request to Fed to Return Unused CARES Act Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and the House Committee on Financial Services wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin criticizing his decision to request the Federal Reserve to return unused CARES Act funds. The committees noted that such a request risked crippling the Fed’s emergency lending programs at a time when the government should be using every tool at its disposal to support the country’s economic recovery. The committees urged Mnuchin to extend these programs and rescind his request to return funds that have already been invested in these lending facilities.

12/17/2020
Request to Treasury to Rescind Request to Fed to Return Unused CARES Act Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and the House Committee on Financial Services wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin criticizing his decision to request the Federal Reserve to return unused CARES Act funds. The committees noted that such a request risked crippling the Fed’s emergency lending programs at a time when the government should be using every tool at its disposal to support the country’s economic recovery. The committees urged Mnuchin to extend these programs and rescind his request to return funds that have already been invested in these lending facilities.

12/17/2020
Request to HHS, FDA, and OWS Leadership for Information on How Covid-19 Vaccine Clinical Trials Will Continue to Enroll Diverse Participants
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

Eight Senate Democrats wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, Operation Warp Speed Chief Adviser Moncef Slaoui, and OWS COO Gustave Perna requesting information on how FDA and OWS are ensuring that clinical trials for the development of Covid-19 vaccines will enroll participants in ways that are representative of the American population and reflective of the differing risks of exposure and health outcomes across communities.

12/17/2020
Request to ICE and DHS to Stop the Production and Sale of Counterfeit Covid-19 Vaccines, Provide Report to Senate Judiciary Committee Detailing Related Criminal Activity
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate Judiciary Committee wrote to ICE Assistant Director of Homeland Security Investigations Steve Francis asking his office to continue acting to stop counterfeit Covid-19 vaccines and other treatments. The committee also asked ICE and DHS to provide Congress with a report outlining trends they have identified during Operation Stolen Promise 2.0, a government operation focused on preventing the production, sale, and distribution of counterfeit or unauthorized Covid-19 treatments and vaccines.

12/16/2020
Request to HHS to Provide Relief to Individuals in Foster Care System
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Twelve Senate Democrats wrote to HHS Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson asking HHS to provide relief for those currently in the foster care system and those transitioning out of foster care as they navigate the Covid-19 crisis. The senators noted that the serious health and economic challenges brought by Covid-19 exacerbate existing challenges faced by the approximately 424,000 children in the foster care system and the more than 20,400 young adults who “age out” of foster care each year.

12/16/2020
Request to HHS and Defense for Information About Trump Administration’s Covid-19 Vaccine Acquisition and Distribution Efforts
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller seeking information about the Trump administration’s Covid-19 vaccine acquisition and distribution efforts. The letter came as public reports indicated that the Trump administration missed opportunities as recently as November 2020 to purchase additional Pfizer vaccine doses.

12/16/2020
Request to President-Elect Biden to Extend Mask Mandate to Apply to Federally Managed Public Lands
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Committee on Natural Resources wrote to President-elect Joe Biden urging him to prioritize the health of public lands employees and visitors during the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee asked Biden to extend his mask mandate, initially announced as applying to all federal buildings, to federally managed public lands as well.

12/16/2020
Request to HHS to Provide Relief to Individuals in Foster Care System
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Twelve Senate Democrats wrote to HHS Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson asking HHS to provide relief for those currently in the foster care system and those transitioning out of foster care as they navigate the Covid-19 crisis. The senators noted that the serious health and economic challenges brought by Covid-19 exacerbate existing challenges faced by the approximately 424,000 children in the foster care system and the more than 20,400 young adults who “age out” of foster care each year.

12/16/2020
Request to HHS and Defense for Information About Trump Administration’s Covid-19 Vaccine Acquisition and Distribution Efforts
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller seeking information about the Trump administration’s Covid-19 vaccine acquisition and distribution efforts. The letter came as public reports indicated that the Trump administration missed opportunities as recently as November 2020 to purchase additional Pfizer vaccine doses.

12/16/2020
Request to Tobacco Companies to Stop Exploiting Covid-19 Pandemic to Market E-Cigarettes to Youth, Request to FDA and FTC to Regulate Misleading Advertisements
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal, and Dick Durbin, and Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi and Diana DeGette, wrote to the CEOs of British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International, and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and FTC Chairman Joseph Simons, questioning the tobacco companies’ exploitation of the Covid-19 pandemic to market e-cigarettes to young people and seeking information from the FDA and FTC on enforcement actions to regulate misleading e-cigarette advertisements. Several subsidiaries of BAT and PMI have taken advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to promote the sale of their products and some of these subsidiaries have falsely claimed that vaping is not associated with an increased risk of contracting Covid-19. The letters to BAT and PMI can be found here: https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.12.16%20Letter%20to%20British%20American%20Tobacco%20re%20vaping%20COVID%20advertisements.pdf; https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/FINAL%20Letter%20to%20PMI%20re%20COVID%20vaping%20advertising.pdf. The letter to FDA and FTC can be found here: https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.12.18%20Letter%20to%20FDA%20and%20FTC%20re%20vaping%20COVID%20advertisements.pdf

12/16/2020
Request to President-Elect Biden to Extend Mask Mandate to Apply to Federally Managed Public Lands
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Committee on Natural Resources wrote to President-elect Joe Biden urging him to prioritize the health of public lands employees and visitors during the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee asked Biden to extend his mask mandate, initially announced as applying to all federal buildings, to federally managed public lands as well.

12/15/2020
Request to White House for Information on All Covid-Related Government Contracts in Which Peter Navarro Played Role
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Oversight Committee wrote to Assistant to the President and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro requesting information about all pandemic-related government contracts in which he played a role. The letter follows the committee’s inquiry into a contract Navarro negotiated that resulted in American taxpayers overpaying for ventilators by hundreds of millions of dollars.

12/15/2020
Request to Treasury and IRS to Waive Late Filing Penalties for Taxpayers Whose Filing Delays Were Cause by Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

A bipartisan group of 14 senators wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig urging the Trump administration to wave late-filing penalties for taxpayers whose filing delays were caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators also urged the administration to create a special Covid-19 First Time Abatement option for taxpayers eligible for normal First Time Abatement, if they can show that their filing difficulties were directly caused by the pandemic; to provide written guidance directing IRS customer service representatives to grant reasonable cause and Covid-related abatement requests liberally; to develop and advertise specific Covid-related examples that qualify for reasonable cause abatement; and to create a dedicated telephone number, or dedicated prompt, for taxpayers and their advisors to call to request penalty relief.

12/15/2020
Request to Treasury and IRS to Waive Late Filing Penalties for Taxpayers Whose Filing Delays Were Cause by Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

A bipartisan group of 14 senators wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig urging the Trump administration to wave late-filing penalties for taxpayers whose filing delays were caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators also urged the administration to create a special Covid-19 First Time Abatement option for taxpayers eligible for normal First Time Abatement, if they can show that their filing difficulties were directly caused by the pandemic; to provide written guidance directing IRS customer service representatives to grant reasonable cause and Covid-related abatement requests liberally; to develop and advertise specific Covid-related examples that qualify for reasonable cause abatement; and to create a dedicated telephone number, or dedicated prompt, for taxpayers and their advisors to call to request penalty relief.

12/15/2020
Request to White House for Information on All Covid-Related Government Contracts in Which Peter Navarro Played Role
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Oversight Committee wrote to Assistant to the President and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro requesting information about all pandemic-related government contracts in which he played a role. The letter follows the committee’s inquiry into a contract Navarro negotiated that resulted in American taxpayers overpaying for ventilators by hundreds of millions of dollars.

12/14/2020
Request to OWS Leadership for Information on Administration’s Preparations to Purchase Covid-19 Vaccines
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

18 Senate Democrats wrote to Operation Warp Speed Chief Adviser Dr. Moncef Slaoui and OWS COO Gen. Gustave Perna expressing concern about the Trump administration’s lack of planning and transparency surrounding Covid-19 vaccine development and acquisition. The senators requested information about the administration’s preparations to purchase vaccines. Thy wrote after reports that the administration declined to purchase additional doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, a decision that could hinder the nationwide vaccination campaign, as the U.S. will reportedly be unable to purchase additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine until the summer of 2021.

12/14/2020
Request to OWS Leadership for Information on Administration’s Preparations to Purchase Covid-19 Vaccines
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

18 Senate Democrats wrote to Operation Warp Speed Chief Adviser Dr. Moncef Slaoui and OWS COO Gen. Gustave Perna expressing concern about the Trump administration’s lack of planning and transparency surrounding Covid-19 vaccine development and acquisition. The senators requested information about the administration’s preparations to purchase vaccines. Thy wrote after reports that the administration declined to purchase additional doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, a decision that could hinder the nationwide vaccination campaign, as the U.S. will reportedly be unable to purchase additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine until the summer of 2021.

12/11/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Provisions Addressing Health Equity in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them to include provisions addressing health equity in the Covid-19 relief package under negotiation. Warren noted that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on low-income communities, Tribal nations, and communities of color. She requested that the next federal Covid-19 relief package include funding that directly reaches these communities and enlists trusted partners to provide services and information that help slow the spread of Covid-19.

12/11/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Funding for Hospital-Based Nursing Schools in Any Future Legislative Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

Nine Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer requesting that any future legislative package, including FY 2021 appropriations, health care extenders, or Covid-19 emergency relief, ensures that hospital-based nursing schools do not face cuts during the pandemic. The senators noted that continued funding for these schools is critical for maintaining a strong nursing education and training pipeline.

12/11/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Provisions Addressing Health Equity in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them to include provisions addressing health equity in the Covid-19 relief package under negotiation. Warren noted that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on low-income communities, Tribal nations, and communities of color. She requested that the next federal Covid-19 relief package include funding that directly reaches these communities and enlists trusted partners to provide services and information that help slow the spread of Covid-19.

12/11/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Funding for Hospital-Based Nursing Schools in Any Future Legislative Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

Nine Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer requesting that any future legislative package, including FY 2021 appropriations, health care extenders, or Covid-19 emergency relief, ensures that hospital-based nursing schools do not face cuts during the pandemic. The senators noted that continued funding for these schools is critical for maintaining a strong nursing education and training pipeline.

12/10/2020
Request to HHS and CDC to Comply with Investigation into Political Interference With CDC’s Scientific Work
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Political Opportunism

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield seeking compliance with the subcommittee’s investigation into political interference with CDC’s scientific work, and requesting a transcribed interview with Redfield to further investigate the matter. The letter came after news that a CDC staffer was directed to delete emails, a violation of federal laws that require federal agencies to preserve records, including emails.

12/10/2020
Request to HHS and CDC for Covid-Related Records for Cruise Ships Oversight Investigation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield reiterating their request from more than seven months ago, for Covid-related records considered key to the committee’s ongoing oversight of actions taken by the Carnival Corporation and the CDC in response to the threat of Covid-19 on cruise ships.

12/10/2020
Request to Senate Leadership and Senate Appropriations Committee to Increase Funding for AHRQ
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

Six Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the Senate Appropriations Committee to reiterate the urgent need for increased funding for the Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality in FY 2021. AHRQ is charged with improving the quality and delivery of health care, a critical part of the U.S.’s Covid-19 response. The most recent Senate Labor Health and Human Services package included a 24 percent cut to AHRQ.

12/10/2020
Request to Senate Leadership and Senate Appropriations Committee to Pass Federal Housing Assistance for Residents of Oregon, Washington, and California
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden, Dianne Feinstein, Patty Murray, and Maria Cantwell wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the Senate Appropriations Committee asking the Senate to pass federal housing assistance for residents of Oregon, Washington, and California impacted by wildfires. The senators noted that state resources and funding have been strained by the Covid-19 pandemic and are now completely depleted by weeks of fighting some of the most dangerous and widespread fires on record.

12/10/2020
Request to HHS and CDC for Covid-Related Records for Cruise Ships Oversight Investigation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield reiterating their request from more than seven months ago, for Covid-related records considered key to the committee’s ongoing oversight of actions taken by the Carnival Corporation and the CDC in response to the threat of Covid-19 on cruise ships.

12/10/2020
Request to Senate Leadership and Senate Appropriations Committee to Increase Funding for AHRQ
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

Six Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the Senate Appropriations Committee to reiterate the urgent need for increased funding for the Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality in FY 2021. AHRQ is charged with improving the quality and delivery of health care, a critical part of the U.S.’s Covid-19 response. The most recent Senate Labor Health and Human Services package included a 24 percent cut to AHRQ.

12/10/2020
Request to USDA to Meet with Massachusetts Delegation About Farmers to Families Food Box Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation wrote to USDA Undersecretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach and USDA Agriculture Marketing Service Administrator Bruce Summers to request a meeting regarding the fourth round of distributions under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, as well as any potential future rounds of the program. The delegation’s letter came as reports emerged that in its most recent rounds, the program struggled to meet the needs of Massachusetts residents.

12/10/2020
Request to Senate Leadership and Senate Appropriations Committee to Pass Federal Housing Assistance for Residents of Oregon, Washington, and California
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden, Dianne Feinstein, Patty Murray, and Maria Cantwell wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the Senate Appropriations Committee asking the Senate to pass federal housing assistance for residents of Oregon, Washington, and California impacted by wildfires. The senators noted that state resources and funding have been strained by the Covid-19 pandemic and are now completely depleted by weeks of fighting some of the most dangerous and widespread fires on record.

12/10/2020
Request to USDA to Meet with Massachusetts Delegation About Farmers to Families Food Box Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation wrote to USDA Undersecretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach and USDA Agriculture Marketing Service Administrator Bruce Summers to request a meeting regarding the fourth round of distributions under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, as well as any potential future rounds of the program. The delegation’s letter came as reports emerged that in its most recent rounds, the program struggled to meet the needs of Massachusetts residents.

12/09/2020
Request to HHS and CDC to Ensure Fair and Equitable Distribution of Covid-19 Vaccine
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Vaccines and Treatments

10 Senate Democrats urged HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine by working closely with states to understand and appropriately implement the Covid-19 vaccine distribution recommendations made by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

12/09/2020
Request to HHS and CDC to Ensure Fair and Equitable Distribution of Covid-19 Vaccine
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Vaccines and Treatments

10 Senate Democrats urged HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine by working closely with states to understand and appropriately implement the Covid-19 vaccine distribution recommendations made by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

12/08/2020
Request to HHS and Defense for Information on Preparations to Coordinate the Distribution of Covid-19 Vaccines
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller requesting information on their preparations to coordinate the wide distribution of Covid-19 vaccines once they are cleared by the FDA.

12/08/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership for Wildfire Relief Funds to Be Included in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

A bicameral group of Democrats 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 consider an additional stimulus package to address the impact of Covid-19 on the country, and to include emergency support for communities recovering from devastating and historic wildfires.

12/08/2020
Request to Senate Colleagues to Include Direct Payments to Adults and Their Children in Any New Covid-19 Relief Proposal
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, Ed Markey, and Ron Wyden wrote to their Senate colleagues to demand that any new Covid-19 relief proposal includes a $1,200 direct payment to adults and $500 to their children.

12/08/2020
Request to Trump and FEMA to Approve Major Disaster Declaration for Washington State
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State Issues

Washington state’s congressional delegation wrote to President Trump and FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor inquiring about Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s Sept. 16 and Oct. 8, 2020, request for a Major Disaster Declaration and supplemental federal assistance. The delegation noted that the state continued to be overwhelmed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, while simultaneously experiencing a damaging wildfire season. The delegation asked Trump and FEMA to support Inslee’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration, as well as Public Assistance and Individual Assistance for eligible counties.

12/08/2020
Request to Presidential Transition Headquarters to Address Key Covid-19 Priorities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, Testing, Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Sherrod Brown wrote to Jeffrey Zients and Dr. Vivek Murthy, appointed as White House Covid-19 Coordinator and U.S. Surgeon General, respectively. In his letter, Brown outlined key priorities for President-elect Biden’s Covid-19 response team, including urging them to ensure widespread testing, aggressive contact tracing, and vaccinations, and to improve data collection, and secure PPE, among other priorities. Brown also urged the Covid-19 Advisory Board to address racial inequities and the disproportionate risk Covid-19 poses to communities of color.

12/07/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Include Assistance for Environmental Justice in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

A bicameral group of Democrats wrote to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them to include robust assistance for environmental justice communities in the next Covid-19 relief package.

12/07/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Include Assistance for Environmental Justice in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

A bicameral group of Democrats wrote to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them to include robust assistance for environmental justice communities in the next Covid-19 relief package.

12/04/2020
Request to President-Elect Biden to Reverse Actions Taken by Trump Administration Over Past Four Years
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Financial Services wrote to President-elect Joe Biden asking him to reverse actions taken by the Trump administration in a variety of areas, including those pertaining to Covid-19, public health, consumer protection, and housing. Chairwoman Maxine Waters attached a list of regulations and other executive actions taken by the Trump administration over the past four years within the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Financial Services. Of relevance to the Covid-19 pandemic, Waters asked Biden to fully implement the Defense Production Act. issue an executive order to prevent evictions, promote stable housing during the pandemic, fully use CARES Act lending authorities, and fully support agencies involved in consumer protection, including the CFPB. A list of recommendations provided by the committee can be found here: https://financialservices.house.gov/uploadedfiles/cmw_ltr_to_biden_attachment.pdf.

12/04/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Reauthorize SRS and Maintain Robust PILT Funding in Appropriations Process
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Mike Crapo and 26 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 expressing support for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act and the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program. The members urged leaders to reauthorize SRS and maintain robust PILT funding as part of the appropriations process, because SRS and PILT serve as a lifeline to rural America’s local governments, funding schools, roads, law enforcement, and public health programs.

