Reps in the News: March 27 – April 3

Representative Joel Kitchens

Rep. Joel Kitchens asked constituents to support local businesses in whatever way they can during the COVID-19 crisis.

“During these difficult times, it’s more important than ever that we support our small businesses,” Kitchens said in an e-newsletter.

“Because of the need for social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the governor has ordered that all bars and restaurants be closed except for carry-out and delivery services. While we must do all we can to fight back against this virus, many businesses will struggle to survive as a result.

“I encourage you to join me during the public-health emergency in supporting these local businesses by either purchasing gift cards or taking meals home. The owners of these taverns and restaurants are our neighbors and have done so much over the years to make our communities a better place through fundraisers, donations, providing jobs and propping up our local economies.

“It is time we come together to pay them back.”

The March 24 Safer at Home order from Gov. Tony Evers allows restaurants to stay open for carry-out and pickup orders.

Source: Kitchens e-newsletter

Senator Ron Johnson

One of the nation’s top public-health officials leading the fight against the new coronavirus said Friday that recent comments by Sen. Ron Johnson were “way out.”

Johnson said during a March 17 interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the public needed to keep the COVID-19 disease in perspective, telling the newspaper that “we don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways.” Johnson also said that “getting coronavirus is not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population, [and] I think probably far less.”

During a March 20 White House press briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it was “false equivalency” to compare traffic accidents to potential deaths from COVID-19.

“I mean that’s totally way out,” Fauci said.

“When you have something that is new, and it’s emerging, and you really can’t predict totally the impact it’s going to have, and you take a look at what’s gone on in China, and you see what’s going on right now – right now – in Italy, and what’s happening in New York City, I don’t think with any moral conscience you could say, ‘Why don’t we just let it rip and happen and let X percent of the people die?’” Fauci said.

Source: Wisconsin Public Radio

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Tammy Baldwin announced new legislation to expedite the procurement of medical equipment under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to combat the spread of coronavirus. 

Despite multiple announcements, President Donald Trump has not used the federal government’s entire authority under DPA, so Baldwin’s legislation would require the president to do so in order to quickly produce and ensure access to supplies, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health-care workers on the front lines of this pandemic.

“Wisconsin hospitals and health-care providers are currently facing a dire shortage of supplies and medical equipment, including PPE,” Baldwin said. “The president needs to act now to give them the resources they need to fight this pandemic, and this will require him to take action. My legislation will trigger the full authority of the Defense Production Act without delay so we can massively scale up production of Made in America medical supplies that our health-care workers need to combat this public-health emergency and save lives.”

Source: Baldwin press release