Updates from Congressman Ted Lieu - Update 5/15/20 - HEROES Act + More
Today the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, a bold, comprehensive coronavirus relief package that builds upon four prior congressional laws to address the impact of the pandemic. The bill provides significant funds to state and local governments and school districts to protect essential workers like first responders, health care workers and teachers. It would also support critical health measures like testing, contact tracing and access to free coronavirus treatment.
In addition, the bill includes provisions to send more direct economic assistance payments ($1,200 per family member and up to $6,000 per household) to Americans, protect payrolls, support small businesses and nonprofits, extend unemployment benefits, strengthen food security and more to protect the lives and livelihoods of those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. My hope is that the Senate will move swiftly to pass this bill, which puts American workers and families first.
I am pleased that the Heroes Act contains two bills I introduced: the SAVE Act to allow the VA to provide food and supplies to homeless veterans, and the Inspector General Protection Act, which passed the House last year, to require the President to notify Congress prior to removing an Inspector General.
Also included in the Heroes Act is a bill I coauthored to allow smaller cities direct access to coronavirus relief funds – so they have the necessary resources to address the unique needs of their communities. The bill includes a provision to address price gouging, an issue I’ve championed with Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Representative Joe Neguse; $25 million for the Farm to Food Bank Project; and the inclusion of non-profit organizations as eligible beneficiaries of the Paycheck Protection Program.
One of the biggest challenges families face is the risk of losing their homes because they are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19. I was pleased to see that the Heroes Act would provide emergency assistance funds to help low-income renters avoid eviction. Although this is a step in the right direction, we need to establish a more permanent federal standard to keep families in their homes, which is why I recently introduced the Prevent Evictions Act to reduce low-dollar evictions by creating and supporting landlord-tenant mediation and rental insurance programs.
The HEROES Act is an important step towards getting families what they need during this crisis. I am pleased to see provisions in this bill that will help CA-33 address challenges brought on by COVID-19.
Below are additional updates and resources related to the coronavirus.
From the State
California is now early in Stage 2 of the reopening process, meaning curbside pickup retail, manufacturing and logistics sites can open. These lower-risk workplaces must follow state-issued industry guidelines to ensure a safe reopening. This includes performing a detailed risk assessment, implementing disinfecting protocols and physical distancing guidelines and training employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.
This week, Governor Newsom announced that California has administered over 1 million COVID-19 tests, averaging more than 35,000 tests daily. To increase testing capacity even further, the California Department of Consumer Affairs and the California State Board of Pharmacy issued a waiver to soon make testing available in pharmacies. I’m proud of California’s leadership in prioritizing testing as one of the most fundamental steps in the path toward recovery.
From LA County
LA County has expanded its Safer at Home order indefinitely beyond the original May 15 expiration date. The new order will allow for all retail locations to open for curbside pickup – except for those at indoor shopping centers. The manufacturers that supply those retailers can also open but must clearly post the safety measures they are taking to meet County guidelines. Although the new order does not have an expiration date, there will be modifications in the coming weeks and months to slowly ease restrictions. For updates on what is opening and when, visit covid19.lacounty.gov/recovery.
I’m pleased that on May 13, beaches in LA County reopened for ocean activities and exercise. Please remember that sitting, gathering and sunbathing is still prohibited and beach parking lots, piers, concessions, and boardwalks remain closed until further notice. While on the beach, individuals must maintain 6 feet of distance and wear face coverings when out of the water and around others. Although I’m glad we can begin to exercise on the beach again, we need to remember to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For more information on beach reopenings, visit beaches.lacounty.gov.
Below is our weekly update of resources and information to help keep you and your family safe. I also want to let you know that federal, state, and local officials are working together like never before to address this pandemic.
On Wednesday, I joined state Senator Ben Allen, LA Councilmember Mike Bonin and LA Unified School District Board Member Nick Melvoin for a Westside COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall (click on the hyperlink to watch the full town hall).
Non-profit organizations have played a pivotal role in providing relief for Americans during this crisis. However, we’ve heard from many non-profits that have not been able to apply for much-needed loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). I sent a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting that these organizations be included as eligible beneficiaries of the PPP in the new coronavirus legislation.