12/03/2020
Request to IRS to Resolve Remaining EIP Inquiries Before End of Year
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig asking the IRS to resolve all remaining inquiries regarding Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) before the end of the year. The committee also asked IRS to keep the EIP mailbox for congressional offices open through the end of the next filing season. The tool was created after congressional offices were inundated with requests from constituents seeking a more direct pathway to IRS assistance during the Covid-19 crisis.

12/03/2020
Request to Defense Department to Assist California Combat Wildfires as State Battles Covid-19, Other Challenges
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues

29 members of California’s congressional delegation wrote a letter to Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller asking the Defense Department to continue assisting California and other states in their efforts to combat wildfires. The letter requests that the department continue to operate two programs that provide important operational support to CAL FIRE and the National Guard as California battles the Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges that have stretched the capacity of first responders.

12/03/2020
Request to ExamSoft for Information on Steps Taken to Protect Civil Rights of Students
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Education, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Richard Blumethal and five other senators wrote to ExamSoft CEO Sebastian Vos requesting information on the steps the company has taken to protect the civil rights of students to ensure that ExamSoft is not creating barriers for students’ futures. The letter comes as media reports found that students of color and students with disabilities faced issues when using the software, including being locked out of exams or being wrongly accused of cheating. ExamSoft and similar remote testing products have seen increased usage as the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a rise in distance learning technology usage by academic institutions. The senators also criticized the requirement for students to install intrusive software and provide extensive personal information (e.g., images of their home and personal information regarding their disabilities) to ExamSoft.

12/03/2020
Request to NIMH to Study Mental Health Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Children and Young Adults
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Amy Klobuchar and 14 other senators wrote to National Institute of Mental Health Director Joshua Gordon requesting information about NIMH’s efforts to study the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental health of children and young adults. The senators also encouraged NIMH to prioritize these efforts to improve the ability of policymakers to respond to this matter.

12/02/2020
Request to Trump to Approve California Governor’s Request for Continuing Authority and Funding Under Title 32
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to President Trump urging him to approve California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request for continuing authority and funding under Title 32 to order to duty, or extend the military orders, of up to 1,500 members of the California National Guard responding to Covid-19 through March 31, 2021. Feinstein also requested that Trump authorize 100 percent federal cost-share for California’s National Guard through March 31.

12/02/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Include Emergency Relief for MTA in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

New York’s congressional delegation wrote to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking them to include robust emergency relief for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the next Covid-19 relief package.

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 GAO for Report on How Covid-19 Relief Funds Have Been Distributed to Disproportionately Affected Communities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley wrote to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro requesting a GAO report on how federal Covid-19 relief funds have been distributed to disproportionately affected communities, including businesses and providers located in low-income and medically underserved communities, Tribal businesses and health-care providers, community health centers, and other organizations serving high-need populations.

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 President-Elect Biden to Cancel Student Loan Debt
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Advocacy organizations
Education, Federal Management

Americans for Financial Reform, the Center for Responsible Lending, Demos, the National Consumer Law Center, the Student Loan Borrower Protection Center, and more than 200 other organizations wrote to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris asking them to issue an executive order to cancel federal student debt on the first day of their administration. While the student loan debt crisis was severe prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, these organizations stated that the challenges facing borrowers have been exponentially magnified given the disproportionate toll the pandemic has taken on the health and economic security of people of color and women.

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: Advocacy organizations
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: Advocacy organizations
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: 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: 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: Advocacy 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: Advocacy 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 Trump to Expedite a Major Disaster Declaration for California in Response to Wildfires
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein wrote to President Trump expressing support for California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration for California in response to widespread wildfires. Harris and Feinstein asked Trump to expedite a Major Disaster Declaration without the need for complete preliminary damage assessments and to make federal assistance available. The senators noted that the Covid-19 crisis compounded the challenges facing California as the state addresses these wildfires.

08/21/2020
Request to USCIS to Maintain Federal Workfoce
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine wrote to USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow expressing concern about USCIS’s plans to furlough more than 13,000 federal employees during the Covid-19 pandemic. Warner and Kaine noted that USCIS was no longer projecting a deficit for this fiscal year and urged USCIS to use the funds to maintain employment for these federal employees.

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

08/20/2020
Request That HHS Inform Young People of Risks Tobacco Can Pose for Covid-19 Infection
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Vulnerable Populations

Nine Senate Democrats wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking HHS to take steps to better inform young people of the risks tobacco and e-cigarette usage can pose for Covid-19 infection.

08/20/2020
Request to DeJoy to Reverse Policy Change, Restore Full Operations, and Resign
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

Sen. Sherrod Brown asked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to reverse policy changes he made to USPS operations and restore full postal service and mail processing capacity. Brown also asked DeJoy to step down from his position.

08/20/2020
Request to PRAC to Investigate $756 Million Loan to Eastman Kodak Company
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to the Acting Chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee Michael Horowitz urging PRAC to investigate the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation’s $765 million loan to Eastman Kodak Company as part of the Trump administration’s Covid-19 response.

08/20/2020
Request to USPS to Consider How Operational Changes and Mail Delays Impact Military
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

29 Senate Democrats urged Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to consider the impact of his recent policy changes to USPS operations on the 1.3 million service members and their families serving domestically and overseas.

08/20/2020
Request to AARP Illinois Chapter for Information on How USPS Operational Changes May Affect Local Communities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Dick Durbin wrote to AARP Illinois Chapter Director Bob Gallo to inquire about how recent USPS operational changes have affected or may affect the communities AARP-IL serves.

08/19/2020
Request to FHFA Not to Implement Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Rule Change on Refinancing Loans During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

15 Senate Democrats wrote to FHFA Director Mark Calabria expressing concern about the sudden announcement that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will charge an additional 50 basis points in upfront fees for all refinance loans delivered to them on or after Sept. 1, 2020. The senators requested that Calabria not approve any pricing or policy changes during the Covid-19 pandemic that will hurt homeowners and renters.

08/19/2020
Request to VA for Information on Plans to Work with Private-Sector Company to Deliver Meds to Vets
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie seeking information about the VA’s plans to work with a private-sector company to deliver medications to veterans in Montana, rather than continue to partner with USPS.

08/19/2020
Request to SBA to Help Small Businesses by Asking USPS and Trump Administration to Stop Delaying Mail Delivery
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism

Sen. Amy Klobuchar wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza expressing concerns about the impact of USPS shipping delays on small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Klobuchar asked SBA to stand up for small businesses by imploring USPS and the Trump administration to eliminate costly delays to mail delivery.

08/19/2020
Request to HHS and CDC on Plans to Collect and Report Info About Covid-19 Cases Linked to Higher Education
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Tina Smith, and Chris Murphy requested information from HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield about their plans to collect and report information on Covid-19 cases linked to higher education institutions.

08/19/2020
Request to Pharmacies and Pharmaceutical Companies for Information on Impact of USPS Mail Delays on Medication Deliveries
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bob Casey wrote to Cigna, CVS Health, Humana, UnitedHealth and OptumHealth, and Walgreens requesting information regarding delays in mail-order deliveries of medications as a result of operational changes at USPS.

08/19/2020
Request to USDA to Assist Mainers Whose Livelihoods Depend on Lobster Industry
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Maine’s congressional delegation wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging USDA to assist Mainers whose livelihoods depends on the lobster industry. On June 24, 2020, President Trump issued the “Memorandum on Protecting the United States Lobster Industry,” instructing USDA to provide assistance to fishermen and producers working in the U.S. lobster industry within 60 days. To date, USDA had not assisted those working in the industry.

08/19/2020
Request to House Leadership to Pass Worker Relief and Security Act
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

117 House Democrats urged Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to pass the Worker Relief and Security Act, which will extend unemployment benefits and ensure benefits last for the duration of the Covid-19 recession by tying enhanced unemployment insurance to the pandemic.

08/19/2020
Request to GAO to Review Changes HHS Made to Covid-19 Hospital Capacity Reporting Systems and Requirements
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to GAO Comptroller Gene Dodaro requesting a review of changes that HHS has made to Covid-19 hospital capacity reporting systems and requirements during the pandemic.

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.

08/18/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Funding for SUD and Mental Health Care in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking them to include robust funding for substance use disorder and mental health in the next Covid-19 relief package.

08/18/2020
Request to Virginia Election Registrars to Ensure All Virginians Can Access Right to Vote
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, State Issues

Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine wrote to election registrars in Virginia urging them to do everything they can to ensure all Virginians can access their right to vote during the pandemic.

08/18/2020
Request to Corvias for Information on Its Influence on Campus Reopening Plans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Education

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Rashida Tlaib wrote to Corvias CEO John Picerne requesting information regarding Corvias’s influence over colleges’ and universities’ campus reopening plans during the Covid-19 pandemic. Institutions within the University System of Georgia and Wayne State University both have student housing agreements with Corvias and moved students back to campus to hold in-person instruction in the fall of 2020.

08/18/2020
Request to DHS to Address Questions Regarding Unlawful Detentions and Deportations of UACs and Asylum-Seeking Families
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Seven Senate Democrats wrote to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf expressing concern about the unlawful detention and deportation of unaccompanied immigrant children and asylum-seeking families during the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators asked DHS to grant all protections and due process to immigrants afforded by the law. The senators requested information about the detention and housing conditions of UACs, the number of UACs awaiting expulsion, and policy guidance and memoranda detailing criteria DHS used to determine UAC status, among other issues.

08/18/2020
Request to FCC to Extend 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window By At Least 180 Days From Aug. 3, 2020, Deadline
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

35 Congressional Democrats wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asking the FCC to extend the 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window by no less than 180 days from the Aug. 3, 2020, deadline, as Tribal nations continue to respond to the Covid-19 crisis.

08/17/2020
Request to Ohio Secretary of State to Reverse Decision to Prohibit Local Election Boards from Providing Multiple Ballot Drop Boxes Per County
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism, State Issues

Five members of Ohio’s congressional delegation wrote to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose urging him to reconsider his decision prohibiting local boards of election from providing multiple secure ballot drop boxes in each county.

08/17/2020
Request to USPS for Information About Changes Impacting Mail Delivery
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

Senate Democrats wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy seeking information about changes at USPS that were adversely affecting mail delivery for Americans across the country.

08/17/2020
Request to USPS Board of Governors to Reverse Changes to Postal Service Operations Implemented by DeJoy
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

Seven Senate Democrats asked the USPS Board of Governors to reverse changes to postal service operations that were put in place by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

08/17/2020
Request to GAO to Assess Completeness and Quality of Census Field Operations
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

The Senate Appropriations Committee wrote to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro requesting that GAO assess the completeness and quality of census data collection by comparing it to the original operational plans for the 2020 decennial census and the 2010 decennial census results.

08/17/2020
Request to USPS to Rescind Changes to Postal Service Operations and Restore Full Service and Functionality
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

Oregon’s congressional delegation asked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to rescind changes to postal service operations and restore full service and functionality to USPS. The delegation accused DeJoy of election interference by causing delays to ballot delivery ahead of the election; risking Oregonians’ lives by delaying the delivery of medications and other necessities; and undermining USPS’s ability to meet increased demand of its services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/17/2020
Request to USPS to Suspend Operational Changes Delaying Mail Delivery to Rhode Islanders
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, State Issues

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy expressing concerns about recent changes to USPS operations and the harmful consequences on mail delivery for residents and businesses in Rhode Island. The delegation asked DeJoy to suspend these operational changes and to support the mission of USPS and its workers.

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
Request to Commerce and Census to Honor Previously Announced Oct. 31, 2020, Census Completion Deadline
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

20 Senate Democrats wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham urging the Census to honor its previously announced 2020 Census completion date of Oct. 31, 2020, and to continue operations to ensure an accurate count for Indian Country and the Native Hawaiian community.

08/14/2020
Request to USPS for Information Regarding Trump Administration’s Role in Postal Service Delays
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the House Committee on House Administration, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Democrats from the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy requesting information regarding the Trump administration’s role in Postal Service delays.

08/14/2020
Request to Treasury to Help West Virginians Receive Their EIPs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Sen. Joe Manchin wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to express concern with the distribution of Economic Impact Payments to West Virginians. Manchin noted that many of his constituents had not yet received their EIPs. He urged Mnuchin to work with his office to resolve these issues as soon as possible.

08/14/2020
Request to USPS to Address Mail Delays in Baltimore Region
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, State Issues

Maryland’s congressional delegation wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy expressing concern about delayed mail delivery in the Baltimore region. The delegation noted that many Marylanders are immunocompromised, elderly, or reluctant to take the risk of contracting Covid-19, and will need to vote by mail in the election. The delegation asked DeJoy to reinstate and continue paying overtime for USPS staff, develop measures to keep USPS employees safe, allow more flexibility with timing for routes, and develop a plan to address staffing shortages due to Covid-19.

08/14/2020
Request to USDA to Extend School Meal Waivers for Entire 2020-2021 School Year or Until Regular School Operations Resume
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Vulnerable Populations

Maryland’s congressional delegation wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging USDA to extend a number of school meal waivers for the entire 2020-2021 school year, or until regular school operations are restored.

08/14/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Flexible Financing for Rural America Act in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

A bipartisan group of 10 senators asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to include the Flexible Financing for Rural America Act of 2020 (S.4152) in the next Covid-19 relief package.

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
Request to USPS for Information About Alleged Removal of Collection Boxes in Montana
Source: Sen. Jon Tester
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, State Issues

Sen. Jon Tester wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy expressing concern and requesting information about USPS collection boxes allegedly being removed from numerous communities in Montana. Given the Covid-19 pandemic, Tester noted that USPS’s services are needed now more than ever, particularly in rural Montana communities where local access to grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential services is limited.

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.

08/13/2020
Request to CMS to Ensure All Recommended Vaccines Are Accessible to Medicare Beneficiaries
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

A bipartisan group of 12 senators urged CMS Administrator Seema Verma to ensure that all recommended vaccines be made accessible to Medicare beneficiaries.

08/13/2020
Request to CBO to Reevaluate Earlier Methodology Used for Private Health Insurance Coverage Projections
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Chris Murphy wrote to Congressional Budget Office Director Phillip Swagel expressing concerns with current health care coverage baseline and assumptions used by CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation with relation to short-term, limited duration insurance products. Baldwin and Murphy asked CBO to reevaluate an earlier methodology used for private health insurance coverage projections.

08/13/2020
Request to Trump to Restore 100 Percent Federal Cost Share to Wisconsin for Use of National Guard Through 2020
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Four Democrats from Wisconsin’s congressional delegation asked President Trump to restore 100 percent federal cost share to Wisconsin for the use of the National Guard through Dec. 31, 2020, in support of the fight against Covid-19. The arrangement had been terminated by Trump’s Aug. 3 memorandum for all states and territories (except Florida and Texas).

08/13/2020
Request to USPS to Examine Impact of Recent Operational and Policy Changes on Vets’ Access to Prescription Meds During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

31 Senate Democrats wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy requesting that USPS examine the impact of its recent operational and policy changes on veterans’ access to prescription drugs during the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators also asked USPS to work with the VA to ensure that no veteran suffers from further medication delivery delays.

08/13/2020
Request to DHS to Revise Guidance to Colleges and Universities Prohibiting International Students on F-1 and M-1 Visas with Full-Time Online Course Load from Entering U.S.
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism

70 Democrats wrote to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf requesting that DHS revise guidance to colleges and universities that would prohibit international students on new F-1 and M-1 visas with a full-time online course load from entering the U.S.

08/13/2020
Request to FCC to Provide Unlimited Minutes and Data to Lifeline Recipients for Duration of Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Energy and Commerce Committee urged FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to provide unlimited voice minutes and unlimited mobile data to Lifeline recipients for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/13/2020
Request to Anthem and Delta Dental Plans Association for Information About Coverage Policies and Practices for Covid-19 Tests and Related Services
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote letters to Anthem President and CEO Gail Boudreaux and Delta Dental Plans Association President and CEO Steven Olson seeking information about their companies’ coverage policies and practices for Covid-19 tests and related items and services. The committee also requested information on whether these companies’ increased profits are being used to provide consumers relief, such as through premium reductions, rebates, zero cost-sharing for Covid-19 treatments, or other financial assistance.

08/12/2020
Request to USPS Not to Take Action That Makes It Harder for Americans to Vote
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

Senate Democrats urged Postmaster General Louis DeJoy not to take any action that makes it harder for Americans to vote.

08/12/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Extend Statutory Deadlines for Delivery of Apportionment Data and Redistricting Files in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

Five Democrats from Colorado’s congressional delegation wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy expressing concern about the administration’s decision to end census field data collection activities early. The delegation urged congressional leadership to include an extension of the statutory deadlines for the delivery of apportionment data and redistricting files following the 2020 census in the next Covid-19 relief package, and require the enumeration period to be extended through Oct. 31, 2020.

08/12/2020
Request to California Governor to Impose Strict Guidelines on Any School Reopenings in California
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, State Issues

Sen. Dianne Feinstein urged California Gov. Gavin Newsom to impose strict guidelines on any reopening of California schools. Feinstein also supported Newsom’s July 17, 2020, order to prevent school openings in counties on the Covid-19 watch list.

08/12/2020
Request to USPS to Reverse Policy Changes Slowing Mail Delivery
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, State Issues

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy expressing concerns about recent service problems at USPS and sharing frustrations from those who rely on USPS for their survival, such as small business owners selling goods during the pandemic and residents relying on consistent mail services for medication. The delegation urged USPS to reverse recent policy changes that have slowed mail delivery and take steps to improve mail service.

