News from Representative Walden


Dear Friend,

As the Novel 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across our state, our nation, and the world I wanted to update you on the latest information. My top priority is ensuring that our local health care providers have the resources they need.

The situation is rapidly changing, but I will continue to provide updates and resources. I am in constant contact with local and federal officials and will continue to provide updates on my COVID-19 resource page. Additionally, you can stay updated by following my Twitter @RepGregWalden or my Facebook page @RepGregWalden.  

Below you will find some helpful updates and resources on the coronavirus.

It is an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress.

Best regards,

Greg Walden
U.S. Representative
Oregon's Second District

Greg Walden Announces Emergency Supplemental Funding for Oregon 

March 24, 2020 

Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would award nearly $1.9 million to 30 Community Health Centers (CHCs) in Oregon, including 10 in the Second District. This funding was allocated from the  first COVID-19 emergency supplemental funding package Congress passed in early March. The funding builds on the nearly $7.8 million the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded to the state of Oregon earlier this month.  

“This additional funding is welcome news for Community Health Centers in Oregon and is critical for our state’s response to the coronavirus,” said Walden. “Community Health Centers serve more than 240,000 Oregonians in the Second District. They play a critical role in ensuring that patients have access to health care in their community, especially during this pandemic. These funds will help these health centers provide screening and testing for COVID-19, medical supplies, and telehealth services. I will continue my efforts to ensure our state and nation receive the necessary support as we work to combat this deadly virus.

“However, we got into this pandemic without Congress having fully funded our community health centers for multiple years," said Walden. "Nor has Congress addressed the rip-off of surprise billing.  It’s unfair to our healthcare professionals and the people they treat to have not addressed either of these issues.

“I want to thank all the dedicated public health workers, first responders, pharmacists, farmers and ranchers, grocery store clerks, janitors, and others who are on the front lines of this outbreak, working around the clock to provide for the American people during this time of crisis,” said Walden. “I encourage everyone to do their part in helping our state, nation, and world combat COVID-19 by doing things such as social distancing, practicing good health preventative methods, contacting a medical provider if you feel sick, or donating blood. We are all in this together.”

Greg Walden Protects Veterans’ GI Bill Benefits
March 24, 2020 

Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released a statement after President Trump signed legislation supported by Walden to ensure veterans’ do not lose access to their GI Bill benefits amid the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This comes after the Senate passed legislation mirroring a bill Walden sponsored in the House. The Senate passed bill was approved unanimously by the House last week.   

“I applaud President Trump for swiftly signing into law this bill to protect our nation’s veterans and their access to their earned benefits during this time of crisis,” Walden said. “No veteran should have to worry they will lose access to their benefits because of how their educational institution responds to the coronavirus pandemic, and because of the President’s quick actions, no veteran will. We must always work to protect those who protected us, especially during times of crisis.” 

Greg Walden Statement on President Trump Signing Broadband Mapping Bill
March 24, 2020 

Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released a statement after President Trump signed the bipartisan Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act. The bill would improve broadband mapping, boost connectivity, and make sure our limited resources are used to deploy broadband in communities that need it most, like parts of rural Oregon.  

"I applaud President Trump for recognizing the critical need of improved broadband mapping and signing this bill into law. Expanding and improving broadband mapping is imperative for Oregon's rural communities, especially as our nation responds to the coronavirus. Far too many Oregonians, as well as millions of citizens who live in rural America, lack access to reliable internet service. Before we can expand broadband to communities who lack access, we must study where broadband funding would be most effective. Accurate maps are key to improving rural broadband, and this legislation would bring us one step closer to achieving that.” said Walden. 

Walden has been a steadfast advocate for expanding rural broadband. He has led multiple hearings on this issue and helped pass several bills into law. In 2018, Walden brought Chairman Pai out to eastern Oregon to discuss efforts to improve connectivity in rural communities, including making sure patients in remote areas have access to the best doctors through technology like Telehealth. 