In addition, I led my colleagues in urging leadership to expand funding for the USDA’s Emergency Food Assistance (TEFAP) Farm to Food Bank Program, which pays for projects to harvest, process and transport food from farms to local food banks. As COVID-19 causes hunger to spike across the nation, this funding is needed to help keep food from being destroyed on the farms and to feed hungry Americans.
I am currently working with other Members of Congress on our fifth bill to address this pandemic. We need to provide another round of stimulus to stabilize our economy and put us in position for recovery. Hopefully that bill will be ready for introduction next week.
From the State
This week, Governor Newsom announced that because of Californians’ commitment to staying at home, the state has made sufficient progress to move to Stage 2 of the four Resilience Roadmap Stages today, May 8th. This means some lower risk workplaces such as bookstores, clothing stores, florists and sporting goods stores can reopen with modifications if they meet the guidelines provided by the state. Although I look forward to seeing the reopening of some of our businesses, it’s crucial we approach this stage with considerable caution to prevent another spike in cases and lose the progress we’ve made so far.
Contact tracing plays a significant role in containing the spread of COVID-19. Through this method, trained tracers can identify those who’ve recently come in contact with a COVID-19-positive patient and closely monitor their symptoms, offer testing and recommend isolation. This process is integral to curbing the exponential growth in cases we’ve seen over recent months. To strengthen our capacity to contact trace, Governor Newsom announced a partnership with UCLA and UC San Francisco to create a landmark contact tracing program with a goal of virtually training 20,000 new tracers.
California also launched a new testing website, covid19.ca.gov/testing-and-
From LA County
The degree of reopening capacity in California varies depending on county. Here in LA County, Phase II will begin today, May 8, and will allow low-risk retailers such as florists, toy stores and bookstores to open for curbside pick-up only. In addition, trails, trailheads, and golf courses will reopen on Saturday, May 9 and local, community and regional parks will open on Sunday, May 10. All activities in these locations must adhere to social distancing and infection control protocols. Please note that beaches are still closed at this time. To learn more about LA County’s Phase II reopening plan, go to covid19.lacounty.gov/recovery/
- For an update on the progression of COVID-19 cases in California, visit update.covid19.ca.gov.
- All LA County residents are eligible to receive a COVID-19 test. Priority will still be given to those experiencing symptoms and critical front-line workers. To schedule a test, click here. New testing sites in or near California’s 33rd District are:
- Santa Monica College (SMU), 2800 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405
- Hawthorne Memorial Center, Betty Ainsworth Sports Center, 3851 W El Segundo Blvd, Hawthorne, CA 90250
-Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, 21840 Normandie Ave, Torrance, CA 90502 (Opening May 11)
- To see a list of LA County locations such as residential congregate settings, restaurants and retail stores where one or more COVID-19 cases have been reported, click here.
- To sign up for local alerts in Los Angeles County, click here.
- Covered California is now holding a special enrollment period for eligible Californians to sign up for quality, affordable health care coverage through the end of June. To learn more, go to coveredca.com.
- If you’re unable to pay your rent, you cannot be evicted by your landlord in LA County during this time. Please visit rent.lacounty.gov or call (833) 238 – 4450 for help making a payment arrangement.
- Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Attorney Mike Feuer announced the launch of LA Represents, a pro bono initiative to provide free legal services to LA City residents facing extreme hardship due to COVID-19. For more information, visit corona-virus.la/LARepresents.
- To find qualified, licensed child care providers near you, use the interactive map tool on mychildcare.ca.gov and search by location, health and safety details, ages of children, capacity, and hours of care.
- For helpful resources for college students and parents, take a look at this guide from Scholar Share 529.
- May is Mental Health Awareness Month. LA County’s Department of Mental Health is partnering with Headspace to offer free subscriptions to all LA County residents. Visit Headspace.com to sign up for meditation, sleep and movement exercises to help ease your anxiety and stress.
- All LA County voters will receive mail-in ballots in time for the November election. Visit California Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s website for more.
- The California Lifeline Program provides low-cost or free telephone services to eligible, low-income residents. Click here to see if you qualify for the program.
- Covered California for Small Business created a new program to help employers continue to provide insurance to their employees during the pandemic. If you are an employer who’d like to participate, please call the CCSB Service Center at (877) 777-6782.
- If you own a small business and are in need of financial relief because of COVID-19, go to the SBA website for more information on available loans.