08/12/2020
Request to USDA to Extend Waivers to Ensure School Districts in Virginia Can Continue Providing Students with Meals During Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Democrats from Virginia’s congressional delegation wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in support of several waiver requests made by Virginia that would assist in delivering food to children during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The delegation asked USDA to extend a number of waivers to ensure that school districts have the certainty they need to continue providing students with nutritious meals during the pandemic.

08/12/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Support for Charitable Nonprofits in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

A bipartisan group of 24 senators urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to include support for charitable nonprofits providing frontline services in the next Covid-19 relief package.

08/12/2020
Request to IRS for Information on How It Will Address Delays in Processing Paper Returns and in Filers Receiving Refunds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Minnesota’s congressional delegation wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig requesting information on how the IRS plans to address delays in processing paper tax returns and the lack of clarity to filers experiencing delays in receiving tax refunds.

08/12/2020
Request to Census for Full and Accurate Enumeration of College and University Students Across State in 2020 Census
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Political Opportunism, State Issues

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation wrote to Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham reiterating their ongoing concern regarding the full and accurate enumeration of college and university students across Massachusetts in the 2020 census. The delegation asked Dillingham to confirm that the Census Bureau intends to use college and university directory information for both on-campus and off-campus students that has been provided to them. Given the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting school closures, the delegation sought assurance that students living both on and off campus will be counted in the census.

08/12/2020
Request to USTR to Oppose New Agriculture Seasonality Trade Remedy Targeting Mexican Tomato Imports
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, State Issues

Arizona’s congressional delegation urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider the broad impacts of a new seasonal trade remedy on Mexican tomato imports. The delegation noted that the seasonal trade remedy would choke off a critical supply of imported tomatoes during the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in higher prices for U.S. consumers, while reducing availability, selection, and quality in supermarkets. The delegation asked USTR to oppose any new agriculture seasonality provision targeting Mexican tomato imports, arguing that it would undermine free trade and run counter to consumer preferences.

08/11/2020
Request to CDC for Briefing on Covid-19 Impacts on Children and Young People
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting a briefing, to take place on Aug. 25, 2020, on current knowledge about the effects of Covid-19 infection and transmission among children and young people, its related health impacts, and future threats to the health of the nation’s youth. The committee also requested information on the steps the Trump administration is taking to address these issues.

08/11/2020
Request to Commerce and Census to Return to Original Field Data Collection Deadline of Oct. 31, 2020
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, State Issues

Four Democratic members from Oregon’s congressional delegation wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham to express concern over the announcement to end field collection of data early. While Oregon’s self-response rate is 65.6 percent, some counties in the state have fallen far below this rate. As Covid-19 impacted data collection for the census, the delegation urged Dillingham to return to the original field data collection deadline of Oct. 31, 2020, to give Oregonians the opportunity to respond to the count.

08/11/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Include Funding to Increase Cybersecurity Capabilities in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Nine Senate Democrats asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to include funding to increase cybersecurity capabilities for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, school districts, libraries, small businesses, hospitals, and other essential services and institutions, in the next Covid-19 relief package.

08/11/2020
Request to Pence for Information About Federal Diversions of Covid-19 Testing Kits and Supplies from Wisconsin
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, Political Opportunism, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Testing

Sen. Tammy Baldwin wrote to Vice President Mike Pence expressing concerns about ongoing Covid-19 testing supply shortages and the reported diversion of supplies from Wisconsin, a Covid-19 hotspot. Baldwin requested information about federal diversions of supplies and testing kits from her state.

08/11/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Extend Statutory Deadlines for Delivery of Appointment Data and Redistricting Files Following 2020 Census in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

A bipartisan group of 48 senators urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to extend the statutory deadlines for the delivery of apportionment data and redistricting files following the 2020 census in the next Covid-19 relief package.

08/11/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Long-Term Student Loan Forbearance in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

17 Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking that student loan forbearance be codified for the duration of the the economic crisis and included in the next Covid-19 relief package.

08/11/2020
Request to FHFA to Extend Comment Period for New Capital Framework Proposal
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Banking Committee wrote to FHFA Director Mark Calabria expressing concern about a new capital framework that FHFA has proposed. The committee stated that 60 days is an inadequate amount of time for stakeholders to review the proposed rule and provide comments, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis. The committee asked FHFA to extend the comment period for the proposed rule to provide time for all interested parties to provide comments and analysis and asked FHFA and, as appropriate, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to analyze the rule’s projected effects on homeowners and renters.

08/10/2020
Request to USPS to Rescind Policy Changes Contributing to Delays in Mail Delivery
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

Sen. Mark Warner wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy expressing concerns about operational changes and mail delays at USPS. Warner mentioned that his Virginia constituents faced delayed deliveries of medications, groceries, and household necessities, which posed significant hardship in the context of Covid-19 and asked DeJoy to rescind policy changes contributing to delays.

08/10/2020
Request to Trump to Restore 100 Percent Federal Cost Share Nationwide for Use of National Guard During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination

34 Senate Democrats asked President Trump to restore 100 percent federal cost share to all states and territories for use of the National Guard under Title 32 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/10/2020
Request to CDC for Information on Efforts to Control Spread of EEE
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting updates on the CDC’s efforts to support state and local public health efforts to control the spread of Eastern Equine Encephalitis amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/10/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Edith Shorougian Senior Victims of Fraud Compensation Act in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Five senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer requesting the inclusion of the Edith Shorougian Senior Victims of Fraud Compensation Act in the next Covid-19 relief package.

08/10/2020
Request to USDA and DOL IGs to Investigate Federal Actions That May Have Contributed to Covid-19 Spread in Meat-Processing Plants and Other Facilities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Michael Bennet wrote to USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong and Acting Labor Department IG Larry Turner requesting an investigation into federal actions that may have contributed to the spread of Covid-19 in meat processing plants and other agricultural processing facilities. Bennet asked for review of the steps the federal government took to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in these plants, and how President Trump’s use of the Defense Production Act for meat-processing facilities may have affected the health of workers.

08/10/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Finalize Covid-19 Emergency Response Package and Include Assistance to BOP
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Kamala Harris, and Rep. Salud Carbajal 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 finalize the Covid-19 emergency response package and include assistance for BOP to respond to the ongoing pandemic.

08/10/2020
Request to Senate Leadership and Senate Appropriations Committee to Include Funding for OAA Programs in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

A bipartisan group of 16 senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them to include $1.1 billion in funding for Older Americans Act programs in the next Covid-19 relief package.

08/10/2020
Request to Commerce IG to Investigate Whether Decision to Expedite Census Operations Comports with Statutory Requirements Under Title 13
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

The Senate Appropriations Committee asked Commerce IG Peggy Gustafson to investigate whether the decision to expedite census operations comported with Title 13 of the U.S. Code. The committee also requested that as census data collection and processing operations unfold, she monitor and assess changes on both the original and April 2020 pandemic-adjusted operational schedules that might impact data quality and accuracy.

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.

08/07/2020
Request to CDC for Information on Preparation Efforts for Potential AFM Outbreak
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Amy Klobuchar wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting information about the steps the CDC is taking to prepare for a potential outbreak of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). Klobuchar noted that AFM spikes tend to occur in alternating years, with the last peak having occurred in 2018 and expressed concern that the next AFM outbreak could occur this year, and coincide with both the flu season and the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/07/2020
Request to Trump to Open ACA Special Enrollment Period
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

26 Senate Democrats wrote to President Trump reiterating their request for him to open a Special Enrollment Period for the ACA Marketplace. The Covid-19 crisis created a dire need for health coverage for all Americans, and the senators expressed disappointment that Trump did not reopen the SEP when they first inquired about it in April 2020.

08/07/2020
Request to DEA for Information on How DEA Is Monitoring and Enforcing Proper Prescribing of MAT for SUD
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Joe Manchin wrote to Acting DEA Administrator Timothy Shea expressing concern about how the Covid-19 pandemic has compounded existing challenges posed by the ongoing opioid epidemic. Manchin requested information on how DEA is monitoring and enforcing proper prescribing of MAT, including via telemedicine and mobile clinics.

08/07/2020
Request to CMA to Delay Start of Recoupment Period Under AAP Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Michael Bennet urged CMS Administrator Seema Verma to delay the start of the recoupment period under the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payments program given challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/07/2020
Request to USPS IG to Review Operational and Staffing Changes to USPS
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

Nine Democrats wrote to USPS Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb expressing concerns regarding recent modifications to USPS staffing and policies implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. These changes led to slower and less reliable mail delivery, and posed a threat to the November 2020 election as millions of Americans planned to vote by mail to reduce their risk of Covid-19 exposure. The members asked Whitcomb to review the operational changes implemented by DeJoy, assess the rationale for those changes, determine how those changes affected mail delivery and whether USPS has provided accurate and complete information to Congress about the impacts of these policies.

08/07/2020
Request to Trump to Waive Traditional Cost-Share Requirements for All Covid-19 Assistance for Two Tribal Nations in Massachusetts
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation reiterated its request to President Trump to waive the traditional cost-share requirements for all coronavirus-related assistance for federally recognized tribal nations in Massachusetts: the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

08/07/2020
Request to Trump to Direct FEMA to Waive All Cost-Share Requirements for Major Disaster Assistance for Massachusetts
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation reiterated its request to President Trump to direct FEMA to waive all traditional cost-share requirements for major disaster assistance for Massachusetts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/07/2020
Request to USTR to Remove Section 301 Tariffs Placed on EU Food and Beverage Products
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

A bipartisan group of 13 senators wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer requesting the removal of the Section 301 tariffs that were placed on food and beverage products from the EU in October 2019. The senators noted that restaurants, retailers, grocers, and distributors impacted by the tariffs have experienced severe economic hardship due to the increased cost of goods and the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/06/2020
Request to Senate Leadership for $15.5 Billion for NIH in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

25 senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer requesting that $15.5 billion for NIH be included in the next Covid-19 relief package. The senators noted that Covid-19 has impacted the country’s biomedical research process; according to NIH Director Francis Collins, the pandemic has caused over $10 billion in lost research, in addition to medical research needs posed by the virus.

08/06/2020
Request to USPS to Ensure Timely Mail Deliveries
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, State Issues

Democrats from Illinois’ congressional delegation wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy expressing concerns about delays in mail deliveries in Illinois and across the country during the Covid-19 pandemic. The members urged DeJoy to take corrective action to ensure timely mail deliveries.

08/06/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Work Sharing Incentives in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Sens. Chris Van Hollen, Jeff Merkley, Chris Murphy, and Tammy Baldwin wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them to include incentives to use Work Sharing, and to help states expand the availability of Work Sharing, in the next Covid-19 relief package. Employers participating in Work Sharing avoid layoffs by reducing the hours of their employees or bringing laid off employees back to work at reduced hours, who receive a pro-rated UI benefit.

08/06/2020
Request to CEQ for Status Update and Relevant Records Regarding Implementation of Executive Order 13927
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, House National Resources Committee, and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, along with a bicameral group of Democrats, wrote to CEQ Chairwoman Mary Neumayr requesting a status update and relevant records regarding the implementation of Executive Order 13927, “Accelerating the Nation’s Economic Recovery From the Covid-19 Emergency by Expediting Infrastructure Investments and Other Activities.”

08/06/2020
Request to HHS and FEMA to Send Federal Resources to Arizona to Combat Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, State Issues, Testing

Five members of Arizona’s congressional delegation wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor asking them to send federal resources to Arizona to support Covid-19 testing, contact tracing, PPE, staffing support, and emergency funding for local initiatives to respond to the virus.

08/06/2020
Request to CBP to Comply With TVPRA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Immigration and Border Issues

28 Senate Democrats wrote to Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan expressing concern regarding CBO’s treatment of unaccompanied migrant children seeking humanitarian protection at the southern border. The senators requested CBP’s full compliance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

08/06/2020
Request to Commerce to Reverse Decision to End Census Count Early
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

24 Senate Democrats wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressing concern about the administration’s decision to end census field data collection activities a month earlier than previously planned. The senators asked Ross to reverse this decision and take all necessary steps to ensure a full, fair, and accurate census despite the pandemic.

08/06/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Provision in Next Covid-19 Relief Package Providing Access to Free Phone and Video Calls for Incarcerated People
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

17 Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking them to include provisions in the next Covid-19 relief package providing access to free phone and video calls for incarcerated people during and after the pandemic.

08/06/2020
Request to HHS and Defense Department for Briefing on Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution Effort
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

Sens. Patty Murray and Jack Reed wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Defense Secretary Mark Esper to express concerns about plans for the Defense Department to lead the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, despite the CDC’s deep expertise in vaccine distribution and administration. Murray and Reed requested that the agencies provide them a briefing within 15 days on the roles they envision for the Covid-19 vaccine distribution effort.

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.

08/05/2020
Request to Pinnacle Treatment Centers for Information on Covid-19 Outbreak at Treatment Facilities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Katie Porter wrote to Pinnacle Treatment Centers CEO Joe Pritchard seeking information about the extent of the Covid-19 outbreak at residential behavioral health and addiction treatment facilities he owns and operates, and the methods being used to prevent and mitigate future outbreaks when they occur.

08/05/2020
Request to Senate Leadership and Senate Appropriations Committee to Fund National Criminal History Improvement Program in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them to include an additional $20 million for the National Criminal History Improvement Program in the next Covid-19 relief package.

08/05/2020
Request to Treasury and IRS to Deliver Remaining EIPs to Illinois Residents as Quickly as Possible
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig urging Treasury and the IRS to deliver remaining Economic Impact Payments to Illinois residents as quickly as possible.

08/05/2020
Request to Census to Reverse Decision to End Count Early
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham expressing concern about the Census Bureau’s recent announcement that all counting operations will end one month earlier than planned. Feinstein urged Dillingham to reconsider this decision and continue working with Congress to extend the statutory deadlines for reporting census results.

08/05/2020
Request to USPS for Information Regarding Plans to Ensure Timely Mail Delivery During Election Season and Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Chuck Schumer, Gary Peters, and Tom Carper wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy requesting information regarding USPS’s plans to ensure timely delivery of mail during the election season.

08/05/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Include Force to Fight Covid-19 Proposal in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

11 Senate Democrats 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 include their Force to Fight Covid-19 Proposal in the upcoming Covid-19 relief package.

08/05/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Include Child Care Is Essential Act in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

25 Senate Democrats 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 inclusion of the Child Care Is Essential Act in the next Covid-19 relief package.

08/05/2020
Request to Senate Majority Leader to Include Policies Protecting Americans Most at Risk for Covid-19 in Next Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

42 Senate Democrats urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to ensure that policies protecting Americans most at risk for Covid-19 are included in the next relief package.

08/05/2020
Request to USAID to Remove Appointees Who Damage the Agency’s Reputation and Mission
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Five Senate Democrats urged Acting USAID Administrator John Barsa to remove appointees who damage USAID’s mission, reputation, and impact, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/05/2020
Request to White House Coronavirus Task Force and HHS for Information About National Vaccine Plan
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Deborah Birx and HHS Secretary Alex Azar following up on an inquiry about the Trump administration’s Covid-19 vaccine planning efforts and national vaccine plan. The committee reiterated its request for a staff briefing on the full scope of Operation Warp Speed and responses to questions about vaccine development and roll-out.

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
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Emergency Funding for USPS in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Michael Bennet urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to include emergency funding for USPS in the next Covid-19 relief package.

08/04/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Provide Relief and Solutions to Address Child Care and Education Crises
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to provide meaningful relief and enact bold solutions to address the child care and education crises facing the U.S amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/04/2020
Request to Senate Leadership and Appropriations HELP Committees to Prioritize Supplemental Funding for ACF to Support National Child Abuse Hotline
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Susan Collins and Kyrsten Sinema asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Senate HELP Committee to prioritize supplemental funding for the Administration for Children and Families to support the immediate, pandemic-related needs of the National Child Abuse Hotline in the next Covid-19 relief package.

08/04/2020
Request to Labor Department and OSHA to Implement Whistleblower Protection Program During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

21 Senate Democrats wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia and OSHA Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt asking DOL and OSHA to implement an effective and reliable whistleblower protection program to protect marginalized workers from workplace retaliation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/04/2020
Request to USDA to Reverse Decision to End Waivers for Income Recertifications During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Maryland’s congressional delegation wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue expressing concern about USDA’s recent decision to stop renewing waivers allowing jurisdictions to forgo income recertifications during the Covid-19 pandemic. At the start of the pandemic, USDA removed bureaucratic obstacles to Americans access nutrition assistance by waiving income recertifications, and USDA’s decision to end the waivers could worsen the economic plight of Maryland and D.C. residents.

08/04/2020
Request to Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee to Recapitalize EIDL and Remove Caps Imposed by SBA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

11 senators asked the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee to recapitalize the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and EIDL Advance programs and remove the caps imposed by SBA in the next Covid-19 relief package.

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
Request to USDA to Extend Waivers for School Nutrition Programs Requested by Massachusetts DESE
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation wrote to USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps asking him to immediately extend the waivers for school nutrition programs requested by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education so that Massachusetts school districts can continue meeting their students’ basic needs during the 2020-2021 school year.

08/03/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership for Additional Time for State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal Governments to Use CARES Act Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for additional time for state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to use CARES Act funds to respond to the Covid-19 crisis. States are using these funds for a variety of initiatives responsive to the pandemic, so the delegation asked that the current deadline of Dec. 30, 2020, be extended.

08/03/2020
Request to VA for Transparency on Impact of Covid-19 on Minority Veterans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie requesting transparency from the the VA on the impact of Covid-19 on minority veterans.

08/03/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Include Prohibition on Arbitration Clauses in EIPs in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Eight Senate Democrats urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to include prohibitions on arbitration clauses in all forms of Economic Impact Payments in the next Covid-19 relief package.

