March 26, 2020

Warren, Markey, in Letter to President Trump, Sound Alarm Over Lack of Federal Support for Massachusetts Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

"Massachusetts health care providers and public health leaders are doing everything they can to ... respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. But you and your Administration have failed them at every turn."

Earlier Today, Senator Warren Unveiled Plans for Increasing Testing and Supplies  

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to President Trump regarding the dire conditions facing hospitals, health care providers, and first responders in Massachusetts and across the country as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency and the Trump Administration's botched response. The senators' letter follows a Medium post published today by Senator Warren in which she laid out plans for ways Congress should step in to increase the supplies of COVID-19 diagnostic test kits and the resources needed to administer them nationwide.

"Until we meet these urgent needs by substantially increasing our medical capacities, we cannot send people back to work, and our economy will continue to suffer," the senators wrote. "There are a number of steps the Federal Government can and must take to ramp up production of medical equipment, test kits, personal protective equipment, and other badly-stretched supplies, and we ask that you and your administration promptly harness the full power of the federal government to respond to this crisis."

The Trump Administration has been unable to develop and distribute diagnostic tests in a timely fashion, and the president and other officials have repeatedly lied to the country about when they would be available. As cases of COVID-19 continue to climb, Massachusetts hospitals and health care providers are facing or are imminently anticipating shortages of medical supplies needed to combat COVID-19 and ensure that front line workers do not risk infection or contribute to the spread of the virus. 

In their letter, Senators Warren and Markey highlighted three major concerns of Massachusetts health care providers and public health officials: (1) front line providers do not have protective gear; (2) the state does not have enough testing kits and testing supplies, and (3) the state may soon not have enough hospital capacity.

"Massachusetts health care providers and public health leaders are doing everything they can to stem this crisis and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. But you and your Administration have failed them at every turn," the senators continued.

The lawmakers also condemned President Trump's response to the pandemic, noting his delayed declaration of a national emergency and his administration's ineffective use of the Strategic National Stockpile to provide critical resources to cities, states, and hospitals. The lawmakers also criticized the President for not activating the Army Corps of Engineers to build and develop medical infrastructure in a timely fashion, and for his refusal to use his full authority under the Defense Production Act to boost production of much-needed respirators, ventilators, and other medical equipment.

"Your multitude of failures has resulted in an unimaginable economic collapse and a public health catastrophe, in Massachusetts and nationwide," wrote the senators. "On behalf of the American people, you must do better."

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Senator Warren has pressed the Trump Administration to respond effectively to deliver the robust set of resources needed to address this emergency, including a faster expansion in diagnostic testing, medical supplies and care capacity, and support for state and local governments to be able to help people quickly. A week ago, she put out a plan to respond to the economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus crisis -- proposing at least $750 billion in stimulus money to save our economy and help families. Building on the proposals she laid out, she worked to ensure student loan debt cancellation and a critical increase in Social Security and disability benefits are a core part of the stimulus package Democrats negotiate. Senator Warren was also the first to lay out a detailed list of conditions tied to any taxpayer-funded bailouts, such as requiring companies to keep workers on payroll, implement a $15 minimum wage, permanently ban stock buybacks, prohibit CEO bonuses, and more. Her efforts are focused on ensuring stimulus money reaches the people who need it most in this crisis -- workers and families -- and bringing much-needed structural change to our economy.