- To see if you are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment or to check the status of that payment, visit irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-
impact-payments and take a look at these updated FAQs.
- Governor Newsom recently announced new initiatives to distribute excess produce from farmers to local food banks and provide benefits to replace free school meals that children are no longer receiving. Click here to learn more about the state’s efforts to combat food insecurity.
- If you are a resident of LA County in need of food support, visit covid19.lacounty.gov/get-
- If you have food to share and would like to donate or volunteer, visit covid19.lacounty.gov/give-
- To safely help our community by donating blood, supporting food shelters, delivering meals to seniors and more, go to Californians for All and join the fight.
As always, you can find additional COVID-19 updates on my coronavirus webpage and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts. If you need help with a federal agency, please contact my office at (323) 651-1040. My staff is working remotely and can assist you. I look forward to updating you again soon.
Read full update here
I hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy as we continue to navigate this public health crisis.
As the weather continues to warm up across Southern California, please remember that all Los Angeles County and Orange County beaches are closed until further notice. This decision was made in an effort to reduce crowding on beaches thus reducing infections so we can continue to flatten the curve. My hope is that we will soon be able to once again enjoy the peace and tranquility our beaches offer, but for now it’s important we stay committed to our goal of staying home to save lives.
I’m pleased that this week, the Small Business Administration reopened applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) after critical funds were replenished by an additional $310 billion through the interim emergency aid measure signed into law last week. If you own a small business and are seeking relief, please go to the SBA website for more information on available loans. If you’d like to receive regular updates from the SBA district office nearest to you, enter your zip code here to subscribe to the SBA newsletter.
In addition, California recently launched the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) to help businesses, self-employed individuals, independent contractors and others who are out of work because of the coronavirus. As part of the federal CARES Act, the program helps unemployed Californians with up to 39 weeks of benefits and a federal extension for those who have run out of their regular state-provided UI benefits. For more information on how to file a claim, visit the CA Employment Development Department (EDD) website and take a look at these FAQs.
Earlier this week, I joined a virtual meeting with city councilmembers and mayors within my district to provide updates on the work being done in Congress and hear from local leaders about key issues their cities are facing. I also participated in a virtual town hall hosted by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi and CalNonprofits to discuss resources for nonprofit organizations as they help provide relief for Californians, and give updates on federal assistance programs. I was pleased to learn about the various community initiatives in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and reduce its impact on businesses and families.
I recognize this is an especially difficult time for smaller communities as they grapple with drastic changes in funding, which is why I will do my best to ensure their concerns are heard in Congress as we work on a more comprehensive relief package. Today, I spoke with my colleagues from the California delegation in the House of Representatives during a regional press call. We discussed provisions we’re hoping to see in the next CARES coronavirus package, including more funding for state and city governments.
Here are some additional COVID-19 updates and resources:
The state of California launched a user-friendly webpage, update.covid19.ca.gov, to track the progression of COVID-19 cases across California and in individual counties. The site also outlines the distribution of COVID-19 cases based on gender, age, and ethnicity, and provides an update on testing and hospitalizations. The data on this portal will be updated daily.
As you may know, Colorado and Nevada have joined California, Oregon and Washington in their West Coast pact to work together to reopen our economies when it’s safe to do so. California will make modifications to the Stay-At-Home order by working through 4 Roadmap Stages defined by scientific results and data. Additionally, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently approved a plan outlining the framework for economic recovery and development in Los Angeles County following the COVID-19 pandemic.
READ FULL UPDATE HERE
Yesterday, the House passed an interim emergency aid measure to replenish small business relief funds and provide additional funding for hospitals and testing. The package provides more support for small businesses with $310 billion to strengthen the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $50 billion for emergency disaster lending, and $10 billion in emergency disaster grants. Democrats fought hard to expand access to the PPP to more small businesses, and to ensure the legislation also included $75 billion in aid for hospitals and $25 billion to bolster the nation’s testing capacity, which will be crucial to reopening the economy.
I’ve been meeting virtually with various chambers of commerce about the PPP and the emergency disaster lending program. This week I was pleased to speak with the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce. Although I’m glad we passed the interim legislation, it is an intermediate step while Congress works to put forth another more comprehensive coronavirus relief package in the coming weeks.