Greg Walden Calls on Healthy Americans to Donate Blood
March 19, 2020

Representative Greg Walden released a statement in response to the nation's severe blood supply shortage:

“Even during the coronavirus outbreak, people in our communities and across the country who have an emergency or are battling cancer or other diseases still rely on donations of lifesaving blood. Our blood supply is facing shortages; we need to step up and donate. It is still safe and there are extra precautions to ensure the health of everyone involved, so I encourage healthy individuals to please donate blood,” said Walden.

Currently, as a result of an unprecedented number of blood drives being cancelled during the COVID-19 outbreak, the American Red Cross is suffering from a severe shortage in blood supply. The American Red Cross has taken measures to ensure that donating blood remains a safe process for healthy individuals. Healthy individuals are encouraged to make a blood donation appointment through the American Red Cross.

Greg Walden Statement on Senate Passage of COVID-19 Legislation
March 18, 2020

Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released a statement after the Senate passed legislation to help the nation respond to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The legislation is now headed to the President’s desk for signing.

“The impact of the coronavirus can be felt in every corner of our nation --every person and family, every sector of the economy. Our way of life has been truly shaken, but not our resolve. We can weather this storm, but we all need a little help. Many Americans -- sick or not -- will need to stay home from work. Many will need testing and care. Our state and local health care providers and first responders are on the front lines of this fight. I have a message for all of you: help is on the way, and more is coming,” said Walden.

Greg Walden Fights for Veterans Access to GI Bill Benefits
March 18, 2020

Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released a statement after sponsoring a bill, which has passed the Senate, that would protect student veterans’ access to their GI Bill benefits amid the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Walden has heard from multiple veteran constituents, whose schools have moved to online courses as a result of the coronavirus, that there is a possibility of the veterans being unable to receive their earned GI Bill benefits.

“As our nation responds to the coronavirus outbreak, more and more colleges and universities are shifting to online courses. Our nation’s student veterans are facing unprecedented uncertainty over their earned benefits. No student veteran should have to fear a reduction in their GI Bill benefits because of how their school is responding to the coronavirus outbreak. Congress must come together and protect those who protected us. We must act swiftly to get this bill to the President’s desk and ensure our veterans continue to receive the benefits and services they earned,” said Walden.

Student Veterans in Oregon and across the nation whose schools are closing or switching to online classes are at risk to receive lower monthly housing payments or have the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) disapprove of their school program. This legislation would ensure that the Secretary of the VA has the flexibility needed to ensure that student veterans do not lose access to their benefits due to public health emergencies.

Greg Walden Statement on FCC’s ‘Keep Americans Connected’ Pledge
March 16, 2020

Representative Walden released a statement applauding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) pledge to ensure that rural America has access to broadband during the coronavirus outbreak:

“In times of need, it’s important we take an all hands-on-deck approach to protect the public health and safety of communities across the nation. With the continued spread of the coronavirus, we are seeing more people begin to work, learn, and receive health care at home. It is important that people who live in rural areas, like many Oregonians in my district, do not lose their access to broadband -- especially at this time.

“The FCC’s recent launch of the ‘Keep Americans Connected’ pledge to incentivize providers to waive late fees for low-income families and small businesses and expand access to Wi-Fi hotspots is welcome news for rural America. I applaud the FCC’s commitment to ensuring rural Oregonians are connected in this time of crisis. I also am grateful to all the private companies who are taking steps to further improve rural broadband access at this time."

Greg Walden Statement on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
March 14, 2020

Representative Greg Walden released a statement after he voted in support of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act:

“Congress has a responsibility to help people work through these challenging times. In meetings from one end of our district to the other, I’ve heard firsthand the need for those who are sick to stay home. Hospital officials and medical care providers have made it clear we need better access to more testing and care. Our local health care providers and first responders are on the front lines of this fight and we must ensure they have what they need. This bill takes steps to help our nation mitigate this crisis.

"However, this bill is far from perfect. We need to boost the availability and supply of crucial respirators and the ability to improve our nation’s surge capacity of our health care workforce.

