WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The White House is deploying a council to help communities struggling to battle the coronavirus.
“It’s more than just the health disparities that we need to deal with,” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson said Friday.
Carson is leading the White House response for minority groups hit hardest by the pandemic, including those working in essential jobs with a greater risk of exposure.
“One of the things we did have under discussion is some extra help for people who are essential workers,” Carson added.
He said the council is looking at directing extra help to those still on the job.
“We basically would not be able to function without them,” he said. “So we need to make sure that they can continue to function.”
Secretary Carson and other members of the council met Friday to find new ways to help these communities. We asked lawmakers on Capitol Hill if it’s enough.
“The fact of the matter is we don’t have the testing in the minority communities,” Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) said.
Jones blamed the Trump Administration for not doing enough to help minority areas in Alabama. But, Jones added, the National Institutes of Health told him this week that experts are working on a program to get testing to those communities.
“There is a recognition at least from NIH that there is a problem and from CDC that there is a problem,” Jones said.
“We did talk about the fact that we need testing,” Carson admitted Friday.
The HUD secretary said all of the federal agencies are involved in the effort.
Meanwhile, lawmakers like Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said Congress is working to find new ways to help suffering areas.
“Let’s figure out how we can go into those communities because they’ve been hard hit,” Tillis said.
Carson said the council plans to meet again to find solutions.