Earlier this week, I joined Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Representative Joe Neguse in highlighting the issue of price gouging. In this time of increasing economic uncertainty, the last thing Americans need is to face a spike in the price of essential goods and consumer products. We discussed the bill I introduced with Rep. Neguse, Senator Warren and Senator Harris, the Price Gouging Prevention Act to prohibit this predatory practice. The bill was modeled after the California anti-price gouging statute, which made it illegal for a person or business to raise the price of an item by more than 10% after an emergency has been declared.
Here are some updates on COVID-19:
As testing becomes more widely available across California, frontline workers in LA County are now eligible to receive tests – regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms. This includes health care workers, grocery store workers, first responders, critical government personnel and other essential workers.
If you are not a frontline worker but are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you are also eligible to receive a test. To schedule an appointment for a test, visit covid19.lacounty.gov/testing.
As we continue to stay home and save lives, we can find more ways to safely support our community. On April 21, Governor Newsom announced a new #CaliforniansForAll service initiative to connect Californians with safe volunteer opportunities. Through #CaliforniansForAll, you can volunteer to help those in need by supporting local food banks and shelters, delivering meals to seniors, donating blood, and more. To sign up to volunteer, go to californiansforall.ca.gov.
Free Food Resources
The County and City of LA are mobilizing to provide free meals for those in need. If you need help with food expenses or don’t have access to food, please visit this LA County webpage to sign up for the free food program.
If you’re pregnant or a caretaker of a child under five and your economic situation has been impacted by COVID-19, you may qualify to receive free, nutritious food through the California Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. To apply, visit phfewic.org/apply or text APPLY to 91997. For more information, call WIC at 1 (888) 942-2229.
Alternatively, if you’re in the position to donate food and/or volunteer, please click here to see how you can lend a hand during this crisis.
Critical Delivery Service
If you need essential items such as groceries or other vital necessities but are unable to leave your home, LA County Workforce Development, Aging & Community Services (WDACS) can deliver items right to your door. Deliveries can be made 24/7. To request services, call 1-888-863-7411.
The Institute on Aging (IOA) has a 24-hour phone line to serve older adults and caregivers during this isolating time. If you’re feeling lonely and would like someone to talk to, please call the Friendship Line at 1 (888) 670-1360.
Food Sector Workers and Consumers
Our food sector workers are serving every day on the front lines of this crisis. On April 16, Governor Newsom signed an executive order providing paid sick leave benefits for food sector workers impacted by COVID-19. The order provides two weeks of paid sick leave for workers employed by large businesses such as grocery store chains and fast food restaurants, filling a gap in the federal relief program which provides similar benefits for workers in businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
The order also established additional safety protections for workers and consumers. For more information on grocery store best practices, see the recently issued guidance by Cal/OSHA for the grocery industry.
Consumer Information and Resources
The California Department of Justice has made available more resources to protect consumers. If you have questions about price gouging, avoiding scams, paying your mortgage or federal student loans and more, visit oag.ca.gov/consumers/covid-19 for the latest consumer information from the office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
READ MORE HERE
On Wednesday, I hosted a telephone town hall with CA-33 constituents regarding the coronavirus crisis. We discussed the bipartisan stimulus law and how individuals and businesses can seek economic relief. If you didn’t get the chance to join the call, you can listen to the full audio here.
During these difficult times, we must continue to work together to support our community. I’ve compiled a few resources to guide you to ways you can safely help people in need during this crisis.
As the coronavirus pandemic grows, more scheduled blood drives in our community have been cancelled due to concerns about congregating in workplaces, college campuses and schools. These cancellations have resulted in severe blood shortages, making victims of accidents or people recovering from cancer especially vulnerable without the help of lifesaving blood. The American Red Cross is urging those who are young, healthy and able to donate blood. To find information on where you can safely donate blood, click here.
In response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases, California is opening new health care sites to treat those affected. To ensure these sites are properly staffed, the state is calling on medical health professionals to join the California Health Corps and help fight this illness. If you are a health care provider, behavioral health professional or health care administrator, click here to sign up. I am incredibly grateful for the tireless work of our doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers who are going above and beyond to help our community during this crisis. I encourage you to find a way to thank healthcare workers in our community for their bravery and heroism on the front lines of this fight.