“We must also do more to protect our medical product supply chain -- both for this pandemic and future ones. For me, this is not a new concern, prior to the coronavirus outbreak, I’ve raised concerns about our country’s overreliance on foreign pharmaceutical manufacturing. If a foreign country monopolizes production of key ingredients in the drug supply chain and wishes to retaliate against the U.S., they could cut supply and limit access to critical medications. This could put American lives at risk in a time of crisis.

“We all know there will be more work to do in the coming weeks. Working together we can overcome this challenge.”

Greg Walden Announces Nearly $7.3 Million for Oregon’s COVID-19 Response Efforts
March 11, 2020

Representative Greg Walden announced that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) awarded nearly $7.3 million to the state of Oregon to support response efforts to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19):

"I applaud the CDC for providing this critical funding to the state of Oregon," said Walden. "This is welcome news for Oregonians and will help our state and local officials respond to the coronavirus outbreak. This financial support will help efforts to contain and mitigate the spread of the virus across our state. I am grateful to the Trump Administration for acting swiftly and ensuring that Oregonians are kept as safe and healthy as possible.”

Earlier in March, the CDC provided an initial $500,000 to Oregon to support the state’s COVID-19 response efforts. Oregon has now received a combined total of nearly $7.8 million from the CDC to support response efforts.

Greg Walden Requests FDA Briefing on Coronavirus' Impact on Drug and Medical Supplies

Representative Greg Walden, Republican Leader of the Energy and Commerce Committee, joined a bipartisan group of committee members in writing to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. asking a series of questions and requesting a briefing on the potential impact the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) could have on the supply of safe drugs and other medical products in the United States.

“As FDA and our other health agencies respond to this global emergency, we want to ensure that FDA is equipped to maintain its commitment to protecting and promoting public health by addressing potential shortages and minimizing harm for patients,” lawmakers wrote.

The members also noted in their letter that other medical products, including personal protective equipment (PPE), such as surgical masks, gowns, and gloves, are also manufactured in China, and may be impacted by the outbreak.

In the letter, Walden and the other lawmakers asked that FDA provide a briefing for committee staff on the coronavirus' potential impact on drug and medical supplies.

"Specifically, we would like to know how many manufacturers, distributors, and importers might be affected by supply chain issues as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are also interested in FDA’s ongoing work to combat shortages, including what the Agency is hearing from potentially affected manufacturers, distributors, and importers, and what steps it is currently considering or taking to reduce potential shortages,” the members continued.

The members also requested, among other things, information on how many alternatives are available for the human drug added to the shortage list, how FDA intends to handle notifications of drug and medical supply shortages, if the outbreak has impacted FDA’s risk-based inspections, and whether FDA will need additional resources to meet supply chain demand.

Greg Walden Statement on Trump Signing Coronavirus Emergency Funding Package
March 6, 2020

Representative Greg Walden released the following statement after President Trump signed into law the $8.3 billion Emergency Supplemental Funding Package for the coronavirus.

"This funding is good news for our nation as we work to combat the coronavirus. I applaud the President for swiftly signing this funding package into law, showing that our nation can come together for the good of the country. Our local health authorities and public safety officials are on the front lines of this disease, and they must receive the support and tools necessary to do their job. This package also includes a bipartisan provision I authored for Medicare beneficiaries that would consider the home as the originating site for purposes of telehealth during this public health emergency. This would allow more patients to get the care they need at home to avoid potentially overcrowded health care facilities, especially in rural areas. I want all officials, Oregonians, and Americans to know that we are in this together,” said Walden.

Additional Resources:

Click here for FAQ’s on COVID-19 Legislation.

 Learn More About 2019 Novel Coronavirus:
CDC's Information on COVID-19 
World Health Organization Information on COVID-19 
Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 
Resources for Veterans 

Travel Guidance:
CDC’s Travel Health Notices  
State Department’s International Travel Guidance 
State Department and County Advisories 

School Guidance:

Guides for childcare programs and K-12 administrators 
Info for Parents and guardians regarding possible school closures

How to schedule a blood donation appointment:

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