WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — On Tuesday, Senators focused their attention on fighting coming waves of COVID-19 and future pandemics.
“The question I have is, what are we doing now?,” Sen. Pat Roberts,” R-Kan., said.
“Most of what I recommended in 2005 remains undone,” said William Frist, former Republican senator of Tennessee.
Frist says the country hasn’t taken the threat seriously enough and recommends lawmakers invest more money in research and global monitoring of disease outbreaks.
“Health security is national security,” Frist said.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agreed. But many Democrats said Congress can’t lose sight of the crisis at hand.
“The last time I checked, the U.S. was still fighting coronavirus and losing,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said.
Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin says the Trump administration needs to do more now to protect front-line workers.
“We can’t divert our attention from the ongoing crisis,” Baldwin said. “Without enforceable worker-safety standards, workers and their families are needlessly put at greater risk.”
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, says states like hers need more federal leadership.
“Let me be clear this is not the time for victory laps,” Khaldun said. “We need accurate and clear messaging from the White House about the true threat of the disease, how and when to get a test and the importance of wearing masks,” Khaldun said.
Khaldun says Congress must also address racial health disparities across the country.
Lawmakers say they’re working on short and long-term solutions in upcoming bills.