Another way to help our healthcare workers is to make sure they're protected. If you want to donate or know of businesses that may be able to help with personal protective equipment (PPE) such as surgical masks, N95 face masks, face shields, and other medical supplies, contact the LA County Department of Public Health by emailing medsupply@dhs.
Whether you're a healthcare professional or not, this is a stressful and uncertain time for all of us. If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, please call the LA County Department of Mental Health 24/7 Access Line at (800) 854-7771 to talk to someone. You can also text “LA” to 741741. Although we are physically apart, we can continue to be there for one another as we navigate through this crisis.
For help with the following, please call:
- General information about COVID-19: (833) 544 – 2374
- Community services and support: 211
- Medicine and medical attention: your healthcare provider or pharmacy
- An Emergency: 911
I also recognize how challenging this situation can be for parents and caretakers with children at home. For tips on how to talk to kids about COVID-19 and other family resources, visit First 5 California.
To find more ways to get involved and safely help our community during this difficult time, click here. As always, you can visit my coronavirus webpage for updates and resources on COVID-19. You can also visit the California COVID-19 webpage and the LA County COVID-19 webpage. Together we will slow the spread of coronavirus if we continue to practice social distancing, wash our hands, and stay at home except when performing essential activities. I look forward to updating you again soon.
Ted W. Lieu
Member of Congress
During this pandemic, I intend to keep updating you with the latest information on the coronavirus. My top priority is your health and safety, and that of the community. On Tuesday, I hosted a telephone town hall with public health experts who answered many questions about COVID-19, how it spreads, and what we can do to manage it. I also updated constituents on the work being done in Congress to mitigate the potential long-term economic effects this crisis will have on American lives. To listen to our full discussion, click here.
As you may know, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles County, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti have issued Stay at Home orders. It is imperative that we comply with these orders to prevent the virus from spreading. In general, this means people should stay home except when performing essential activities such as buying food, caring for a relative or friend, getting necessary health care, or going to an essential job. If you leave your home, you must continue to practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet of separation between you and another person. All bars and nightclubs, restaurants (except for take-out and delivery services), gyms, entertainment venues and other establishments will remain closed to the public until further notice. To find more information about the specific provisions of the Stay at Home orders, visit https://covid19.ca.gov/ and https://corona-virus.la/.
Congress has been working hard to provide relief for families and workers impacted by the coronavirus. On Wednesday, the House-passed coronavirus relief package was finally signed into law. The package includes provisions such as free coronavirus testing, more funding for unemployment insurance and paid emergency leave for workers at small and medium sized businesses. This is in addition to the bipartisan legislation Congress passed two weeks ago for billions for vaccine research, small business loans and testing. However, more needs to be done to curb the impact that this virus will have. I am currently working with House Leadership on a third bill to provide economic stimulus and immediate relief to Americans who are now unemployed or underemployed because of this pandemic.
This week, I also sent two letters to Vice President Pence, chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, requesting that the Administration outline its plan to address critical shortages in personal protective equipment for first responders and healthcare providers, and shortages of the chemical reagents needed to conduct coronavirus testing. Earlier this month I co-signed a letter to the President requesting that he use the Defense Production Act to get the equipment and materials we need to combat the spread of coronavirus. I am grateful the President agreed to do so today.
While our community's health and safety is my top concern, I am also aware of another threat related to COVID-19 that could disrupt lives and cause financial damage. During times of crisis - particularly public health emergencies - there is always an increase in phishing scams and cyberattacks by hackers exploiting confusion and fear. Now more than ever, we must practice good "cyber hygiene" by following these steps from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
1. Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.
2. Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or World Health Organization experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the actual websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
3. Ignore online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no approved vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products that can treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores.
4. Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
Below are several trustworthy sources where up-to-date information can be found:
- My website: https://lieu.house.gov/
- The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health: http://publichealth.lacounty.
- The California Department of Public Health: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/
Your actions during this unprecedented crisis affect the health of others in our community. Remember to keep practicing good hygiene by washing your hands regularly, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or preferably a tissue, and staying home as much as possible. Because this virus can be spread by people who have no symptoms, the best course of action is to continue to put six feet of distance between you and others. Although we are facing challenging times, I am confident we can get ahead of this virus if we continue to work together.
Ted W. Lieu
Member of Congress