Washington lawmakers visit PNNL to learn about scientists’ efforts to fight COVID-19 outbreak

Washington lawmakers visit PNNL

RICHLAND, Wash. — Washington lawmakers paid a visit to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland where scientists are using their expertise to come up with new ways to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

Congressman Dan Newhouse, State Senator Sharon Brown and State Representatives Brad Klippert and Matt Boehnke met with PNNL scientists on Tuesday. They couldn’t share many details about the work that is underway, but mentioned that scientists are working on possibly improving methods in regards to screening and testing.

“Here at PNNL we have a tremendous amount of assets, people, equipment and capabilities” said Rep. Newhouse. “I think there’s going to be some exciting things that will help in the immediate future and also with the mid-term and long-term needs that we’re going to have.”

The lawmakers also spoke briefly to the media about what is being done on the state and federal level to help fight the outbreak.

President Trump recently signed an $8 billion Coronavirus relief bill that was passed by Congress. In Washington, Gov. Inslee signed a package of five COVID-19 related bills into law on Tuesday to boost the statewide response to the recent outbreak.

The emergency funding and other measures have only been possible through bipartisan collaboration.

“It’s almost a 9/11 moment, where Americans are coming together because we know that we all have a role in this,” said Rep. Newhouse. “I think that idea pervades through Congress as well.”

The state lawmakers in attendance said they had a similar experience in Olympia.

“We might fight like cat and dogs when we’re deliberating on social issues on the floor, but when it comes to crisis time we really come together,” said Rep. Klippert. “I didn’t sense a spirit of fear or anxiety in the legislature; I saw a spirit of collaboration and cooperation, and we’re going to get through this.”

Sen. Brown encouraged those in need of financial help to visit the Washington State Department of of Financial Institutions website for resources.