January 22, 2021

Warren, Pressley Applaud Biden’s Swift Action on their Calls for Equitable Data Collection and Response

Biden Executive Order Contains Several Provisions Championed by the Lawmakers from Onset of Pandemic

Washington, DC – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) issued the following statement on President Biden’s executive order to ensure an equitable pandemic response and recovery, which contains several provisions championed by the lawmakers from the onset of the pandemic. 

“History has shown us that in the face of any public health crisis, Black, Brown and Indigenous communities disproportionately suffer. This is why we have repeatedly pressured our federal government from the onset of this pandemic to collect and publicly report on the stark racial disparities in COVID-19 cases and fatalities, and ensure that lifesaving resources are getting to the communities most impacted. 

“The President’s executive order answers these calls by taking a critical first step towards building a national COVID-19 response and recovery strategy that includes everyone—regardless of their race, age, gender and disability status. By investing in robust data collection nationwide, targeting relief for our hardest hit communities, and creating a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force made up of individuals with relevant lived experience and expertise in community-based healthcare services, this executive action will help ensure our most vulnerable communities get the life-saving support and resources they need to weather this crisis. 

“With the pandemic continuing to ravage families in Massachusetts and all across the country, we must keep our Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities front and center as we work towards an equitable, long-term recovery. We thank President Biden for taking this meaningful action and look forward to partnering with the administration to ensure the order is implemented transparently, inclusively, and effectively,” said the lawmakers.

From the onset of the pandemic, Senator Warren and Congresswoman Pressley have led efforts in Congress to ensure an equitable federal response to the pandemic that addresses existing racial disparities in the United States. 

  • In April 2020, the lawmakers led their colleagues in introducing the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act, legislation to require the federal government to collect and publicly release racial and other demographic data on COVID-19. The bill also would establish an inter-agency commission to make recommendations in real time on improving data collection and transparency and responding equitably to this crisis. Aspects of the legislation were included in a COVID-19 relief package signed into law later that month. 
  • In March 2020, Senator Warren and Congresswoman Pressley urged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect racial and ethnic demographic data on testing and treatment for COVID-19 to identify and address racial disparities.
  • The lawmakers also sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) calling on the agency to immediately release racial and ethnic data of Medicare beneficiaries who are tested or hospitalized for COVID-19.
  • Senator Warren and Congresswoman Pressley have also written to HHS asking for HHS's report on President Trump’s administration efforts to address racial disparities in health care access and outcomes, as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  • At the request of Senator Warren and Congresswoman Pressley, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) agreed to investigate how COVID-19 relief funds have been distributed to disproportionately affected communities.