08/03/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Funding for SAFER Grants and AFG Programs in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to include funding and flexibility for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants and Assistance to Firefighter Grants programs in the next Covid-19 relief package.

08/03/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Provide Substantial Funding for Workforce Development Programs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking them to provide substantial funding for workforce development programs, as the Senate has done during previous recessions.

08/03/2020
Request to USPS to Explain Recent Operational Changes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

Sen. Tammy Baldwin asked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to explain recent operational changes to USPS that have resulted in mail being left behind at distribution centers in Wisconsin and across the country. Baldwin noted that USPS provides a vital service for small businesses, seniors, and rural communities, one that is increasingly important during the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/03/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Incorporate Solutions Addressing Racial Disparities in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Maggie Hassan asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to incorporate solutions to address racial disparities and health inequities that have disproportionately affected communities of color during the Covid-19 pandemic in the next relief package.

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
Request to Trump to Reject Plans to Reduce Troop Levels in South Korea
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Testing

Sens. Maggie Hassan and Chris Coons wrote to President Trump expressing concern regarding reports that his administration is considering reducing U.S. troop levels in South Korea and urging Trump to reject any such plans. The senators stated that American service members stationed in the country play a vital role in keeping North Korean, Chinese, and Russian aggression in check. Moreover, Hassan and Coons noted that South Korea has contributed troops to every U.S. war since the Korean War, and that South Korea recently sent 700,000 Covid-19 test kits to the U.S. to help combat the pandemic.

07/31/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Include NICS Data Integrity Act in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

33 Democrats 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 the inclusion of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System Data Integrity Act in the next Covid-19 relief package.

07/31/2020
Request to Senate Majority Leader to Ensure Immigrants with ITIN Can Access Covid-Related Economic Assistance
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

27 Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging him to ensure that tax-paying immigrants who have Individual Tax Identification Numbers are able to access vital economic relief assistance provided by the CARES Act and any future Covid-19 relief legislation.

07/31/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Include Additional Funding for Health Care Providers in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to include additional funding for hospitals and healthcare providers in the next Covid-19 relief package.

07/31/2020
Request to Education Department to Rescind Interim Final Rule That Would Divert Emergency Aid Dollars from Public to Private Schools
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Democrats from Oregon’s congressional delegation wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos expressing concerns about the Education Department’s interim final rule interpreting the equitable services provision of the CARES Act. The delegation noted that ED misinterpreted the CARES Act in a way that would improperly divert federal emergency aid dollars intended for public schools to private school students. Under the agency’s interpretation, Oregon public schools would lose $11,310,291. The delegation asked DeVos to rescind her agency’s interim final rule so states may use these resources to reopen public schools.

07/31/2020
Request to State, DHS, and CDC to Support Team USA Athletes in Efforts to Qualify for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Michael Bennet, Mitt Romney, Jerry Moran, and Richard Blumenthal wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, and CDC Director Robert Redfield seeking their assistance in supporting Team USA athletes in their efforts to qualify for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic games. Team USA athletes and National Governing Bodies have been dramatically impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/31/2020
Request to Senate Leadership and Senate Appropriations Committee to Oppose Conditioning Covid-19 Relief Education Funds on In-Person School Reopenings
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

30 Senate Democrats asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the Senate Appropriations Committee to oppose conditioning education funds in the next Covid-19 relief package on reopening of elementary and secondary schools for in-person instruction.

07/31/2020
Request to DHS and ICE to Rectify Unjust Immigration and Detention Policies That Are Still Enforced During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism

Sen. Michael Bennet urged Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and ICE Deputy Director Matthew Albence to rectify unjust immigration enforcement and detention policies that DHS and the Trump administration continue to enforce during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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
Request to DEA to Establish Sensible Opioid Production Quotas in 2021
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Dick Durbin and John Kennedy wrote to Acting DEA Administrator Timothy Shea expressing concern about the opioid epidemic, as overdoses and deaths surge during the Covid-19 pandemic. Durbin and Kennedy urged DEA to continue tackling the opioid crisis by using authorities provided by Congress to establish sensible opioid production quotas in 2021. The senators urged DEA to carefully review the opioid production quota increases established in April 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and assess whether those levels strike an appropriate balance between preventing oversupply/diversion and ensuring the availability of certain medications used for ventilator patients.

07/30/2020
Request to Senate Leadership and Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee to Include Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Ron Wyden, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee to include the Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act in the next Covid-19 relief package.

07/30/2020
Request to Federal Reserve for Information About Vice Chair for Supervision’s Lobbying to Insert Regulatory Favors for Big Banks in Future Stimulus Legislation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles requesting information about Quarles’ lobbying to insert regulatory favors for big banks into future stimulus legislation. The letters to Powell and Quarles can be found here: https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/07.30.20%20Brown%20Warren%20letter%20to%20Powell.pdf; https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.07.30%20Letter%20to%20Quarles.pdf

07/30/2020
Request to Trump for Title 32 Extension for 500 Illinois National Guard Personnel
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Illinois’ congressional delegation wrote to President Trump expressing support for Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s July 17, 2020, letter requesting that a Title 32 extension for 500 Illinois National Guard Personnel be granted until at least Dec. 31, 2020, or preferably until the end of the FEMA Disaster Declaration for Covid-19.

07/30/2020
Request to USPS for Information on How Operational Changes Will Impact Quality of Service
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

Sens. Gary Peters, Chuck Schumer, Tom Carper, and Amy Klobuchar wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy seeking answers regarding operational changes at USPS that have the potential to affect the quality of service for all Americans.

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.

07/30/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Provide Support for Vets and Transitioning Service Members in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Gary Peters and Lisa Murkowski wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asking them to provide workforce development, employment, and economic support for veterans and transitioning service members in the next Covid-19 relief package.

07/29/2020
Request to Trump to Extend Funding for Colorado National Guard
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Colorado’s congressional delegation wrote to President Trump expressing support for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’s request for an extension of 502(f)(2)(A) of Title 32, U.S. Code, funding for the Colorado National Guard in their fight against Covid-19. The delegation asked Trump to extend this funding, which is set to expire on Aug. 21, 2020, so that Colorado can continue to take the steps necessary to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

07/29/2020
Request to Senate Majority Leader to Include Key Provisions Related to HCBS and Direct Service Providers in Future Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

29 Senate Democrats urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to include key provisions related to Medicaid home and community-based services and direct service providers in the House-passed HEROES Act in any future Covid-19 relief package.

07/29/2020
Request to Wells Fargo for Information About Alleged Mistreatment of Borrowers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Brian Schatz wrote to Wells Fargo CEO and President Charles Schart requesting information about recent reports that Wells Fargo has been placing borrowers who are not delinquent on their loans in mortgage forbearance programs without their consent. Warren and Schatz also accused Wells Fargo of putting consumers at risk of greater financial hardship amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn.

07/29/2020
Request to Trump to Expand Buy America Rules and Increase Federal Assistance for Local Infrastructure Projects
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management, State Issues

Sens. Tammy Baldwin, Gary Peters, Jeff Merkley, and Bernie Sanders urged President Trump to expand and enhance Buy America rules to prevent Chinese circumvention, and increase federal assistance to state and local governments for infrastructure projects. With over 30 million Americans out of work as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the senators stated that the country could not afford an infrastructure plan that supports Chinese state-owned enterprises at the expense of American workers.

07/29/2020
Request to HHS to Release Targeted Funding from Provider Relief Fund to Support Physician Training in Rural Areas
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Nine senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking HHS to support important physician training programs in rural areas by releasing approximately $100 million in targeted funding from the Provider Relief Fund established in the CARES Act.

07/29/2020
Request to USDA to Extend School Meal Program Waiver for Entire 2020-2021 School Year
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

36 senators wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue expressing support for the School Nutrition Association’s request for USDA to extend school meal program waivers for the 2020-2021 school year. The senators also asked USDA to make additional funds available to schools to assist with the cost of delivering meals to low-income students.

07/29/2020
Request to GAO to Review Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Development
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Angus King, Joe Manchin, Tom Carper, and Maria Cantwell wrote to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro asking GAO to perform a comprehensive review of methane emissions from oil and gas development, including prevention capabilities, emission measurements, enforcement of emission regulations, and estimates of foregone royalties associated with vented, flared, and leaked methane from federal leases. The senators noted that while the Covid-19 economic downturn could cause a temporary decline in carbon dioxide emissions, it could also increase methane emissions.

07/29/2020
Request to Education Department and USDA to Advise Low-Income Families in Nevada How to Connect with Low-Cost Internet Service
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Nevada’s congressional delegation wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting guidance on how best to connect low-income families in Nevada with low-cost internet service. The delegation noted that accessing low-cost broadband requires families currently on SNAP or Free and Reduced Lunch to show confirmation of their enrollment to internet service providers. However, some school districts in Nevada expressed concerns about releasing this information to ISPs because they do not want to violate FERPA.

07/29/2020
Request to Labor Department to Combat Organized Criminal Attempts to Undermine and Exploit Unemployment System and Delay Benefits
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Democrats from Nevada’s congressional delegation wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia asking the Labor Department to combat instances of criminal attempts to exploit and undermine the stability of the unemployment system and delay benefits. The Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation identified more than 100,000 applications flagged for potential fraud in Nevada.

07/29/2020
Request to HUD to Extend and Expand Eviction Protections for Renter Households During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris urged HUD Secretary Ben Carson to extend and expand eviction protections for renter households during the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/29/2020
Request to Senate Majority Leader to Extend UI Authorized in CARES Act Until Economic Crisis Ends
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requesting that the unemployment benefits authorized in the CARES Act be extended until the economy improves.

07/29/2020
Request to Senate Appropriations Committee to Include Funding to Modernize Federal Information Technology Systems in Next Covid-19 Appropriations Bill
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Six Senate Democrats asked the Senate Appropriations Committee to include additional funding to modernize federal information technology systems through the Technology Modernization Fund in the next Covid-19 supplemental appropriations bill.

07/29/2020
Request to NIH to Prioritize Research Focused on Impact of Covid-19 on Children and Adolescents
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Chris Coons and Joni Ernst wrote to NIH Director Francis Collins and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Director Diana Bianchi asking NIH to prioritize research focused on the impact of Covid-19 on children and adolescents.

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
Request to EPA Region 5 to Ensure Centreville, Ill., Residents Are Free from Flooding and Contaminated Water Issues
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin wrote to EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede asking for assistance in ensuring that Centreville, Ill., residents are free from the flooding and sanitary sewer issues that have plagued their community for decades. Duckworth and Durbin also requested EPA’s assistance in conducting drinking water testing and sampling for Centreville residents, as well as an investigation into the condition of the drinking water distribution system. The public health crisis Centreville is facing has been made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic hitting the city particularly hard.

07/28/2020
Request to Senate Leadership and Senate HELP Committee to Include Privacy Protections for Covid-19 Health Data in Next Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

13 Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee asking them to include common sense privacy protections for Covid-19 health data in the next Covid-19 stimulus package.

07/28/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Include Support for Farmers, Food Processors and Retailers, and Hunger Response Organizations in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

13 members of Congress wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asking them to include support for farmers, food processors and retailers, and hunger response organizations in the next Covid-19 relief package.

07/28/2020
Request to House Leadership to Pass National Suicide Hotline Designation Act
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Cory Gardner and Tammy Baldwin wrote to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to ask the House to pass the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S.2661). Gardner and Baldwin noted that the creation of a three-digit dialing code for the suicide hotline would help save the lives of those facing mental health emergencies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/28/2020
Request to Education Department to Rescind Rule Excluding Student Veterans from Accessing CARES Act Aid
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

13 Senate Democrats wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos expressing concerns with the Education Department’s interim final rule on student eligibility for emergency financial aid under the CARES Act, saying that it has a disproportionate and damaging impact on nearly 200,000 student veterans. The interim final rule excludes aid to a large number of students, particular student veterans who do not generally pursue Title IV aid because they access GI Bill benefits. The senators asked ED to immediately rescind the interim final rule and inform Congress on how the agency will ensure that veteran and military-connected students can access the same CARES Act resources as other students.

07/28/2020
Request to Census for Information About New Political Appointees at Census
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

Sens. Brian Schatz, Sherrod Brown, and Ron Wyden wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Census Director Steven Dillingham raising concerns about two recent political appointments at Census: Nathaniel Cogley (deputy director for policy) and Adam Korzeniewski (senior adviser to Cogley). The senators asked for additional information given conflicting reports about the scope of their new roles and specific duties in relation to the 2020 census. Given that census operations were delayed and complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and that Trump administration was accused of politically interfering in the count, the senators argued that the Census Bureau should not do anything that would further the appearance of political meddling.

07/28/2020
Request to Senate Leadership and Senate Appropriations Committee to Oppose Using Covid-19 Relief Funds to Build New FBI Headquarters
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Ben Cardin, Chris Van Hollen, Mark Warner, and Tim Kaine wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the Senate Appropriations Committee to express their opposition to the use of Covid-19 relief funds to construct new FBI headquarters in Washington, DC. The senators argued that such a project is irrelevant to advancing the country’s public health and economic recovery, and urged leadership and the committee to reject the Trump administration’s request to fund a new FBI headquarters building.

07/28/2020
Request to Education Department and the CDC for Correspondence Between Their Agencies and White House Regarding School Reopening Guidelines
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Education, Political Opportunism

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Andy Levin wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting correspondence between their agencies, the White House, or members or staff of the White House Coronavirus Task Force regarding CDC guidelines for educational settings. The letter came as public comments by Trump and Pence made it clear that the administration was interfering with the CDC’s public messaging and rushing to reopen schools.

07/28/2020
Request to FEMA to Centralize and Stabilize the Supply and Distribution Chains for PPE
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation wrote to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor to reiterate their ongoing concerns regarding access to PPE in Massachusetts and across the U.S. The delegation asked FEMA to centralize and stabilize the supply and distribution chains for all equipment necessary to protect frontline workers as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.

07/28/2020
Request to Fed to Reverse Decision to Allow Banks to Continue to Pay Dividends
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Brian Schatz wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles expressing concern about the Fed’s sensitivity analyses that accompanied recent bank stress tests, its opaque decision-making, and its failure to take necessary steps to keep the country’s banking system stable in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Warren and Schatz urged the Fed to reverse its decision to allow banks to continue to pay their dividends, and requested greater transparency regarding the banking sector.

07/28/2020
Request to Walmart for Information About Attendance Policies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon requesting information about whether Walmart’s attendance policies provide accurate information regarding workers’ rights under federal, state, and local laws (where relevant) to take time off without punishment. Warren noted that workers are being disciplined and fired for legally protected workplace absences, such as leave related to pregnancy or qualifying disability-related absences, something that is particularly concerning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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
Request to FEMA to Support School Systems as They Plan to Reopen in Fall of 2021
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Federal Management

The Senate Homeland Security Committee wrote to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor requesting that he support U.S. school systems as they plan to reopen this fall. Given the wide-range of challenges facing school districts across the country, the committee asked FEMA to provide support to schools under the emergency declarations for the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/27/2020
Request to HHS for Additional Funding for Community Health Centers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

A bicameral group of Democrats urged HHS Secretary Alex Azar to provide additional funding to the country’s community health centers during the Covid-19 pandemic. HHS distributed a third round of funding from the Provider Relief Fund to hospitals and other safety net providers, but CHCs were largely excluded.

07/27/2020
Request to Trump to Grant TPS to Eligible Venezuelans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

23 Senate Democrats wrote to President Trump asking him to immediately provide Temporary Protected Status for eligible Venezuelans unable to safely return to their country. The senators noted that in addition to suffering under a politically oppressive regime and experiencing economic deprivation, the Covid-19 pandemic has overwhelmed the public health system in Venezuela.

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
Request to Senate Leadership to Increase Funding for Full-Service Community Schools in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Sherrod Brown, Chris Van Hollen, Dick Durbin, Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking them to include increased funding for the Full-Service Community Schools program in the next Covid-19 relief package, and include language clearly stating expenditures related to the implementation and maintenance of community schools be an allowable use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding.

07/27/2020
Request to Senate Judiciary Chairman to Schedule Hearing and Markup on John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns

Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Chairman Lindsey Graham to expeditiously schedule a hearing and a markup on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Existing barriers to voting have been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, threatening to further restrict Americans’ ability to vote.

07/27/2020
Request to USPS for Information on How Operational Changes at USPS Will Impact Voting by Mail
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

Sen. Kamala Harris wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy asking for information on how operational changes reportedly imposed by him will affect the ability of Americans to rely on USPS to vote by mail in the upcoming elections.

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.

07/24/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Include Modifications to the Medicare Accelerated and Advanced Payments Program in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

16 Senate Democrats urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to include modifications to the Medicare Accelerated and Advanced Payments program in the next Covid-19 relief package. The program has provided health care providers across the country with financial assistance to help ensure liquidity as revenues declined and Covid-19 response expenses increased.

07/24/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Frontline Workers in Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

18 Senate Democrats asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to include frontline workers in the next Covid-19 relief package by amending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. These provisions, the senators argued, would ensure that individuals who served the public during the pandemic receive student loan forgiveness.

07/24/2020
Request to USDA to Help Shellfish Producers During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

15 members of Congress wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue expressing concerns that many shellfish producers, including clam and oyster harvesters and processors, have not received assistance from USDA during the Covid-19 pandemic. The members asked Perdue to consider using funds appropriated to USDA by Congress to establish a short-term purchasing program for shellfish products, including farmed and wild-caught oyster and clam products, as part of the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Section 32 authority.

