U.S. Senator Tina Smith Action on Coronavirus
Ensuring Families and Communities in Minnesota and
Across the Country are Safe, Prepared, and Protected
Since January, when the rapidly-spreading Coronavirus began to raise international concern, U.S. Senator Tina Smith has worked on a bipartisan basis to ensure Minnesota and the nation are prepared to respond to this health emergency. She has:
- Pressed to ensure the public has only reliable, science-based information that will keep Americans safe and she has posted such information on her Senate website and on social media posts.
- Pushed the President and several of his cabinet members for a more-robust, transparent and less-chaotic response to the disease and raised alarms when they were disseminating inaccurate information.
- Worked with Minnesota Business leaders on the impact of the Coronavirus on MN companies.
- Backed bipartisan legislation and policies to put the necessary resources toward keeping communities and families in Minnesota and across the country safe.
- Stayed in touch with top Minnesota officials to share information on state-federal efforts to combat virus.
- She has helped several Minnesotans, including a newborn, travel home from China after concern over the virus made travel from that country to the United States extremely difficult. All have since cleared quarantine and remain healthy.
Here is a more detailed recount of actions she’s taken:
March 25 – Sen. Smith Supports bipartisan passage of a $2 trillion COVID-19 response package that will speed assistance to health care providers in Minnesota and across the country in order to deal with the coming surge in cases, and help hard-hit Minnesota families, workers and small businesses deal with the fallout.
March 25 – In live interview on WCCO Radio, Sen. Smith discusses negotiations in Senate to address economic and health care fallout from coronavirus.
March 22 – Sen. Smith presses bipartisan legislation to ensure rural hospitals and providers have adequate resources to deal with the surge in patient needs caused by the coronavirus.
March 21 – Sen. Smith led effort urging Senate leader to include resources for child care providers in bill to address the economic fallout of coronavirus pandemic.
March 20 – As Coronavirus causes steep drop in ethanol prices, Sen. Smith joined by Sen. Klobuchar in pushing President Trump to support strong Renewable Fuel Standard.
March 20 – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials responds to Sen. Smith’s urgent call to increase capacity of hospitals and health providers to deal with the surge in coronavirus care by outlining protective measures to expand capacity
March 18– In letter to Secretary of State Pompeo, Sen. Smith presses for immediate State Department action to get trapped Minnesotans and other Americans out of countries that have closed their borders due to the coronavirus.
March 18– Presses FEMA to ensure that hospitals and other health providers who are now facing an overwhelming increase in emergency coronavirus patients will get quick federal funding and reimbursement to help them expand capacity to meet the need.
March 18– Sen. Smith helps pass a bipartisan emergency aid package that includes her bill to make coronavirus testing free. The package would also provide paid sick and family leave for many impacted workers, and grant new funding for unemployment assistance.
March 16 – Sen. Smith joins Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips and several top Minnesota health and disease experts on a public tele-town hall to answer questions from Minnesotans about the state of the Coronavirus and precautions that will help prevent its spread.
March 13 – Sen. Smith, colleagues ask what the administration is doing to prepare for the spread of COVID-19 and communicating with childcare providers and early childhood educators about the pandemic. You can read the letter here.
March 12 – Sen. Smith, colleagues press Vice President Pence for more information on the Administration’s efforts to ensure that seniors, people with disabilities, and the home care workers that serve them are adequately equipped for the potential spread of COVID-19. You can read the letter here.
March 12 – Sen. Smith, colleagues ask Vice President Pence for updates on the Administration’s efforts to protect nursing home residents, families, and workers from the spread of COVID-19. Specifically, they asked for information regarding guidance to long-term care facilities as well as residents and families, training and protections for workers, and oversight and inspection activities related to infection control. You can read the letter here.
March 12 – Sen. Smith, colleagues ask Vice President Pence for information on the Administration’s efforts to ensure that seniors, people with disabilities and those who have limited English proficiency receive accurate, timely, and clear information about the novel coronavirus. You can read the letter here.
March 12 – Sen. Smith introduces the Protection for Quarantined Individuals Act, which would prohibit employers from firing, punishing or otherwise discriminating against a worker who is quarantined or isolated—or who is caring for a family member in quarantine or isolation—amid the coronavirus pandemic.March 12 – Sen. Smith introduces the Free COVID-19 Testing Act, which would ensure that no person—with or without insurance—incurs cost-sharing when receiving a test to confirm a COVID-19 infection. Specifically, this bill waives cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and testing-related services—such as the cost of a visit.
March 12 – Sen. Smith and over 30 of her Senate colleagues send a letter to President Trump calling for an economic stimulus package focused on helping working Americans and their families who will be most harmed by the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus.
