Local lawmakers express mixed emotions toward Trump Administration’s COVID-19 response

Local Lawmakers
Cantwell, Walden, Rude

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s House unanimously passed House Bill 2965 this week, allowing $100 million in emergency funds to go towards combating the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Both sides of the aisle quickly came together to address the emergent issue of the COVID-19 virus that’s currently hitting our state head-on. Unfortunately we’ve seen nine deaths associated with the coronavirus in a matter of days. This funding authorization ensures the Department of Health and other local agencies have the resources they need to effectively combat this virus. When the Legislature adjourns on March 12, we wouldn’t be able to authorize additional funding short of a special session, and that is something we’d like to avoid,” said Representative Skyler Rude, R-Walla Walla.

This comes as Representative Greg Walden of Oregon’s 2nd congressional district said during a recent town hall meeting in Grants Pass, nearly every question asked was related to COVID-19.

“It’s important to remember that for Americans the threat of this virus remains low,” said Walden, “I’m confident the U.S. government has the tools necessary to deal with this.”

However, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said, “Millions of tests aren’t available right this second. People are calling their doctors and they’re not being able to get tests.”

Walden added that Congress is working to add emergency supplemental funding to respond specifically to COVID-19.

“We need to remain focused, making sure that our local health care officials have everything they need. We are in regular contact with ours in Oregon,” said Walden.

The Oregon Health Authority recently confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Umatilla County. Walden noted that on Friday he will be meeting with local public health officials from the county.

Senator Cantwell questioned the vice president, who is leading the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus, about the lack of available tests.

“Tell us when the tests are going to be available,” Cantwell continued, expressing frustration over the lack of transparency provided by Trump administration officials. “People are calling their doctors, and they’re not being able to get a test, so let’s get crisper and clearer about what the process is for people to get testing and when the availability of those tests will be there for them.”