07/24/2020
Request to VA to Develop Coordinated National Strategy to Support Homeless Vets During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

A bipartisan group of eight senators wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie urging the VA to organize a coordinated national strategy to support homeless veterans during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to guide local efforts.

07/24/2020
Request to DOI, SAMHSA, IHS, and BIE to Address American Indian and Alaskan Native Students’ Mental Health During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Vulnerable Populations

Eight Senate Democrats wrote to Indian Health Service Director Rear Adm. Michael Weahkee, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney, BIE Director Tony Dearman, BIE Office of Indian Education Acting Director Ruth Ryder, and Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Elinore McCance-Katz to express concern for the well-being of American Indian and Alaskan Native youth during the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators asked DOI, IHS, BIE, and SAMHSA consider these students’ mental health needs and promote interagency coordination on this issue.

07/24/2020
Request to CDC to Resolve Disparities Between State and CDC Covid-19 Guidelines As They Impact Child-Care Provider Industry
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Communications Management, State and Federal Coordination

Rep. Joseph Morrelle and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield urging the CDC to collaborate with the child-care provider industry and state- and local-level stakeholders to resolve disparities between the CDC and state health guidelines regarding Covid-19.

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.

07/23/2020
Request to Senate Leadership, Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senate HELP Committee to Exclude For-Profit Colleges from Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

10 Senate Democrats asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and chairs and ranking members of the Senate Appropriations and Senate HELP Committees to exclude for-profit colleges from emergency funding intended for higher education institutions in the next Covid-19 relief package.

07/23/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Substantial Funding to Protect Amtrak’s Capital Funding
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

12 Senate Democrats asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to include substantial funding to protect Amtrak’s funding, especially for projects in the Northeast Corridor, in the next appropriations bill.

07/23/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Include Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Nine members of Congress urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to include the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, S.3599 and H.R.6788, in the next Covid-19 relief package.

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
Request to FTC to Ensure Consumers Are Protected from Covid-19 Antibody Test Scams
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons asking the FTC to take steps to ensure consumers are protected from Covid-19 antibody test scams.

07/22/2020
Request to FTC to Protect Workers from Enforcement of Non-Compete Agreements During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Chris Murphy wrote to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons urging his agency to protect workers suffering undue harm from the imposition and enforcement of non-compete agreements during the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/22/2020
Request to Department of the Interior to Issue Guidance on Mask and PPE Policies for Employees
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sens. Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley, and Elizabeth Warren wrote to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt urging the Department of tye Interior to immediately issue guidance on mask and PPE policies consistent with CDC guidelines for all agency employees. Wyden, Merkley, and Warren also asked that agency employees follow state guidelines and cooperate with Covid-19 contact tracing.

07/22/2020
Request to EPA to Withdraw Proposed Rule That Would Hurt Disadvantaged Communities and Worsen Health Outcomes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee wrote to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging the EPA to withdraw its Dec. 2019 proposed rule, “Modernizing the Administrative Exhaustion Requirement for Permitting Decisions and Streamlining Procedures for Permit Appeals.” The committee argued that the proposed rule attacks ability of low-income communities and communities of color to have a meaningful voice in environmental projects that impact their health and noted that many of those who would be most harmed by the proposed rule are already suffering due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/22/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Extend CARES Act’s Expanded Unemployment Benefits in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to extend the CARES Act’s expanded unemployment benefits in the next Covid-19 relief package.

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
Request to Trump to Reverse Decision to Leave WHO
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

34 Senate Democrats wrote to President Trump expressing concern over his decision to officially withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization and urging him to reverse this decision and commit to engaging with WHO and Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/21/2020
Request to Pence and FEMA to Ensure Adequate PPE and Sanitizing Supplies for Election Workers and Voters in November
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Medical Supplies and PPE

31 Senate Democrats wrote to Vice President Mike Pence and FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor urging them to ensure that there is adequate PPE and sanitizing supplies for poll workers, election workers, and voters ahead of the general election.

07/21/2020
Request to Navy for Information on NAVSEA Decision to Rescind Safety Policy for Employees at PNSY, Transition Process for High-Risk Employees to Return to Work
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues

The New Hampshire and Maine congressional delegations wrote to Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite requesting additional information regarding Naval Sea Systems Command’s decision to rescind the weather and safety policy for employees at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the transition process for high-risk employees to return to work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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 HUD to Quickly Disburse CDBG Funding
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen wrote to HUD Secretary Ben Carson requesting that supplemental Community Development Block Grant funding appropriated by Congress be immediately disbursed to assist those suffering due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/21/2020
Request to Pence for Information About Research and Public Education Efforts Regarding Long-Term Health Impacts of Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Tina Smith, Tammy Baldwin, and Bernie Sanders wrote to Vice President Pence seeking information about the research, surveillance, and education efforts underway regarding the long-term health impacts of Covid-19.

07/21/2020
Request to Trump to Allow CDC Public Health Experts to Appear Before Congressional Committees, Provide Advice Regarding School Reopenings
Source: Sen. Angus King
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Education, Political Opportunism

Sen. Angus King wrote to President Trump asking him to allow public health experts from CDC to testify before congressional committees. King noted that advice from public health experts is necessary to determine school reopening procedures in the fall.

07/21/2020
Request to IRS to Give Employers Flexibility During the Covid-19 Pandemic With Regards to Responsibility Requirements Under ACA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Todd Young, John Barrasso, Joe Manchin, and Kyrsten Sinema asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to consider safe harbors and flexibility measures regarding compliance with employer-shared responsibility requirements under the ACA as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact businesses across the U.S.

07/21/2020
Request to DHS and USCIS to Save USCIS Employees From Unnecessary Furloughs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The Senate Appropriations Committee asked Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Endlow to save USCIS employees from unnecessary furloughs.

07/21/2020
Request to Congressional Leaders for Increased Federal Education and Health Funding Amid Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Advocacy organizations
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.

07/20/2020
Request to HUD, USDA, and FHFA to Ensure Renter Protections are Enforced During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

28 Senate Democrats urged HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, and FHFA Director Mark Calabria to ensure that relevant CARES Act provisions and other renter protections are enforced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/20/2020
Request to Trump to Use Congressional Funds to Address PPE Shortages and Problems with Testing and Contact Tracing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE, Testing

The Senate Appropriations Committee urged President Trump to use the resources Congress provided the federal government to address problems with nationwide PPE shortage, testing, and contact tracing.

07/20/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Condition Direct Assistance to States and Localities on Having Mask Mandates
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking them to include in the next Covid-19 relief bill an amendment, attached to the letter, that would condition direct assistance to states and local governments on having mask mandates.

07/20/2020
Request to Treasury and SBA to Issue New Guidance Clarifying That Recipients of PPP Loans Who Returned Them Are Allowed to Reapply
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Communications Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Mike Rounds asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza to issue updated guidance clarifying that small business and non-profits who previously returned their Paycheck Protection Program loans are allowed to reapply, now that Congress has updated the program.

07/20/2020
Request to HHS to Allow Public Health Experts to Lead Covid-19 Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar expressing concerns regarding the Trump administration’s efforts to sideline public health officials who should be leading the nation’s Covid-19 response. The committee asked Azar to either “stand up to protect public health or step aside as the nation’s top health official.”

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
Request to USPS for Information on Operational Changes That May Impact Quality of Service
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The Senate Homeland Security Committee wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy seeking information about operational changes at USPS that could affect quality of service for Americans.

07/17/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Include Funding for SUD Prevention and Treatment in Next Covid-19 Legislative Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asking them to provide additional funding for substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts as part of any future Covid-19 legislative package.

07/17/2020
Request to Pence and White House Coronavirus Task Force for Explanation About Recent Change in Covid-19 Reporting Protocol for Hospitals
Source: Sen. Angus King
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Political Opportunism

Sen. Angus King wrote to Vice President Mike Pence and White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Deborah Birx asking them to explain why the administration now requires hospitals to report Covid-19 data directly to HHS rather than to the CDC.

07/17/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Include Support for Fisheries Ineligible for CFAP and NOAA Section 12005 Funds in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

Connecticut’s congressional delegation wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asking them to provide at least $500 million in fisheries assistance, specifically targeted towards producers ineligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program or NOAA Section 12005 funds, in the next Covid-19 relief package.

07/17/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Include Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Tom Carper, John Kennedy, Rand Paul, and Gary Peters asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to include the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act in the next Covid-19 relief package. The law would provide federal agencies the tools they need to curb waste and fraude involving stimulus payments.

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 DHS and ICE for Information on How It Is Protecting Individuals in Custody, Staff Members, and Surrounding Community from Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine wrote to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence to follow up on a June 26, 2020, letter regarding detainee transfers and conditions in ICE detention facilities in Farmville and Bowling Green, Va. The senators expressed concerns that there are now 287 confirmed cases of Covid-19 amongst detainees, approximately 80 percent of the detainees held at Farmville, and 26 confirmed cases amongst staff. Warner and Kaine requested information on how ICE is protecting the health of individuals in its custody, of staff members, and of the surrounding community.

07/16/2020
Request to HHS for Information on Deal Struck with Gilead for Remdesivir
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

Six Senate Democrats wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting information on the deal the Trump Administration struck with Gilead for Remdesivir, and what steps the administration is taking to ensure sufficient supply of the drug.

07/16/2020
Request to Defense Department to Extend Authorization of New Hampshire National Guard to Continue Fight Against Covid-19 in State
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper to extend the authorization of the New Hampshire National Guard to work under the director of the New Hampshire governor and continue its fight against Covid-19 in the state through Dec. 31, 2020.

07/16/2020
Request to Senate Leadership, Senate Appropriations, Senate Judiciary, and Senate Homeland Security Committees to Provide Emergency Funding to USCIS
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

15 Senate Democrats asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Senate Homeland Security Committee to provide emergency funding to USCIS to prevent thousands of employees from being furloughed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/16/2020
Request to USPS for Information on Preparations for Upcoming Election and Influx of Election Mail Due to Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns

Five Senate Democrats wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy requesting information on steps USPS has taken or plans to take to ensure the agency is prepared for the influx of election mail cause by the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/16/2020
Request to HHS and CDC to Develop and Implement Nationwide Covid-19 Wastewater Surveillance Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked HHS Secretary Alex Azar and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to expedite efforts to implement a nationwide Covid-19 wastewater surveillance program. Feinstein noted that testing wastewater has long been successfully used as a method for early detection of polio and cholera outbreaks. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, wastewater surveillance is being implemented in Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands, and communities in California, Massachusetts, and Arizona have begun exploring this approach as well.

07/16/2020
Request to 15 Major Grocery Store Chains to Implement CDC Recommendations for Workplace Safety and Restore Pandemic Pay
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

13 Senate Democrats wrote to the CEOs of 15 major grocery chains asking them to restore pandemic pay and implement CDC recommendations for workplace safety for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic. The letter followed a national press conference with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and Sens. Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren. UFCW announced that there have now been 93 grocery worker deaths and 12,405 Covid-19 infections or exposures among its union’s members. The letters to the 15 grocery store chains (Ahold Delhaize, Albertsons, Aldi, Costco, Dierbergs, Kroger, Meijer, Publix, Schnucks, Smart & Final, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Wegmans, and Whole Foods) can be found here: https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/AHOLDDELHAIZEc.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/ALBERTSONSGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/ALDIGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/COSTCOGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf; brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/DIERBERGSGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/KROGERGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/MEIJERGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/PUBLIXGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/SCHNUCKSGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/SMART&FINALGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/SPROUTSGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf; https://www.ufcw.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/61/files/2020/07/TRADERJOESGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/WALMARTGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/WEGMANSGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf; https://www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/WHOLEFOODSGroceryStoresPandemicPayLetterJuly162020.pdf

07/16/2020
Request to Education Deaprtment to Redistribute HEER Funds from Massachusetts Higher Ed Institutions to Under-Resourced Institutions
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to redistribute CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief funds from Massachusetts institutions of higher education to under-resourced institutions in the commonwealth, consistent with her recommendation to college and university presidents in an April 9, 2020, letter.

07/16/2020
Request to Senate Majority Leader to Include Additional Funding for MTA and NY/NJ Port Authority in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to include additional relief funding for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in upcoming Covid-19 relief legislation.

07/16/2020
Request to Pence to Direct Federal Agencies to Form Contingency Plans for Natural Disasters During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The House Energy and Commerce Committee asked Vice President Mike Pence to direct federal agencies to form contingency plans for storms, floods, fires, extreme heat, and other climate events this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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 Labor Deaprtment to Withdraw Proposed Rule Discouraging Retirement Plan Fiduciaries from Considering ESG Criteria in their Investment Decisions Relating to ERISA-Governed Retirement Plans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

13 Senate Democrats wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia expressing concern with the Labor Department’s proposal discouraging retirement plan fiduciaries from considering environmental, social, or governance criteria in their investment decisions relating to ERISA-governed retirement plans. The senators asked the agency to withdraw this proposed rule and refocus its efforts on pressing matters facing U.S. workers in light of Covid-19.

07/15/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Funding in Next Covid-19 Relief Package for Vaccine Infrastructure
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vaccines and Treatments

A bipartisan group of 27 senators asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to include at least $5.6 billion in funding in the next Covid-19 relief package to develop and support vaccine infrastructure to ensure that when the vaccine becomes available, it can be readily deployed across the U.S., particularly to high-risk populations.

07/15/2020
Request to Trump to Fully Implement DPA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Presient Trump to fully implement the Defense Production Act to address supply chain problems and increase the production and distribution of testing supplies, medical equipment, and PPE.

07/15/2020
Request to CBP to Implement GAO’s Recommendations and Improve Oversight Monitoring Procedures in Light of Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism, Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Judiciary Committee wrote to Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan expressing concern that CBP mismanaged funds appropriated by Congress to improve medical care for migrants and failed to report all deaths in custody. GAO published a report revealing that some CBP officers failed to monitor children for signs of medical distress, and that they did not implement CDC’s recommendations for improving care for those in custody, such as monitoring migrants with respiratory symptoms. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the committee also expressed alarm about reports that CBP dismissed CDC’s recommendation to implement a flu vaccination program for detained migrants in their care. The committee asked CBP to implement recommendations found in GAO’s report on the agency and to improve its oversight and monitoring procedures.

07/15/2020
Request to CMS and CDC to Begin Collecting and Publicly Releasing Demographic Data on Nursing Home Residents and Staff Diagnosed with Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bob Casey, Ron Wyden, and Patty Murray urged CMS Administrator Seema Verma and CDC Director Robert Redfield to immediately collect and release demographic data on residents and workers on nursing homes who are diagnosed with Covid-19. Given the high number of Covid-19 infections and deaths in long-term care facilities, the senators stated that it was critical that the data collected and released by CMS and CDC include demographic information such as race, ethnicity, age, sex, primary language, and disability status.

07/15/2020
Request to EPA to Better Monitor and Address Poor Air Quality in Chelsea, Mass.
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Ayanna Pressley wrote to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler asking his agency to better monitor and address poor air quality in Chelsea, Mass. A major industrial hub, Chelsea has the highest rate of Covid-19 infection in Massachusetts.

07/15/2020
Request to HHS and USPS to Modernize Electronic Health Record Systems
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Maggie Hassan wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy asking them to modernize electronic health record (EHR) systems, as pandemic response efforts like Covid-19 contact tracing have been undermined by inaccurate patient-to-medical record matching.

07/15/2020
Request to Senate Leadership for Increased Support for Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Industry in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

Twelve Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking them to increase support for outdoor recreation and tourism jobs in the next Covid-19 stimulus package.

07/15/2020
Request to Stop & Shop to Reverse Decision to Discontinue Hazard Pay for Workers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Massachusetts’s congressional delegation wrote to Stop & Shop CEO Gordon Reid urging him to reconsider his decision to discontinue hazard pay for his stores’ frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/15/2020
Request to SIGPR to Investigate Lobbyists Affiliated with Trump Who Are Lobbying on Behalf of Clients Seeking or Receiving Covid-19 Relief Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Trump Family Business

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recover (SIGPR) Brian Miller urging him to investigate lobbyists with connections to President Trump’s campaigns, inaugural committee, transition team, or his administration that have been lobbying the federal government on behalf of clients applying for or receiving Covid-19 federal aid.

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 Defense Department and HHS for Information on Domestic Production of PPE and Medical Equipment
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce, House Committee on Financial Services, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, House Committee on Armed Services, and House Committee on Homeland Security wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and HHS Secretary Alex Azar expressing concern that the Trump administration’s efforts to increase the domestic production of PPE and medical equipment is fragmented and uncoordinated. The committee asked Esper and Azar for clarification on production efforts and to ensure greater transparency into the activities of the administration.

07/14/2020
Request to SSA to Suspend Processing CDRs and Prioritize Covid-19 Response and Public Health
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Sherrod Brown and Bob Casey wrote to SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul asking him to suspend processing Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) and to prioritize Covid-19 public health and safety over administrative paperwork needed to carry out SSA’s program integrity work.

07/14/2020
Request to SSA for Information on Reopening Plans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The Senate Homeland Security Committee wrote to SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul requesting information on his agency’s plans for reopening and returning federal employees to their normal duty stations amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/14/2020
Request to HHS for Answers to Questions Regarding the Administration’s Failure to Address Racial Disparities in Health Care and Health Outcomes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar for answers to questions regarding the Trump administration’s failure to take appropriation action to address racial disparities in healthcare and health outcomes. Warren and Pressley asked HHS to provide to Congress its 2017 and 2019 biannual reports on Minority Health Activities, as required by the ACA, and to provide the latest reports produced by HHS’s six sub-agencies for the deputy assistant secretary for minority health. Warren and Pressley also requested updates on ASPR’s efforts to reach the goals laid out in a 2015 report to Congress on minority health, and to provide an update on the agency’s efforts related to Covid-19.

