Rep. Mikie Sherrill has formed The COVID-19 Regional Recovery Task Force with New York Rep. Pete King (R-NY).
This task force, which features elected representatives from Delaware, Pennsylvania and Connecticut as well as New York and New Jersey, will work with experts to offer recommendations and policy proposals for near- and medium-term efforts to get Americans back to work, and address critical questions facing the Northeast.
Charting A Way Forward
“Representative King and I are forming this working group to look ahead and propose meaningful actions to chart a way forward in these uncertain times,” said Sherrill.
Sherrill said that she is leaning on her background in serving her country in forming the task force.
“In the military, I learned early on that you are either in a crisis or preparing for a crisis,” said the first-term Democrat. “As we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also consider the coming challenge of how we make sure we can get Americans back to work safely and how we prevent another significant COVID-19 outbreak.”
The group plans to meet weekly and examine topics including:
- When and how we can get back to work safely, including addressing societal fears around returning to public spaces;
- Replenishing stockpiles of personal protection equipment and other critical equipment as well as prioritizing the production of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies is returned to the U.S.
- Increasing access to reliable virus and antibody tests in coordination with efficient contact tracing;
- Containing the pandemic and preventing subsequent waves of outbreak; and
- Voting safely
“The coronavirus pandemic has revealed dangerous deficiencies in our health defense systems,” said Rep. King. “We must find ways to significantly improve those defenses going forward while taking safe and effective measures to reopen our country.”
Previous Bipartisan Efforts
This is the third bipartisan effort being led by a member of the North Jersey congressional delegation. The Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC), co-chaired by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, recently released its Reopening and Recovery “Back to Work” Checklist, a data-driven proposal focused on issues including public health, economic rescue and stimulus policies the caucus wants to see incorporated in Washington’s plans to address the COVID-19 crisis.
On the Senate side, Sen. Bob Menendez proposed a bipartisan bill that would deliver $500 billion to states and communities on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. The State and Municipal Aid for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Fund will expand upon the existing $150 billion set aside in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help both local governments and states.
Besides Sherrill and King, other members of the task force will include Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jim Himes (D-CT), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Dan Meuser (R-PA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).