I hope that this message finds you and your families safe and healthy. As I am sure you are aware, cases of COVID-19 are on the rise again in Oregon. This Fourth of July weekend, taking commonsense measures to slow the spread of the virus will be critical. Governor Brown has mandated face coverings for all counties in the state as of this week. Wearing a face covering when indoors is a simple, easy way to slow the spread of COVID and protect those who may be at higher risk. It would be devastating for the thousands of small businesses in our state to have to close a second time. Many are struggling to stay afloat as is. Now that Oregon is starting to safely reopen, we must all do our part to mitigate spread, keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed and ensure that our businesses and schools can safely reopen. We have seen cases spike in all age groups following holiday weekends and even outbreaks within families at large gatherings. It is tempting to have large holiday gatherings, especially in the beautiful Oregon summer weather that we all love so much, but this Fourth of July, keep gatherings small and outdoors!
The Fifth District is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the Unites States and many folks will be venturing to the coast for the holiday. Help keep our coastal neighbors safe, and be sure to wear a mask when indoors when you frequent businesses at the beach. So, wear a mask, keep gatherings small and always socially distance when possible. It's about respect, and that's the Oregon way.
This week, the House of Representatives voted on two critical bills. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act and the Moving Forward Act. I spoke on the House floor this week in support of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act, a bill to strengthen the Affordable Care Act. We need to build on the progress of the Affordable Care Act to lower health costs and prescription drug prices, not rip away Americans’ health care in the middle of a pandemic. This package included my bipartisan bill to ensure that folks who are losing their employer-sponsored coverage are aware their options to maintain health care include both COBRA and the marketplace. Since the ACA went into effect, we have seen positive trends in coverage and utilization. We must continue to build on the parts we know that are working and no small part of that is the expansion of Medicaid. All of our states are facing budget crises and more folks are shifting over to Medicaid. While providing health care is an investment upfront, it pays dividends on the back end by driving preventative care and reducing costly treatments.
The Moving Forward Act (HR.2) was a sweeping package to rebuild America’s infrastructure while creating millions of family-wage jobs, combatting the climate crisis and addressing disparities in public transportation throughout America. It will rebuild our highways, bridges, transit, rail, and airports, modernizes our energy infrastructure for a clean energy future and expands affordable high-speed Internet to underserved communities. Expanding broadband in underserved communities is crucial for America's children to continue to learn remotely successfully.
Great news for Salem area commuters! I led a letter in June to the Department of Transportation, advocating for a grant to replace five of the oldest Salem Keizer transit buses with new electric models. The grant was approved and these new battery powered electric buses will dramatically reduce emissions, lower operating costs and will be far more reliable for Salem area passengers. Transit investments should be a top national priority and I am proud to have worked to secure this much needed funding.
Member of Congress