07/14/2020
Request to FTC for Information on Efforts to Protect Seniors from Covid-19 Contact-Tracing Scams
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Jerry Moran and Amy Klobuchar wrote to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons expressing concerns about the recent emergence of Covid-19 contact tracing scams targeting vulnerable seniors. The senators asked FTC for information on its current efforts to ensure seniors are protected from scammers during the pandemic.

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 Trump to Extend Funding for Nevada National Guard Through Dec. 31, 2020
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues

Nevada’s congressional delegation wrote to President Trump requesting an extension of 502(f)(2)(A) of Title 32, U.S. Code funding for the Nevada National Guard in support of the fight against Covid-19 through Dec. 31, 2020.

07/13/2020
Request to Senate Majority Leader to Include Funding for State and Local Governments, Equal to HEROES Act Amounts, in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Thirty-seven Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asking him to support funding for state and local governments, equal to the levels included in the HEROES Act, in future Covid-19 relief legislation. The senators also asked McConnell to work with them to provide new funding to state and local governments struggling to pay first responders, as well as flexibility in the use of those funds.

07/13/2020
Request to Trump to Rescind SEVP Guidance by ICE and Consult with Schools, States, and Public Health Officials Before Making Changes to Visa and Travel Restrictions
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism

Connecticut’s congressional delegation wrote to President Trump asking him to rescind the Student and Exchange Visitor Program guidance issued by USCIS, and that in future, he consult with schools, states, and public health officials before implementing changes to any visa and travel restrictions affecting international students, scholars, and educators ahead of the upcoming Fall semester.

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.

07/10/2020
Request to Fed and Treasury to Provide More Assistance to State and Local Governments
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Chris Van Hollen, and Catherine Cortez Masto wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin requesting more federal assistance to state and local governments.

07/10/2020
Request to ICE to Modify SEVP Guidance and Provide Flexibility to Higher Ed Institutions and International Students
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris wrote to Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence urging ICE to modify the July 6, 2020, Student and Visitor Exchange Program (SEVP) guidance and provide maximum flexibility to higher education institutions and international students.

07/10/2020
Request to Senate Majority Leader to Provide Financial Relief to Hospitals Struggling to Stay Afloat During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asking Congress to provide financial relief to hospitals struggling to stay afloat due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In her letter, Gillibrand called for Medicare accelerated/advanced payment program loan forgiveness for hospitals across New York.

07/10/2020
Request to Facebook to Combat Misinformation on Its Platform
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Michael Bennet and Kamala Harris wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to combat misinformation on its platform, including about Covid-19, and address longstanding concerns about the ways in which Facebook undermines civil rights and democracy.

07/10/2020
Request to HUD to Extend Deadline for Housing Counselor Certification
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Fourteen Senate Democrats wrote to HUD Secretary Ben Carson urging him to extend an Aug. 1, 2020, deadline for housing counselor certification by at least one year in light of logistical challenges caused by Covid-19 and the increased importance of housing counseling services.

07/10/2020
Request to Defense for Financial Relief from Health Care Premiums for National Guard Members Active Under Title 32
Source: Sen. Jon Tester
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Jon Tester wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper asking for financial relief from health care premiums for National Guard members who were active under Title 32 and responding to Covid-19.

07/10/2020
Request to Senate Banking Committee to Hold Another Hearing on Judy Shelton’s Nomination to Fed Board of Governors
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

Twelve Senate Banking Committee Democrats wrote to Committee Chair Mike Crapo urging him to hold another hearing on Dr. Judy Shelton’s nomination to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors before considering a markup of her nomination. The senators expressed concern about Shelton’s views and her ability to oversee the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

07/10/2020
Request to FCC for Information on Connected Care Pilot Program and to Consider Impact on Rural Areas
Source: Sen. Jon Tester
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, State Issues

Sen. Jon Tester wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to request more information on the selection process for the FCC’s new Connected Care Pilot Program, and to urge the FCC to consider the impact this initiative would have on rural areas, especially during the Covid-19 crisis.

07/10/2020
Request to Brooks Brothers to Consider Severance and Health Care Benefits for Laid-Off Workers at Southwick Facility
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and Rep. Lori Trahan, wrote to Brooks Brothers Group Chairman and CEO Claudio Del Vecchio asking Brooks Brothers to give full and fair consideration to the proposal by UNITE HERE Local 187 for severance and health care benefits for workers at the Southwick Facility. The request came after Brooks Brothers announced on May 15, 2020, that the facility would close permanently on or after July 20 and that 413 employees would be laid off due to financial challenges exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/09/2020
Request to Education, HHS, and CDC to Issue Guidance to Help Schools Safely Reopen
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Education

Rep. Katie Porter and Sen. Kamala Harris wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and CDC Director Robert Redfield expressing disappointment about the lack of guidance available for school districts as they face uncertain reopenings this summer and fall. Porter and Harris asked ED, HHS, and CDC to issue guidance, with the input of public health experts, epidemiologists, teachers, parents, and students, to help schools safely reopen when they can do so.

07/09/2020
Request to Massachusetts Colleges and Universities to Cooperate with Census Bureau’s Request for Directory Info for Off-Campus Students
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, State Issues

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation wrote to presidents and chancellors of colleges and universities in Massachusetts urging them to cooperate with the Census Bureau’s recent request for directory information for off-campus students.

07/09/2020
Request to DHS to Consider How U.S.-Canada Border Restrictions May Be Clarified or Adjusted to Address Concerns of Cross-Border Communities
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, State Issues

Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow wrote to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf requesting information about the U.S. government’s implementation of U.S.-Canada border restrictions at land ports of entry due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators urged DHS to consider the impacts of these restrictions and consider how how restrictions may be clarified or adjusted to address the concerns of cross-border communities as DHS works with the Canadian government to evaluate border restrictions.

07/09/2020
Request to ICE and DHS to Allow International Students Who Cannot Attend In-Person Classes Due to Pandemic to Remain in U.S.
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism

A bicameral group of 98 Democrats wrote to Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence and Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf expressing concern regarding ICE’s modifications to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s requirements for international students. The changes would essentially force schools to resume in-person classes in the middle of a pandemic to keep their international students in the U.S. The members asked ICE and DHS to allow international students who cannot attend in-person classes due to the Covid-19 pandemic to remain in the country.

07/09/2020
Request to OPM and OMB to Issue New Guidance on Returning to Worksites During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

Sens. Chris Van Hollen, Ben Cardin, Mark Warner, and Tim Kaine wrote to Acting OPM Director Michael Rigas and Acting OMB Director Russell Vought opposing plans that would require many federal employees in the National Capital Region to return to their offices. The senators urged OPM and OMB to issue new guidance to better protect the federal workforce and surrounding communities from the spread of Covid-19.

07/09/2020
Request to Gov. Hogan to Rescind Directive to Maryland State Board of Elections and Issue New Guidance
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Elections and Campaigns, State Issues

Maryland’s congressional delegation wrote to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan expressing concern regarding his directive to the State Board of Elections on how to proceed with the Nov. 3 general election. The delegation called on Hogan to rescind the directive and issue new guidance designed to maximize voter safety and participation by mailing ballots for the general election to all registered voters, as was done in the primary.

07/09/2020
Request to Comptroller of the Currency for Clarification on Role Played by State and Local Officials in Working With Banks to Provide Relief to Homeowners and Mortgage Holders During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, State and Federal Coordination

Seven Senate Democrats wrote to Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks expressing concern regarding his office’s Bulletin 2020-62, and requesting clarification regarding the role played by state and local officials in working with banks to provide relief to homeowners and mortgage holders during the Covid-19 crisis.

07/09/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Funds for International Response to Covid-19 in Next Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

32 senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer requesting significant foreign assistance to aid the international response to Covid-19 in future Covid-19 relief legislation.

07/09/2020
Request to Trump to Reverse CEQ’s Changes to NEPA Regulations
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

A bicameral group of members of Congress wrote to President Trump opposing the Council on Environmental Quality’s final rule to fundamentally change National Environmental Policy Act regulations. The members noted that the proposed rule would exacerbate harmful environmental impacts on disadvantaged communities, including the same communities currently disproportionately impacted by Covid-19, and asked Trump to reverse CEQ’s changes to NEPA regulations.

07/09/2020
Request to USDA for Information on Inclusion of Kosher and Halal Foods in Farmers to Families Food Box Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Debbie Stabenow asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for information on what USDA is doing to include kosher and halal food in the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

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
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Financial Support for Public Transit in Future Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

24 Senate Democrats asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to include significant financial support for public transit in any future Covid-19 relief package. The senators requested that the nation’s train systems remain fully operational by providing an additional $32 billion in emergency supplemental funding for public transportation through the end of 2021.

07/08/2020
Request to DHS to Reverse Changes to Student and Exchange Visitor Program
Source: Sen. Angus King
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism

Sen. Angus King wrote to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf expressing concern about ICE ending temporary exemptions for non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 visas for students taking a full online course load due to Covid-19 during the fall semester. King argued that these changes to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program force schools to resume in-person learning as a blanket policy, since international students on F-1 and M-1 visas would not otherwise be allowed in the U.S. and urged Wolf to reverse these changes and allow an extension of waivers during the fall.

07/08/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Provide Relief for State UI Programs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Minnesota’s congressional delegation asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to provide relief for state Unemployment Insurance programs so these programs are able to continue providing support for the millions of American workers who have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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 Clarify Obligations Group Health Plans and Insurers Have to Provide Robust and Comprehensive Coverage for Covid-19 Testing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Testing

The chairs of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Education and Labor Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, Senate HELP Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to express concern regarding the Trump administration’s implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act. The committees asked HHS, DOL, and the Treasury to clarify the obligations that group health plans and insurers have to provide robust and comprehensive coverage for Covid-19 testing.

07/07/2020
Request to USDA to Change Eligibility Requirements for CFAP
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Washington state’s congressional delegation wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to express concerns with USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The delegation asked USDA to change its eligibility requirements for specialty crop growers so that more speciality crop applications to CFAP from Washington state will be included in the program.

07/07/2020
Request to VA for Update on EHRM Program Process
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie requesting an update on the VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization program, including corrective actions taken to address recommendations included in VA OIG and GAO reports.

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.

07/06/2020
Request to VA for Information on Hazard Pay Determinations and Staff Retention Incentives During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

19 Senate Democrats wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie expressing concerns that VA frontline medical workers lack adequate PPE and hazard pay. The senators asked for information regarding the agency’s process for determining hazard pay and staff retention incentives.

07/06/2020
Request to DHS for Information About Covid-19 Safety Protocols and Release Eligibility for Immigrants in ICE Detention
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation wrote to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf expressing concern about the impact of Covid-19 in immigration detention facilities. The delegation expressed concern about Strafford County House of Corrections in New Hampshire, which has a contract with ICE to hold immigrant detainees. The delegation requested answers to questions about procedures, protocols, and criteria ICE has established to determine detainees’ eligibility for release; how many individuals have been released as a result of the Covid-19 crisis; and what steps ICE has taken to ensure that contracted facilities have access to adequate testing.

07/06/2020
Request to Trump to Reject Anti-Science Rhetoric and Pursue Data-Driven and Fact-Based Public Health Measures
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

The Senate HELP Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to President Trump expressing concern about his “anti-science” rhetoric and its impact on public health during the Covid-19 pandemic. The committees asked Trump to reject anti-science rhetoric and prioritize actions that rely upon facts and data-driven analysis when fighting Covid-19.

07/03/2020
Request to USCIS and DHS to End Policies and Practices That Led to Budget Shortfall
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin wrote to Acting USCIS Chief Ken Cuccinelli and Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf criticizing the decision to send furlough notices to as many as 13,400 USCIS employees due to a $1.2 billion shortfall. The senators asked USCIS and DHS to rescind harmful policies and practices that caused budget shortfalls in the first place, rather than blaming the Covid-19 pandemic or furloughing employees.

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
Request to HHS to Disburse Remaining Provider Relief Fund Monies to Rural Health Care Providers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

49 members of Congress wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan expressing concern about the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on rural hospitals. The members asked HHS to make remaining Provider Relief Fund monies available to rural healthcare providers, requested a briefing on how the allocation so far has benefited rural providers, and asked for plans for distributing the remaining funds.

07/02/2020
Request to Senate Leadership and Senate Agriculture Committee to Include Direct Payments to Chicken Farmers in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

A bipartisan group of 19 senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the Senate Agriculture Committee requesting that any future Covid-19 stimulus package include direct payments to chicken farmers who have experienced revenue losses of at least 5 percent as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/02/2020
Request to IL Attorney General to Protect Illinois Students from Predatory For-Profit Colleges
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Education, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Sen. Dick Durbin wrote to Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul urging his office to protect Illinois students from fraud perpetuated by for-profit colleges. Durbin emphasized the long history of for-profit colleges taking advantage of people during times of economic uncertainty by luring students into massive debt for worthless degrees. Durbin noted signs of a for-profit college “resurgence” during the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and expressed concerns about for-profit colleges receiving CARES Act funds without adequate protections for students and taxpayers.

07/02/2020
Request to Senate Majority Leader to Bring HEROES Act to Floor Before Senate Recesses
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

16 Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asking him to bring the HEROES Act to the floor for consideration before the Senate recesses.

07/02/2020
Request to State Department to Ensure Americans Living Overseas Can Safely Vote During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns

13 Senate Democrats wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking the State Department to ensure that Americans living overseas can safely vote during the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/02/2020
Request to AT&T for Information on Plans to Layoff Workers During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Eight Senate Democrats requested that AT&T CEO John Stankey provide information about his company’s plans to eliminate more than 3,400 union-represented technician and clerical jobs and 1,300 retail jobs. While the Covid-19 pandemic has hit some sectors particularly hard, the senators pointed out that AT&T reported first quarter growth in its mobility division and fiber broadband services.

07/02/2020
Request to FEMA to Authorize Increasing Federal Cost Share of Public Assistance Program Expenses to 100 Percent
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Maryland’s congressional delegation wrote to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor requesting the authorization of increasing the federal cost share for eligible Public Assistance program expenses to 100 percent. The members discussed how reimbursing Maryland for 100 percent of eligible incurred costs would benefit the state’s residents.

07/02/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Provision in Next Covid-19 Relief Package Clarifying Waiver of Maximum Allotment Provisions for CSBG Funds Provided by CARES Act
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

A bipartisan group of 16 senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressing concern about the “maximum allotment” provision included in Section 675B(b)(3) of the Community Services Block Grant Act, which has significantly limited the supplemental CSBG funds available to service providers in smaller states as they respond to Covid-19. The senators asked that the next round of Covid-19 response legislation include a provision to clarify that the maximum allotment provisions are waived with respect to CSBG funds provided by the CARES Act.

07/02/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Financial Support for Developmental Disabilities Network in Next Covid-19 Stimulus Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bob Casey, Chris Van Hollen, Sherrod Brown, and Tim Kaine asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to provide at least $30 million in financial support for the Developmental Disabilities network in the next Covid-19 stimulus package.

07/02/2020
Request to Census to Ensure a Complete and Accurate Census Count During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The Senate Appropriations Committee wrote to Census Bureau Director Stephen Dillingham asking him to ensure a complete and accurate census count during the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/02/2020
Request to FCC to Address GAO’s Concerns and Recommendations Regarding Deployment of 5G Network
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Michael Bennet asked FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to address GAO’s concerns and recommendations regarding the deployment of 5G networks.

07/02/2020
Request to HHS and CMS for Information Changes to Medicare Rules Governing Provision of Telehealth
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

A bipartisan group of 38 senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma commending their commitment to make temporary telehealth flexibilities permanent, specifically with a proposed rule to permanently extend telehealth changes under the home health benefit. The senators asked HHS and CMS to provide Congress with a written plan and timeline for permanent administrative changes to Medicare rules governing the provision of telehealth and a list of of telehealth changes that will require congressional action.

07/02/2020
Request to HHS and CDC for Clarification on Tribes’ Access to Covid-19 Data
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senate HELP Committee, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and House Committee on Natural Resources wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield seeking clarification regarding the CDC’s policies concerning Tribal epidemiology centers’ access to disease surveillance data, including data necessary to inform responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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
Request to DOJ to Avoid Disenfranchising Tribal Communities Through Mass Closures of Polling Locations in Indian Country
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Vulnerable Populations

14 Senate Democrats wrote to Attorney General William Barr expressing concern regarding the mass closures of polling locations in Tribal communities due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators requested that DOJ work with Tribal governments to find solutions that do not disenfranchise voters in Indian Country.

07/01/2020
Request to HHS to Pursue Greater Oversight Regarding CARES Act Payments Made to Shareholders and Private Equity Owners of Major Health Care Providers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

Nine Senate Democrats wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar calling for greater oversight and transparency regarding CARES Act payments made to shareholders and private equity owners of major health care providers. They asked HHS to require all payment recipients to provide documentation accounting for all dividends, management fees, stock repurchases, and bonuses paid in cash or in stock since receiving federal aid from the Provider Relief Fund and also asked HHS to require recipients to provide information about the use of funds, including an accounting of funds spent on PPE, supplies, and wages.

