What I Am Working On

Since the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been in frequent communication with leaders in Florida at the local and state level, as well as the White House and Executive Agencies at the federal level. Please check back regularly for updates on how my office is hard at work for South Florida and our nation during this trying time.

On March 11th, Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and I, Co-Chairs of the Florida Delegation, sent President Donald Trump a letter urging him to Prioritize our state for COVID-19 emergency supplies to aggressively mitigate and contain the spread of the Coronavirus. Our letter urged the President to set federal guidelines for nursing homes and other sites that care for senior constituents to protect residents and safeguard staff and health providers and immediately begin circulating same-day test kits to as many testing sites as possible to limit the spread of the disease through contact. Additionally, we urged the President to improve communication and coordination with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to ensure that our state is fully reimbursed for their expenses to combat the virus to date and to facilitate the development of an action plan to help protect our unique, tourism-driven economy as we continue fight the disease on multiple fronts. Read the letter here.

On March 17th, I joined my colleague Congresswoman Lois Frankel and others in the Florida Delegation in urging Governor DeSantis to help unemployed Floridians and small business owners by providing immediate access to emergency financial assistance. Read the letter here,

On March 18th, I helped lead a letter to House leadership with my colleagues who represent travel and tourism-centric communities, urging them to include the tourism and travel sectors in relief efforts for the coronavirus pandemic. Read the letter here.

On March 19th, I joined Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson and members of the Florida Congressional Delegation in a letter to House leadership, urging them to include public seaports in Florida in relief efforts for the coronavirus pandemic. Read the letter here.

On March 20th, Congressman Vern Buchanan and I wrote to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor in support of the request made by Governor DeSantis & Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz for the immediate delivery of additional resources to combat COVID-19. For our state, our letter requested 5 mobile intensive care units, 5,000 ventilators, 5,000 hospital beds, 50,000 two oz. bottles of hand sanitizer, 250,000 coveralls, 500,000 pairs of medical gloves, 500,000 gowns, 500,000 collection kits, 100,000 16 oz. bottles of hand sanitizer, 150,000 Personal Protective Equipment kits, including coveralls, gowns, and goggles, and 2 million N95 face masks. Read the letter here.

On March 20th, I joined with several of my Florida colleagues in urging the Florida Public Service Commission to work with the Florida Department of Health and Florida Division of Emergency Management to temporarily suspend disconnections of all water, sewer, electricity, and gas services in our state for 60 days. Read the letter here.

On March 20th, I joined dozens of my colleagues representing rural areas in a letter to Congressional leadership highlighting the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural communities and asking for additional assistance for rural America in future legislative relief efforts. Read the letter here.

On March 20th, I joined with colleagues in writing to House Democratic leadership urging them to put workers first and ensure that essential corporate accountability provisions are include in any future COVID-19 response package. Read the letter here.

On March 20th, I joined with colleagues in urging Congressional leaders to prioritize the security and continuity of our nation's election system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the letter here.

On March 23rd, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Homelessness Caucus, urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to include an additional $200 million in the Phase III legislation for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, which supports local charitable and public agencies serving on the front lines to help people most at risk of homelessness, hunger, and poverty. Read the letter here.

On March 23rd, I wrote to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) requesting that any direct payments to Americans included in the Phases III legislation be precluded from calculations of income when determining eligibility for healthcare subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, VA-disability pension benefits, and other economic lifelines for low-income Americans. Without adequate protections, individuals near the cutoff for receiving these types of financial assistance may inadvertently lose access to these benefits. Read the letter here.

On March 23rd, I joined members of the Florida Delegation in writing a letter to Congressional leadership expressing support for the cruise industry and the cruise vacation ecosystem, which supports more than 421,000 American jobs and $53 billion in economic activity. Read the letter here.

On March 24th, I joined with many of my colleagues Representing Palm Beach County in writing Governor DeSantis to urge him to improve access to testing and personal protective equipment and to bring more of both materials to the county. Read the letter here.

On March 24th I joined Congressman Darren Soto and members of the Florida Delegation in a letter to Florida Cabinet members and Chief Justice Charles Canady, urging them to suspend homeowner foreclosure and renter eviction proceedings for 60 days during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the letter here.

On March 25th, I joined with many of my colleagues from South Florida in calling for an emergency statewide shelter in place order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in our state. Read the letter here.

On March 26th, I joined many of my colleagues in calling on the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to take the necessary steps to ensure that all students have adequate home access to the internet if their schools close in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Read the letter here.

On March 26th, I joined with many of my colleagues in the Florida Delegation in urging Governor DeSantis to immediately address flaws in Florida’s inadequate unemployment benefits system, including the inadequate online unemployment insurance application process. Read the letter here.

On March 26th, I joined members of the Florida Delegation in writing to Governor DeSantis following up on a previous letter regarding Florida’s inadequate unemployment benefits, urging him to take additional steps to ease the burden on Floridians who have lost their jobs as a result of the Coronavirus. Read the letter here.

