March 05, 2020

Rep. Kilmer Visits Pierce County Readiness Center with Vice President Pence, Governor Jay Inslee, Members of the Washington Congressional Delegation

Tacoma, WA – Today, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) visited the Pierce County Readiness Center to tour the Washington State Emergency Operations Center at Camp Murray with Vice President Mike Pence, Governor Jay Inslee, Administrator of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma, and members of the Washington congressional delegation. The emergency center at Camp Murray is serving as the site of the joint information center where staff from state agencies are working together to coordinate the response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“It’s important that the Vice President and head of the CDC traveled to Washington today to see the current situation first-hand and hear directly from those working to address the emerging health challenge that’s impacting our communities,” said Rep. Kilmer. “Our health care professionals and first responders are working day-and-night to keep folks safe. I’m proud that yesterday the House passed an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill to ensure the federal government steps up to the scale and seriousness of this growing public health threat.” 

Yesterday, Rep. Kilmer voted to support H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provides $8.3 billion in new funding to establish a robust response to this public health emergency. The legislation, which passed the House 415-2, includes $950 million for state and local health agencies to conduct vital public health activities, including surveillance, laboratory testing, infection control, contact tracing, and mitigation.

The legislation also includes a provision championed by Rep. Kilmer that allows $1 billion in loan subsidies to be made available to help small businesses, including shellfish growers, trade-dependent manufacturers, and others that have been impacted by financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. This funding could enable the Small Business Administration to provide an estimated $7 billion in loans to these entities and provides $20 million to the SBA to administer these loans.

In early February, Rep. Kilmer led a bipartisan, bicameral letter of 48 lawmakers calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to distribute rapid diagnostic tests for the novel coronavirus as quickly as possible, prioritizing states with confirmed cases of the virus to receive the first available test kits. The letter followed the initial confirmation of 11 cases of coronavirus in the U.S., including the first diagnosed case in Washington state.