07/01/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Include Additional Relief Funds for Migrant Education Program and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program in Next Covid-19 Relief Legislation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

19 members of Congress wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy requesting that $300 million in additional emergency appropriations be directed to the ESSA Title 1, Part C Migrant Education Program, and $350 million be directed to the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program in the next Covid-19 relief package. The members argued that these additional relief funds would equip the Migrant Education Program and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program to cover additional costs from meeting added needs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/01/2020
Request to HUD to Disburse Emergency Solutions Grants to Support Individuals Experiencing Homelessness and Those at Risk of Becoming Homeless
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen wrote to HUD Secretary Ben Carson asking him to immediately disburse Emergency Solutions Grants funding to support individuals experiencing homelessness and those at risk of becoming homeless. As moratoriums on initiating eviction and foreclosure proceedings are lifted across the country, Shaheen argued that funding authorized by Congress must be immediately disbursed to assist households suffering from lost income or increased expenses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

07/01/2020
Request to USDA to Provide Support to Shellfish Aquaculture Industry Through CFAP and AMS
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Chris Van Hollen, Mark Warner, Ben Cardin, and Tim Kaine wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking him to provide support to the shellfish aquaculture industry by leveraging $16 billion in Coronavirus Food Assistance Program funding and tools available through the Agricultural Marketing Services Section 32 purchasing authority.

07/01/2020
Request to Pence to Harness Federal Power to Address Covid-19 Surge and Increase PPE Production
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to Vice President Pence asking him and President Trump to promptly harness the full power of the federal government to respond to the surge of Covid-19 cases, and ramp up production of medical equipment, test kits, personal protective equipment, and other much-needed supplies.

07/01/2020
Request to CDC to Combat Antimicrobial-Resistant Infections Associated With Covid-19 and Reinforce Importance of Antibiotic Stewardship Practices
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Seven Senate Democrats wrote to CDC Director Robert Redfield asking him to combat antimicrobial-resistant infections associated with Covid-19 and to reinforce the importance of robust antibiotic stewardship practices in health care facilities and outpatient settings affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

07/01/2020
Request to HUD for Information on Efforts to Assist Renters During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Maggie Hassan wrote to HUD Secretary Ben Carson requesting additional information regarding the agency’s efforts to assist renters during the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis.

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
Request for Oklahoma ER and Hospital’s Practices and Prices for Diagnostic and Serological Tests for Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to Oklahoma ER and Hospital Medical Director William Worden requesting information about Oklahoma ER and Hospital’s practices and prices for diagnostic and serological tests for Covid-19.

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.

07/01/2020
Request to Treasury, CEA, and OMB for Documents on Trump Administration Refusal to Carry Out Economic Projections
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, CEA Vice Chair Tyler Godspeed, and Acting OMB Director Russell Vought requesting documents on the Trump Administration’s refusal to carry out economic projections, and urging the administration to reverse its decision to withhold these projects from Congress.

06/30/2020
Request to Maryland Governor, Treasurer, and Comptroller Not to Enact Cuts to Maryland State Budget
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues

Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin wrote to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Treasurer Nancy Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot expressing concern about state budget cuts under consideration by the Maryland Board of Public Works. Van Hollen and Cardin urged these state officials not to enact cuts, despite the toll Covid-19 has taken on Maryland’s state budget.

06/30/2020
Request to Treasury and IRS to Distribute Further Supplemental Payments
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

13 Senate Democrats asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to use existing tools to distribute further supplemental payments to those in need.

06/29/2020
Request to EPA to Accurately Update NAAQS for Particulate Matter
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

14 Senate Democrats wrote to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler opposing his April 14, 2020, proposal to retain the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter and forego more protective standards. The senators argued that the dangers of breathing polluted air, now exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, warranted abiding by new recommendations and urged Wheeler to reject the proposal and instead pursue updates to the particulate matter NAAQS that protect public health.

06/29/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership for Additional Funding for EDA Programs in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

16 Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy requesting additional funding for the Economic Development Administration’s programs in a future Covid-19 relief package.

06/29/2020
Request to FAA to Implement Mandatory Mask Policy for All Airport and Airline Employees and Passengers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

Sen. Dianne Feinstein urged FAA Administrator Steve Dickson to implement a mandatory mask policy for all airport and airline employees and passengers as Covid-19 continues to surge. Feinstein asked FAA to issue guidance as soon as possible so passengers can have a clear understanding of the requirements.

06/29/2020
Request to Central Asian Presidents to Release Imprisoned Political Activists With High Risk of Contracting Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

A bipartisan group of 12 senators wrote to four Central Asian presidents asking them to release detainees imprisoned for peaceful activism who are also at high risk of contracting Covid-19. The letters to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan, President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan, and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan can be found here: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/06-29-20%20RM%20letter%20to%20Kazakhstan%20president%20re%20political%20prisoners.pdf; https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/06-29-20%20RM%20letter%20to%20Tajikistan%20president%20re%20political%20prisoners.pdf; https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/06-29-20%20RM%20letter%20to%20Turkmenistan%20president%20re%20political%20prisoners.pdf; https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/06-29-20%20RM%20letter%20to%20Uzbekistan%20president%20re%20political%20prisoners.pdf

06/29/2020
Request to Labor Department to Issue Health and Safety Plan for Return of Employees, Direct OSHA to Issue ETS for Infectious Disease
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management

The Senate HELP Committee wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia expressing concern with the Labor Department’s decision to begin a “phased” return of DOL employees across the country, without a clear plan or timeline to provide for employees’ safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee asked Scalia to issue a clear, uniform health and safety plan for the return of employees before any additional employees are ordered back to work, and to ensure worker safety by directing OSHA to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard for infectious disease.

06/29/2020
Request to Senate Appropriations Committee for Funding to Support Comprehensive Program of Testing, Tracing, and Supported Isolation
Source: Sen. Angus King
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

Sen. Angus King requested that the Senate Appropriations Committee allocate funding to support a comprehensive program of testing, tracing, and supported isolation. King requested funding for state, county, and local public health office support; contact tracing personnel; voluntary self-isolation facilities and financial support; and testing infrastructure.

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 Trump to Increase Federal Support for Covid-19 Testing Sites and Testing Capacity
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Testing

Illinois’ congressional delegation wrote to President Trump expressing concern with his administration’s announcement to end federal funding for Covid-19 testing sites in five states, including Illinois. The delegation urged Trump to reverse this decision and increase federal support for testing sites and testing capacity.

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
Request to FEMA to Support Hazard Mitigation Strategies and Prepare for Future Public Health Emergencies
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues

Maryland’s congressional delegation wrote to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor asking FEMA to take immediate action to strengthen resiliency and mitigate future damages due to the Covid-19 pandemic and future public health emergencies. The delegation asked FEMA to approve Maryland’s use of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and establish certain hazard mitigation strategies to prepare for the next public health emergency.

06/26/2020
Request to Senate Leadership and Senate Appropriations Committee to Include Supplemental Appropriations for HIV/AIDS Treatment, Prevention, and Housing Programs in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

20 Senate Democrats urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the Senate Appropriations Committee to include appropriations to ensure HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and housing programs are able to adequately respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and continue providing life-saving services to people at risk of HIV and AIDS. The senators asked these supplemental appropriations be included in the next Covid-19 relief package.

06/26/2020
Request to HHS to Study Potential Risks Covid-19 May Pose for People Exposed to PFAS
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

19 Senate Democrats wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar expressing concern about the potential risks that Covid-19 may pose for people who have been exposed to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The senators urged HHS to ensure that the connection between PFAS exposure and Covid-19 is examined so that individuals in communities impacted by PFAS can take precautions that are guided by scientific evidence.

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.

06/26/2020
Request to Massachusetts Governor for Independent Investigation Into Covid-19 Outbreak at Chelsea Soldiers’ Home
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley wrote to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker requesting an independent investigation of a Covid-19 outbreak at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.

06/26/2020
Request to HHS to Provide Additional Provider Relief Funds to Children’s Hospitals
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

A bipartisan group of 39 senators wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar expressing concern about the disproportionately low amount of Provider Relief Funds distributed to children’s hospitals, and asked HHS to provide additional funding for children’s hospitals.

06/25/2020
Request to FCC for Update on Outstanding Telehealth Applications From Montana Health Care Providers
Source: Sen. Jon Tester
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues

Sen. Jon Tester wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai requesting an update on outstanding telehealth applications from Big Horn Community Healthcare Center, Benefits Hospital, Southwest Community Healthcare Center, and Bozeman Health Hospital, all of which are are currently before the FCC.

06/25/2020
Request to Treasury and SBA to Issue New Interim Final Rule Enabling Seasonal Businesses to Access Larger PPP Loans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Nine Senate Democrats wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza expressing concern about an Interim Final Rule that Treasury released on April 28, 2020, that allowed seasonal businesses to calculate their Paycheck Protection Program loans based on summer season payroll data. The senators noted that this rule would prevent seasonal businesses that already received PPP loans based on off-season data to increase the size of their loans and urged Mnuchin and Carranza to issue a new Interim Final Rule that would enable seasonable businesses to access larger PPP loans.

06/25/2020
Request to State and USAID to Ensure Covid-19 Assistance Reaches Religious Minority Groups in Afghanistan
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

A bipartisan group of 20 senators wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing concern about the serious threats facing Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan. The senators urged State and USAID to ensure that U.S. Covid-19 assistance reaches these religious minorities in Afghanistan.

06/25/2020
Request to EPA to Reject Petitions for SREs for Retroactive Biofuel Under RFS
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism

A bipartisan group of 16 senators wrote to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler calling for the EPA to reject petitions for Small Refinery Exemptions for retroactive biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The misuse of small refinery waivers under the RFS the further loss of biofuel sales during the Covid-19 crisis have harmed the industry, with over 100 biofuel processing plants now idled or closed. This has resulted in reductions in the rural workforce, decreases in commodity purchases and prices, and shortages of co-products critical to the agricultural supply chain.

06/25/2020
Request to Education Department and Treasury to Stop Seizing Tax Refunds of People Who Have Defaulted on Federal Student Loans
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

28 Senate Democrats wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressing concern that the Education Department and Treasury may be offsetting tax refunds from federal student loan borrowers in default, even though the CARES Act required that all collections on federally held, defaulted student loans be suspended until Sept. 30, 2020. The senators requested information regarding Treasury’s implementation of the CARES Act mandate to stop seizing the tax refunds of these individuals.

06/25/2020
Request to White House Trade Advisor to Support Inclusion of the End Outsourcing Act in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Tammy Baldwin, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Gary Peters asked White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro to support the inclusion of their legislation, End Outsourcing Act, which would use the tax code and federal grants, loans, and contracts to end the outsourcing of jobs overseas, in future Covid-19 relief legislation.

06/25/2020
Request to DOJ, FCC, IRS, and FTC to Take Action Against Scammers During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Maggie Hassan and Tom Carper asked Attorney General William Barr, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, and FTC Chairman Joseph Simons to act against scammers trying to take advantage of Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic.

06/25/2020
Request to USDA to Include Maple Syrup as Eligible Specialty Crop for CFAP Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Maine’s congressional delegation wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking for USDA to include maple syrup as an eligible specialty crop for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The delegation also expressed support for the letter of request sent to USDA by Maine Gov. Janet Mills, which outlined the necessity of CFAP relief for the Maine maple syrup industry.

06/25/2020
Request to HHS to Reverse Decision to End Federal Support for 13 Covid-19 Testing Sites Across Five States
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Testing

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and House members from Texas, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar urging him to reverse the decision to end federal support for 13 Covid-19 testing sites across these five states.

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
Request to Treasury and Federal Reserve to Make Changes to Main Street Lending Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Mike Braun wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell asking them to make changes to the Main Street Lending Program. The senators asked Mnuchin and Powell to consider increasing allowable donations as share of revenue; extending loan terms; ensuring better access to smaller non-profits; and accommodating different risk levels.

06/24/2020
Request to USDA to Dedicate Funding for ‘Last Mile’ Delivery Efforts for Farmers to Families Food Box
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

A bipartisan group of 26 senators wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging him to dedicate $50 million in available funding to support “last mile” delivery efforts for the Farmers to Families Food Box program and to ensure that food is able to directly and efficiently reach the families most in need.

06/24/2020
Request to NCAA to Prohibit Schools from Requiring Student Athletes to Sign Waivers Agreeing Not to Hold School Accountable If They Contract Covid-19 from Participating in Sports
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Cory Booker wrote to the National Collegiate Athletic Association President Mark Emmert urging the NCAA to prohibit schools from requiring student athletes to sign waivers agreeing not to hold their school accountable if they contract Covid-19 from participating in college athletics.

06/24/2020
Request to Treasury and IRS for Information on Decision to Distribute Stimulus Payments to Some Individuals Through Pre-Paid Debit Cards
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

15 Senate Democrats wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig urging them to clarify outstanding questions about the Treasury Department’s decision to distribute cash assistance to individuals provided by the CARES Act through pre-paid debit cards. The senators expressed concern that this decision imposed fees and other burdens on individuals who preferred to receive stimulus payments by check.

06/24/2020
Request to Capital One to Stop Collecting Debt from Customers Through Wage Garnishment During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown wrote to Capital One Chairman and CEO Richard Fairbank expressing concerns about recent reports that Capitol One Financial Corp. has been collecting debt from its customers through wage garnishment during the Covid-19 pandemic. Warren and Brown asked Capital One to suspend such practices immediately.

06/24/2020
Request to American Investment Council for Information on Lobbying Efforts on Behalf of Private Equity Industry During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to American Investment Council President and CEO Andrew Maloney expressing concerns about reports that private equity firms are maneuvering to acquire profits from distressed companies during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the federal assistance programs designed to help them in the wake of the pandemic-induced recession. Warren requested clarification on the American Investment Council’s lobbying efforts on behalf of the private equity industry’s access to federal assistance programs.

06/24/2020
Request to Amtrak for Information Related to FY 2021 Supplementary Funding Request
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

A bipartisan group of seven senators wrote to Amtrak President and CEO William Flynn expressing concern about Amtrak’s downsizing plan, outlined in its supplemental funding request. Congress provided Amtrak $1.02 billion in CARES Act funds. The senators asked Amtrak to provide information about its rationale for its supplementary funding request for FY 2021.

06/24/2020
Request to Defense Department to Prioritize Procurement of U.S.-Made PPE
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Federal Management

A bipartisan group of 10 senators wrote to Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord asking the Defense Department to continue to prioritize the procurement of American-made PPE and pursue more comprehensive measures to incentive additional PPE production in the U.S.

06/24/2020
Request to Pence and CDC to Provide Guidance and Assistance to States and Local Communities to Support Individuals’ Self-Isolation and Quarantine
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Ed Markey, Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, and Jack Reed wrote to Vice President Pence and CDC Director Robert Redfield urging the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the CDC to provide guidance and assistance to states and local communities with supporting individuals’ voluntary self-isolation. The senators also stated that the federal government should ensure that people who need additional resources to self-isolate receive them, including immigrants, people of color, individuals with disabilities, individuals experiencing homelessness, and individuals at high risk of complications from Covid-19.

06/24/2020
Request to CMS to Reverse or Delay Implementation of Medicare Area WageIndex Changes Included in IPPS Proposed Rule
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues

New Jersey’s congressional delegation wrote to CMS Administrator Seema Verma expressing concern with a proposal included in the FY 2021 Inpatient Prospective Payment System proposed role. The delegation noted that the proposed rule, if finalized, would reduce payments to New Jersey hospitals by as much as $109 million per year and urged CMS to reverse or delay the implementation of the Medicare area wage index changes included in the proposed rule.

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
Request to Labor Department for Response to Questions Regarding Eligibility of Wisconsin Recipients of SSDI for PUA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

A bicameral group of Wisconsin Democrats asked Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia to respond to a June 9, 2020, inquiry from the Wisconsin Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development about the eligibility of Wisconsin recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

06/23/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Funding for Background Checks and ATF in Future Covid-19 Relief Packages
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Ten Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking them to include additional funding for the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Systems and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in future Covid-19 relief packages to strengthen public safety during the pandemic.

06/23/2020
Request to DOJ to Proactively Counter Voter Suppression Attempts During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Eight Senate Democrats wrote to Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband asking the DOJ Civil Rights Division to work proactively to counter attempts to suppress vulnerable and historically disenfranchised voters during the Covid-19 pandemic.

06/23/2020
Request to Amtrak to Preserve Long-Distance Service and Protect Jobs
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

Sens. Jon Tester and Jacky Rosen wrote to Amtrak President and CEO William Flynn expressing concern about Amtrak’s decision to gut long-distance service and slash jobs, despite Congress providing Amtrak $1.02 billion in the CARES Act. They urged Amtrak to preserve service to rural states and to protect jobs.

06/23/2020
Request to OMB for Emergency Funding for USCIS
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

The Senate Appropriations Committee wrote to Acting OMB Director Russell Vought requesting emergency funding for USCIS to prevent 19,000 staff, including 1,700 Vermonters, from being furloughed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

06/23/2020
Request to NPRC for Plan to Mitigate Employees’ Risk of Covid-19 Exposure and Measures to Provide Vets More Timely Responses to Records Requests
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee wrote to National Personnel Records Center Director Scott Levins requesting clarification regarding NPRC’s plan to mitigate employees’ risk of exposure to Covid-19, and measures to provide veterans more timely responses to their records requests.

06/23/2020
Request to Federal Reserve to Stop Bank Dividends and Discretionary Bonus Payments During Covid-19 Pandemic and Uncertain Economic Outlook
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Brian Schatz, Elizabeth Warren, and Sherrod Brown asked Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles to stop bank dividends and discretionary bonus payments to shareholders amid the Covid-19 pandemic and a sluggish economy.

06/23/2020
Request to FEMA, Defense Deparment, and HHS Requesting Explanation for Trump Asking Staff to Slow Covid-19 Testing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Testing

Sen. Kamala Harris wrote to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor, Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force Director Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, and Assistant Secretary of Health Brett Giroir requesting an explanation for political interference in Covid-19 testing efforts after President Trump asked his staff to “slow the testing down, please.”