March 12 – Sen. Smith helps introduce the Commission on America’s Medical Security Act, bipartisan legislation to safeguard America’s medical supply chain and address shortages due to the United States’ dependence on foreign-made medical supplies.
March 11 – Sen. Smith helps introduce a bill to make sure telehealth is included in the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s Strategic Plan. This bill would help increase access to telehealth tools and technologies for both health care providers and patients, including the use of remote monitoring technologies. It would also help increase access to telehealth tools and technologies for both health care providers and patients, including the use of remote monitoring technologies.
March 11 – Sen. Smith, colleagues ask Department of Education Secretary DeVos for information regarding its response to school closures at K-12 schools and at institutions of higher education. The letter asks for answers to a variety of questions, including how the department will coordinate with USDA on children’s access to meals, assistance to families for online learning, access to online learning for students with disabilities, continuity of mental health services, and the impact of illness or absences on federal student aid.
March 9 – Sen. Smith thanks MN health providers, public health officials for work to combat Coronavirus. Posts link to accurate information on MN Dept. of Health web site.
March 8 – In live TV interview on WCCO TV, Sen. Smith discusses national Coronavirus response and preparedness, praises state of Minnesota’s response, and decries misinformation coming from Administration.
March 6 – As first Minnesota Coronavirus case is confirmed, Sen. Smith is in contact with Governor and top MN health officials and posts link to information on MN Dept. of Health web site.
March 6 – Sens. Smith, Klobuchar join bipartisan push on Vice President to meaningfully engage with Native Communities and Tribal leaders on Coronavirus response. They note $40 million was approved for Tribes in emergency Coronavirus funding bill.
March 5 – Sen. Smith helps pass $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat Coronavirus across the country. Minnesota will receive approximately $10 million for public health response to virus.
March 5 – Sen. Smith calls local public health officials in Minnesota to discuss their work on the Coronavirus, including their planning, preparedness, and response.
March 4 – Sen. Smith presses Census Bureau Director for plan to ensure Coronavirus doesn’t affect accuracy of Census, health of census takers.
March 4 – Sen. Smith, other Senators tell Health Secretary Azar that Administration’s sabotage of health programs and lack of action to lower drug prices is key reason for less effective response to Coronavirus.
March 4 – Sen. Smith discusses Coronavirus preparedness and response with top officials in Minnesota, including Governor Walz, Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, and Rochester Mayor Kim Norton.
March 3 – At Senate Health Committee hearing, Sen. Smith presses health experts on negative impact of Administration spreading misinformation on Coronavirus.
March 3 – Sen. Smith, other Senators Press Education Secretary Devos for plan to protect Teachers, students staff in nation’s schools.
February 28 – Sen. Smith posts links to reliable public information on Coronavirus from MN Dept. of Health, federal Centers for Disease Control on her website.
February 28 – Sen. Smith and Sen. Cardin push FDA on plans to address anticipated shortages and disruptions of drugs and medical supplies due to Coronavirus.
February 28 – In Minnesota TV interviews, Sens. Smith, Baldwin discuss need for stepped up action on Coronavirus, decry Trump effort to defund low income home heating assistance to pay for response to Coronavirus. Smith also urged people to see her website and MDH, CDC information.
February 27 – Sen. Smith calls Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) on Coronavirus and proper national response.
February 27 – Sen. Smith discusses impact of Coronavirus with MN business leaders.February 27 – In letter, Sens. Smith and Baldwin urge President to properly fund Coronavirus response without taking money from low income home heating assistance.
February 19 – Sen. Smith backs Sens. Cassidy’s and Schatz’s bill to funding the Public Health Emergency Fund, and require monthly reports to Congress on preparedness and response to health emergencies.
February 15 – In joint letter, Sen. Smith urges Budget Director and Health Secretary to request robust funding to combat Coronavirus, including vaccine production, and reimbursement to states for costs of fighting Coronavirus. You can read the letter here.
February 13 – Sen. Smith joins letter urging U.S. National Security Advisor to appoint global health security expert to coordinate nation’s global health security efforts, including response to Coronavirus.
February 5 – Sen. Smith attends briefing with Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
February 3 – Sen. Smith presses Senate Appropriators to provide emergency funding to combat Coronavirus through the Public Health Emergency Fund.
January 29 – Sens. Smith, Klobuchar, Murray press HHS for updates on Coronavirus, call for scientifically-driven response.
January 27 – Sen. Smith calls Kris Ehresmann, Director of Infectious Disease Division at the Minnesota Department of Health, regarding state response to coronavirus.