WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (Nev.-03) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives to urge her colleagues in Congress to come together to provide funding for vaccine distribution. In her remarks, Rep. Lee highlighted the temporary vaccine site she worked to establish in Laughlin with Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft.
The following is a transcript of Rep. Lee’s remarks:
Thank you Madam Speaker. I rise today on behalf of the people of Nevada’s Third District.
The pandemic has continued to ravage our economy, especially in Nevada, where the travel and tourism industry is the bedrock of our economy.
Nevada is one of the hardest-hit states by this pandemic. Currently, we have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at 9.2 percent.
But we have an opportunity to put this pandemic behind us and begin to rebuild our economy.
The answer lies in vaccine distribution.
But we need help to get vaccines into arms. We can’t do it alone. We need more funding.
We’re doing everything we can to get vaccines to those who are eligible, but with limited resources, we’re not able to get vaccines into arms quickly enough.
This week, we were able to work with Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft to establish a temporary vaccine site for residents of Laughlin, a rural community on the border of Arizona, California, and Nevada.
Before this site was established, these Nevadans had no vaccination options within an hour’s drive of their community.
This pandemic needs to be treated like the crisis it is. We need to act swiftly and get states more funding for vaccine distribution.
It’s the only way we’ll put this pandemic behind us.
I’m urging my colleagues: we must act quickly. We cannot let partisan games get in the way.
I yield the balance of my time.
BACKGROUND: This week, Rep. Lee, along with the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, called for an immediate vote on the $160 billion “Defeating COVID-19” vaccine distribution package, as the broader bipartisan talks and reconciliation process continues. The plan was formally endorsed by the Caucus.
The “Defeating COVID-19” vaccine distribution package would allocate new federal investment funds for the national distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as support for expanded testing programs, PPE purchases, and other key initiatives to beat this deadly virus. The package shares similarities with the vaccine portion of the “Direct COVID Pandemic Response” portion of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and ongoing negotiations. Should negotiations around other portions of a new COVID-19 relief package take longer, whether that’s through a bipartisan agreement or reconciliation, this separate $160 billion investment would immediately help boost vaccine deployment and testing nationwide.
The “Defeating COVID-19” Vaccine Distribution Package:
Total – $160B
- National Vaccine Program in partnership with states, tribes, and territories: $20B
- Massive expansion of testing: $50B
- Disaster Relief Fund: $30B
- Defense Production Act Title III: $5B
- PPE for first responders, independent physicians offices, and dentists: $5B
- Rebuilding and restocking the National Strategic Stockpile: $15B
- Provider Relief Fund with 20% set aside for rural hospitals: $35B