06/23/2020
Request to FEMA for Information on PPE Shipments to Nursing Homes and Mechanisms for Quality Control
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

Sens. Maggie Hassan, Elizabeth Warren, Bob Casey, and Chuck Schumer wrote to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor to express concern about the availability and adequacy of PPE for nursing homes and long-term care facilities and request information about PPE shipments and mechanisms for quality control of PPE.

06/23/2020
Request to HHS, Defense Department, and OWS for Information About Covid-19 Vaccine Development and Distribution
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Mazie Hirono wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, OWS Chief Advisor Moncef Slaoui, and Army Materiel Command Commanding General Gustave Perna expressing concern about lack of transparency and accountability around the vaccine development and distribution process. Hirono requested answers to questions about vaccine safety and public confidence, vaccine distribution plans, and criteria and metrics used to determine vaccine candidates, among other issues.

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 USDA to Fully Obligate CARES Act Funds for ReConnect Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Nine Senate Democrats asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to prioritize improved broadband access for Americans in rural communities by fully obligating money allocated by the CARES Act for USDA’s ReConnect program, a program designed to equip rural America with grants and loans to facilitate and fund construction of new broadband internet infrastructure.

06/22/2020
Request to Senate Majority Leader to Schedule a Vote on H.R. 6
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues

Senate Democrats asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to immediately schedule a Senate vote on H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, legislation which would give DACA recipients a path to citizenship. The senators noted that in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 200,000 DACA recipients are working in occupational areas that DHS identified as part of the “essential critical infrastructure workforce.”

06/22/2020
Request to HHS for Information on Steps Taken to Combat Decline in Routine Childhood Immunizations During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues

Sen. Amy Klobuchar wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar expressing her concern about the decline in routine childhood immunizations in Minnesota during the Covid-19 pandemic, and requesting information about the steps HHS is taking to address this trend.

06/22/2020
Request to USDA to Extend WIC Through Sept. 30, 2020
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Agriculture Committee wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking for the extension of WIC through Sept. 30, 2020, as authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The committee asked Perdue to provide certainty about the program’s extension to its beneficiaries.

06/22/2020
Request to SBA to Approve Illinois’ Economic Injury Declaration Request
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 some Illinois counties.

06/22/2020
Request to Senate Majority Leader Not to Move Forward with Nomination of Cory Wilson to Fifth Circuit
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

Sens. Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, and Amy Klobuchar asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell not to move forward with the nomination of Cory Wilson to the Fifth Circuit. The senators pointed to Wilson’s public statements on voting rights and support for discriminatory voter-ID laws. Wilson’s judicial nomination came at a time when state primaries forced Americans to choose between voting and risking exposure to Covid-19, and certain states limited polling locations in majority-Black cities.

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
Request to HHS, DOJ, and DHS for Information on Medical Supplies Procurement
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Attorney General William Barr, and Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf expressing concerns regarding reports of health care providers and governments encountering challenges in procuring medical supplies needed to combat Covid-19. The committee sought information about the federal government’s oversight and coordination of these procurement activities.

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.

06/21/2020
Request to HHS to Disburse Remaining Funds Allocated for Covid-19 Testing and Contact Tracing
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Testing

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Patty Murray asked HHS Secretary Alex Azar to immediately disburse the remainder of the $25 billion in funds to ramp up testing and contact-tracing capacity, as well as to make sure providers are aware of and easily able to access the $2 billion that Congress appropriated to test uninsured people.

06/19/2020
Request to Treasury and IRS to Ensure Economic Stimulus Funds Are Accessible to Domestic Violence Survivors
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

36 Senate Democrats urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to ensure economic stimulus recovery rebates are accessible to survivors of domestic violence.

06/19/2020
Request to ODJFS to Waive Recoupment of Non-Fraud UI Overpayments When State is at Fault
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues

Sen. Sherrod Brown wrote to Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services Director Kimberly Hall asking her office to waive the recoupment of non-fraud unemployment insurance overpayments when the state is at fault.

06/19/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Include Dedicated Funding for Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

41 Senate Democrats asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to include at least an additional $175 billion in funding for the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund. The senators stressed the need to ensure that schools are ready to educate children this fall, and to close opportunity gaps in communities experiencing the greatest medical and economic harm from Covid-19.

06/19/2020
Request to Trump to Protect Young Immigrants Eligible for DACA
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Immigration and Border Issues

43 Senate Democrats wrote to President Trump urging him to use his executive authority to protect young immigrants eligible for DACA. The senators pointed out that more than 200,000 DACA recipients are part of what DHS identifies as the “essential critical infrastructure workforce.” An estimated 41,700 of these DACA beneficiaries work in the health care industry, including as physicians and physicians in training, ICU nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, and health technicians.

06/19/2020
Request to DHS, DOJ, ICE, CBP and State to Reverse Policies Undermining U.S. Asylum Regime
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Immigration and Border Issues, Political Opportunism

34 Senate Democrats urged President Trump, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, Attorney General William Barr, Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence, Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to reverse the litany of policies they have implemented that have effectively dismantled the U.S. asylum system. Of relevance to the Covid-19 pandemic, the senators pointed to a March 2020 CDC order that permitted DHS to summarily expel asylum-seekers and ran contrary to international prohibitions against refoulement. UNHCR has stated clearly that, in the context of Covid-19, the denial of access to territory (i.e., to make an asylum claim), without protections against refoulement, cannot be justified on “public health” grounds.

06/19/2020
Request to CPSC for Information on Steps Taken to Ensure Children Are Safe from Drowning
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Richard Blumenthal, and Ed Markey wrote to Acting Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Robert Adler, expressing concerns regarding reports that incidents of child drowning have increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. The senators requested more information as to what measures CPSC is taking to ensure children are safe during the pandemic.

06/19/2020
Request to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies to Include Funds for DOJ to Hire NICS Staff in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Chris Murphy, John Cornyn, Richard Blumenthal, and Martha McSally asked the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies to include at least $25 million for the DOJ to hire additional National Instant Criminal Background Checks staff in future appropriations responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

06/19/2020
Request to Fed, FDIC, and Comptroller of the Currency to Reverse Rule Weakening SLR Capital Requirements
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown urged Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles, FDIC Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams, and Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks to reverse a rule that weakens the Supplemental Leverage Ratio capital requirements and makes banks more susceptible to collapse during the Covid-19 pandemic. Warren and Brown urged the Fed, FDIC, and the Comptroller of the Currency to preserve capital at financial institutions to ensure their stability.

06/18/2020
Request to Senate Majority Leader to Consider Providing Additional Funding for State, Local, and Tribal Governments
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, State Issues

18 Senate Democrats urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to consider legislation providing additional funding for state, local, and tribal governments, including an increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage that can be enacted before many states’ fiscal years begin on July 1. The senators expressed concern that states and counties have lost revenues due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis.

06/18/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Include Requirement that HUD Automatically Renew Continuum of Care Awards
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Mikie Sherrill asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to address the challenges faced by nonprofit providers and state and local governments that receive funding through HUD’s Continuum of Care program. Booker and Sherrill requested the inclusion of language in future Covid-19 legislation that will require HUD to automatically renew awards for the next fiscal year so enrolled recipients continue to receive funding without having to complete an application process.

06/18/2020
Request to Senate Majority Leader to Allow Senate to Debate and Consider HEROES Act Before July 4 Recess
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

19 Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging the Senate to debate and consider the HEROES Act on the floor before the July 4 recess.

06/18/2020
Request to DOJ, HHS, DHS, and DOI to Ensure Law Enforcement Authorities Do Not Contribute to Covid-19 Spread Through Protest Response
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

18 Senate Democrats asked Attorney General William Barr, HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to ensure that law enforcement authorities do not contribute to the Covid-19 pandemic by engaging in practices that increase the risk of Covid-19 spread, and by taking additional steps to protect public health data as people exercise their constitutional right to protest.

06/18/2020
Request to DOJ and FTC to Combat Threats to Competition From Anticompetitive Vertical Mergers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism

Eight Senate Democrats wrote to Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division Makan Delrahim and FTC Chairman Joseph Simons urging DOJ and FTC to resume their public consideration of new vertical merger guidelines, to release revised draft vertical merger guidelines for public comment, and to schedule public workshops on the guidelines. The senators noted that though the country was still in the grip of Covid-19, the current circumstances in no way lessens the need to protect competition, including threats to competition from anticompetitive vertical mergers.

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.

06/17/2020
Request to BLM to Identify and Remediate Orphaned Wells
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Alan Lowenthal wrote to Acting Bureau of Land Management Director William Pendley expressing concern about the expected increase in orphan oil and gas wells on federal public lands administered by BLM due to falling oil prices (the oil industry has slowed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and international price disputes). Feinstein and Lowenthal asked BLM to develop a plan to identify and remediate orphaned wells to protect the environment and public health.

06/17/2020
Request to EPA for Clarification on Decision to Reopen Offices
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sen. Tammy Duckworth wrote to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler requesting clarification on statements made during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on May 20, 2020, about plans to reopen EPA offices. Duckworth expressed concern that EPA’s decision to reopen its offices were based on plans that were inconsistent with the CDC’s Covid-19 guidelines.

06/16/2020
Request to Trump to Stop Dismantling Public Assistance Programs During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

24 Senate Democrats asked President Trump to stop dismantling public assistance programs that ensure low-income Americans have access to food, housing, health care, and other necessities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

06/16/2020
Request to Congressional Leadership to Ensure Nonprofits Receive Emergency Assistance in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to ensure that nonprofits receive substantial emergency assistance in the next Covid-19 relief package.

06/16/2020
Request to Senate Leadership for Inclusion of Edith Shorougian Senior Victims of Fraud Compensation Act in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Bill Cassidy requested that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer include the Edith Shorougian Senior Victims of Fraud Compensation Act in the next Covid-19 relief package.

06/16/2020
Request to Maryland Senate President and House Speaker for Information on How Federal Government Can Ensure Elections are Safe Amid Covid-19
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Elections and Campaigns, State Issues

Maryland’s congressional delegation wrote to Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson and Maryland Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones asking how federal resources can help ensure that Maryland has the capacity to provide voters a free, fair, and safe election this November amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

06/16/2020
Request to LA Board of Supervisors for Update on LA County’s Covid-19 Outbreak
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to the Chair of the LA Board of Supervisors, Kathryn Barger, expressing concern about the rising number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in LA County. Feinstein requested an update on the county’s Covid-19 outbreak, and offered to assist with any issues that are preventing the county from safely reopening. Feinstein also asked for an update on the testing of nursing home residents and staff.

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
Request to CMS to Release Demographic Claims Data Concerning Covid-19 Outcomes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to CMS Administrator Seema Verma asking CMS to release demographic claims data concerning the outcomes of Covid-19 based on race, ethnicity, and gender.

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
Request to Illinois Community Colleges to Train Covid-19 Contact Tracers
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, State Issues

Sen. Dick Durbin wrote to the presidents of Illinois community colleges encouraging them to train contact tracers to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

06/15/2020
Request to Treasury and Fed to Expand Access to MLF
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urging Treasury and the Fed to expand access to the Municipal Lending Facility to special districts that provide essential services such as drinking water, wastewater treatment, and fire and police protection.

06/15/2020
Request to Fed, Comptroller of the Currency, FDIC and CFPB to Issue Guidance to Mortgage Servicers to Clearly Explain All Federal Mortgage Forbearance Options Available During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks, FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams, and CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger expressing concern that some mortgage servicers are providing consumers with confusing or incomplete information regarding Covid-related relief. Feinstein urged the agencies to issue guidance to mortgage servicers requiring uniform and comprehensive consumer disclosures that explain all federal mortgage forbearance options available during the Covid-19 pandemic. Feinstein also asked that the agencies encourage servicers to extend forbearance relief options to borrowers with privately backed mortgages.

06/15/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Make Permanent Expansion of Access to Telehealth Services for Medicare Beneficiaries During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

A bipartisan group of 30 senators asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to make permanent the provisions in the CONNECT for Health Act that were included in the previous Covid-19 legislation. The provisions specified included an expansion of access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries during the Covid-19 pandemic.

06/15/2020
Request to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD, and USDA to Protect Fannie- and Freddie-Backed Properties from Unlawful Evictions During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Sherrod Brown asked Fannie Mae CEO Hugh Frater, Freddie Mac CEO David Brickman, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to do more to protect Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-backed properties from unlawful evictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. The letter came amid reports of evictions across the country which may not comply with protections included in the CARES Act. The letters to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD, and USDA can be found here: https://www.banking.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/06.15.20%20Letter%20to%20Fannie1.pdf; https://www.banking.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/06.15.20%20Letter%20to%20Freddie.pdf; https://www.banking.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/06.15.20%20Letter%20to%20HUD_USDA1.pdf

06/15/2020
Request to SIGPR to Resist Political Interference from White House While Conducting Oversight of CARES Act Funds
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery Brian Miller to resist any political pressure from the White House while ensuring proper administration of CARES Act funds. They asked he alert Congress if he encounters any obstacles while carrying out his duties.

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
Request to HHS and CMS for Information on Ensuring Robust Health Insurance Coverage Through ACA Marketplace During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Education and Labor Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, Senate HELP Committee, and Senate Finance Committee wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma reiterating their request for information on how the Trump administration is ensuring robust health insurance coverage is available through the ACA Marketplace during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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 Treasury and SBA to Revise PPP Loan Forgiveness Application
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

A bipartisan group of 44 senators wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza asking them to make the PPP loan forgiveness application easier to understand and complete by revising the application so that it is no longer than one page for any loan under $250,000.

06/12/2020
Request to FCC to Provide Transparency Regarding Awards Made Under Covid-19 Telehealth Program
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asking the FCC to provide additional transparency to the public and Congress, regarding awards it is making under the Covid-19 Telehealth Program that Congress created in the CARES Act.

06/12/2020
Request to Treasury and SBA to Improve PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Process
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

47 senators wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza to improve the PPP loan forgiveness application process, especially for very small businesses, sole proprietors, and underserved borrowers.

06/12/2020
Request to Senate and House Leadership to Include Strong Provisions to Ensure Americans Have Access to Quality and Affordable Health Care Coverage in Any Future Covid-19 Legislation
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

39 Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asking that any future Covid-19 legislation include strong provisions to ensure Americans have access to quality and affordable health care coverage. The letter asked leaders to build upon efforts in the HEROES Act by further enhancing the Medicaid federal medical assistance percentages to ensure continued and comprehensive coverage for enrollees, and to add provisions to reduce premium payments for Americans in the ACA exchanges.

06/12/2020
Request to Treasury and SBA to Increase Transparency About PPP
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Rep. Katie Porter and Sen. Kamala Harris wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza asking them to increase transparency about the Paycheck Protection Program, including by providing basic identifying information about PPP grant recipients and the amounts they received.

06/12/2020
Request to Labor Department for Further Information About Information Letter on Private Equity Investments
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Political Opportunism

Seven Senate Democrats wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia requesting further information regarding the Department of Labor’s June 3, 2020, Information Letter on Private Equity Investments and criticizing the decision to support private equity at the expense of American workers.

06/12/2020
Request to VA for Plan to Address High Coronavirus Fatality Rate in VA New Jersey Health Care System
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues

Sen. Cory Booker wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie expressing concerns over recent reports that New Jersey is leading the in coronavirus-related cases and deaths occurring at VA Medical Centers. Booker asked Wilkie to develop a more robust plan to address the rising Covid-19 fatality rate in the VA New Jersey Health Care System, while initiating a complete review of the system’s current policies and procedures related to patient care, employee health and safety, and transparency.

06/12/2020
Request to HHS and CMS for Covid-19 Testing Supplies at Oregon Nursing Homes
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
State Issues, Testing

Six members of Oregon’s congressional delegation wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma requesting Covid-19 testing supplies at Oregon’s long-term care facilities as the state prepares to reopen.

06/12/2020
Request to Treasury for Information on PPP, Unemployment Numbers, and Impact of UI on the Market
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Mitt Romney and Chris Coons wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requesting information about unemployment numbers, the effect of the Payroll Protection Program on the labor market, the impact of UI on the labor market, and the impact of PPP on small businesses.

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 State and DHS to Issue Guidance to Universities and International Scholars During Covid-19 Pandemic
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Communications Management, Education, Immigration and Border Issues

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf asking the Department of State and DHS to issue clear guidance to America’s colleges and universities facing uncertainty in teaching, hiring, and recruiting international students and scholars during the Covid-19 pandemic.

06/11/2020
Request to Senate Leadership to Provide $47 Billion for Students and Higher Ed Institutions in Next Covid-19 Relief Package
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

31 Senate Democrats wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking them to provide $47 billion for students and institutions of higher learning in the next Covid-19 relief package.

06/11/2020
Request to President Trump to Reinstate NSC’s Global Health Security Directorate
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Ed Markey, Tom Carper, Mazie Hirono, Angus King, and Jacky Rosen wrote to President Trump asking him to reinstate the National Security Council’s Global Health Security Directorate as a separate entity from the Counterproliferation and Biodefense Directorate.

06/11/2020
Request to Defense Department and VA to Ensure Servicemembers and Vets Exposed to Toxic Substances and at Higher Risk for Severe Covid-19 Symptoms Receive Necessary Care
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Federal Management

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Michael Rounds, Tammy Duckworth, and Dan Sullivan wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie asking them to ensure that servicemembers and veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances who may be at heightened risk for severe symptoms related to Covid-19 receive the care they need.

06/11/2020
Request to BOP for Information of Covid-19 Outbreak at FCI Danbury
Type: Letter
Investigating Entities: Congress
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy wrote to BOP Director Michael Carvajal requesting information on a Covid-19 outbreak at FCI Danbury.

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 Secr