On March 27th, I joined with many of my colleagues in the Florida Delegation in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase more locally grown produce to feed families and support our farmers. Farmers across South Florida have acres of produce that are rotting because they can't be sold during the pandemic. Read the letter here.

On March 29th, I joined with my colleagues in the Palm Beach Delegation in writing to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Peter T. Gaynor urging them to support the recently announced Community Based Testing Site to expand novel coronavirus (COVID-19) testing access in the county. Read the letter here.

On April 1st, I joined members of the Florida Delegation in writing to Governor DeSantis urging him to implement a universal vote-by-mail policy for the 2020 primary and general elections as a means of protecting Floridians during the coronavirus pandemic. Read the letter here.

On April 2nd, I joined dozens of my colleagues in writing to Ben Carson, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Robert R. Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Alex M. Azar, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, seeking clarification on what steps their agencies are taking to ensure that homeless persons across America are receiving care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the letter here.

On April 2nd, I joined colleagues from the Florida Delegation in writing to Governor DeSantis again calling attention the challenges facing Floridians seeking to apply for the federal unemployment benefits to which they are entitled under the CARES Act, highlighting the inoperable website and inability to reach qualified customer support personnel over the phone to obtain assistance. Read the letter here.

On April 2nd, I joined with members of the Congressional Lupus Caucus and the Congressional Arthritis Caucus to urge members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force to ensure that lupus and rheumatoid arthritis patients continue to have access to hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and chloroquine as these medications are being studied for use in treating coronavirus (COVID-19). Read the letter here.

On April 3rd, I wrote to Congressional Leadership requesting the inclusion of my legislation, H.R.180, the Build America Act, in any Phase IV coronavirus package that includes infrastructure. My legislation proposes removing the Capital Investment Grant program (CIG) and the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Discretionary Grant program, two discretionary grants highly utilized by Florida, from the annual appropriations process and re-establishing them as mandatory programs under the purview of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) with permanently expanded funding. Read the letter here.

On April 6th, I joined colleagues in the Florida delegation in writing to Governor DeSantis and Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew, urging them to begin working with nursing home administrators throughout the state to ensure that nursing home facilities develop comprehensive COVID-19 response plans, as recommended by the CDC. Read the letter here.

On April 7th, I joined many of my colleagues in writing to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, urging him to provide direct support to specialty crop produces across the nation who are facing financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 emergency, and asking him to develop and execute a recovery and relief plan that includes fresh produce purchases direct payments to producers, and flexibility under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. Read the letter here.

On April 7th, I joined many of my colleagues in writing to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, expressing concern about the planned deportation of Haitian migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic, and urging him to immediately halt deportations for the duration of the crisis. Read the letter here.

On April 7th, I joined Congresswoman Lois Frankel in leading Members of the Florida Congressional Delegation and Florida State Legislature, in sending a letter to Governor DeSantis making urgent recommendations for how to improve Florida’s unemployment system. Read the letter here.

On April 8th, I joined colleagues in sending a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting at least $2 billion in funding for the Federal Communications Commission’s E-Rate Program in the fourth coronavirus package to ensure that children can continue their education during this pandemic. Read the letter here.

On April 9th, I joined 90 of my colleagues in sending a letter to House leadership raising awareness of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, and urging additional funding for the Violence Against Women Act programs, Family Violence Prevention Services Act programs, and programs run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Read the letter here.

On April 9th, I sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) a letter advocating for additional funding for the United States Postal Service (USPS) in anticipation of the increased demand on the USPS as more states and jurisdictions allow vote-by-mail ballots in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the letter here.

On April 10th, Rep. Kathy Castor and I led a bipartisan letter with members of the Florida delegation to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma, urging them to direct more Congressionally-appropriated COVID-19 emergency assistance to hotspots across the country, like those in Florida, that are experiencing overwhelming cases of COVID-19 with increasingly limited supplies, resources, and personnel. Read the letter here.

On April 10th, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson and I, Co-Chairs of the Congressional Homelessness Caucus, led a letter with 91 of our colleagues urging Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy to allocate additional resources for protecting homeless Americans and those at risk of becoming homeless during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Read the letter here.

On April 13th, I joined colleagues in urging Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza to issue comprehensive Standard Operating Procedure manuals for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs, so that small businesses, nonprofits, and lenders have access to the necessary guidance for quickly accessing financial assistance. Read the letter here.

On April 14th, I joined colleagues in sending a letter to House Leadership requesting a second increase for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program to allow communities to assist businesses, help construct critical health infrastructure, create jobs, and provide other essential services during the pandemic. Read the letter here.

On April 15th, I joined with colleagues in writing to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross expressing concern over the lack of information on how the Department will utilize the $10 million appropriation included in the CARES Act for the Minority Business Development Agency, which plays an important role in promoting minority-owned businesses across the United States. Read the letter here.

On April 17th, I joined colleagues in a letter to House leadership asking for additional funding for our nation’s children’s hospitals in the next COVID-19 response package. Read the letter here.

On April 17th, I joined colleagues in sending a letter to House leadership requesting emergency assistance for dialysis patients and dialysis care providers, which provide services for over half a million Americans. Read the letter here.

‪On April 20th, I joined colleagues in sending a letter to House leadership requesting that the next legislative package include funding and a directive to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for the purpose of developing a system and process for conducting union representation electronically. Read the letter here.

On April 20th, I joined colleagues in a letter to House leadership calling for additional emergency funds to help students and teachers adapt to new learning environments, such as distance, virtual, and online learning in a subsequent relief package. Read the letter here.

On April 21st, I joined with colleagues in sending a letter to House leadership requesting that the next COVID-19 response package take steps to address the affordability nonprescription drugs, including setting price caps for the duration of the pandemic on drugs that treat the medical conditions most adversely affected by the coronavirus, including those treating heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Read the letter here.

On April 22nd, I joined with colleagues from the Florida delegation in writing to Secretary Jonathan Satter, who recently began overseeing Florida’s unemployment insurance program, urging him to prioritize addressing the serious implementation issues that have led to the overall failure of the unemployment insurance program in Florida, and to present a transparent plan of action for addressing these issues. Read the letter here.

On April 22nd, I joined with colleagues in the Florida delegation in sending a letter to Secretary Jonathan Satter of Florida’s Department of Management Services calling his attention to the numerous failures surrounding Florida’s unemployment insurance program and the state-operated website used to register for unemployment benefits, and urging him to provide a plan of action for addressing the problems. Read the letter here.

On April 23rd, I joined with colleagues in writing to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Jerome Powell expressing concern that the terms established for the Main Street Lending Program prevent emerging businesses from accessing this financial lifeline. Read the letter here.

On April 23rd, I joined with colleagues in writing to House and Senate leaders asking them to prioritize low-income and minority communities in a future relief package. Read the letter here.

On April 24th, I joined with colleagues in sending a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to include the necessary funding for ensuring Americans have access to broadband nationwide in any future COVID-19 economic recovery or stimulus package. Read the letter here.

On April 27th, I joined with colleagues in writing to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos expressing concern about the slow rate of disbursement of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students, established under the CARES Act, and guidance issued by the Department restricting funds from DACA recipients, international students, students in basic adult education and dual enrollment courses without a high school diploma, and students not already receiving financial aid under Section 484 of the Higher Education Act. Read the letter here.

On April 27th, I joined with more than 100 of my colleagues in urging House leadership to include additional protections for federal workers on the frontlines of our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the next response package, including hazard pay, presumption of workplace illness, weather and safety leave, increased options for telework, improved options for labor-management relations, expanded opportunities for enrolling in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and provisions ensuring equal rights for all members of the federal workforce. Read the letter here.

On April 28th, I joined with colleagues in writing to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar expressing concern regarding the lack of transparency on how funds from the Provider Relief Fund, established under the CARES Act, will be dispersed to rural providers. Read the letter here.

On April 28th, I joined with colleagues in sending a letter to House leadership in support of expanding eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program to labor union 501(c)(5) organizations. Read the letter here.

On April 28th, I joined colleagues in sending a letter to Congressional leadership calling attention to a large giveaway to wealthy business owners that Senate Republicans inserted into the CARES Act and urging Congress to repeal the provision in the next COVID-19 page. Read the letter here.

On May 4th, I joined with colleagues in writing to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Administrator for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma reiterated concern about the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the residents and workers of long-term care facilities and requesting that a portion of the emergency funding appropriated by Congress as part of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act be allocated to states specifically for the development, purchase, administration, or provision of COVID-19 diagnostic tests for long-term care facilities. Read the letter here.

On May 5th, I joined with colleagues in writing to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the National Governors Association asking them to encourage their fellow governors across the country to collect and release demographic data for incarcerated populations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic so that Congress can have a better understanding of the challenges facing these environments as it shapes future legislative responses. Read the letter here.

On May 7th, I joined with colleagues in writing to Congressional leadership urging them to provide at least $7.6 billion in emergency supplemental funding for community health centers in the next COVID-19 response package. Read the letter here.

On May 7th, I led my colleagues in the Florida Congressional delegation in writing to Secretary Jonathan Satter of Florida’s Department of Management Services requesting an opportunity to schedule a conference call to discuss the critical issue of Florida’s unemployment insurance program and the currently overwhelmed state-operated website used to register for unemployment benefits. Read the letter here.

On May 12th, I joined with colleagues in sending a letter to House leadership urging them to include provisions to support jobs and economic stabilization of the motor vehicle industry—which supports nearly 10 million jobs and five percent of all private American employment—in a future COVID-19 response package. Read the letter here.

On May 14th, I joined with colleagues in writing to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar advocating for more funding from the Provider Relief Fund to be sent to healthcare providers serving recipients of Medicaid and low-income patients. Read the letter here.

On May 19th, I joined with colleagues in sending a letter to Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell urging the Fed to join the Network for Greening the Financial System in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the letter here.




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