During today’s virtual forum with the members of the Committee on Education and Labor, Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) discussed the impact of COVID-19 and proposals to support workers, families, businesses, and communities:
"Our nation is facing challenges in ways we have never experienced before. The American people are looking to us, their elected Representatives, for guidance, leadership, and timely action. This is not the time for partisanship or political theatrics, but a time for us to come together and do the work we were elected to do.
"Safeguarding our public health and reviving our economy are not mutually exclusive, so during today’s discussion, I am eager to hear about the work being done on the frontlines in everyone’s districts and proud to share that the workers and small businesses in North Carolina’s 5th district are doing their part to combat COVID-19.
"We are all aware of the growing importance face masks play in containing the spread of this virus. Hickory Springs Manufacturing (HSM), located in my district, is doing its part to ensure our community is well equipped. HSM is a supplier of components for furniture and bedding industries; however, the company recently made an emergency capital investment in equipment to produce protective face masks and medical gowns for healthcare personnel on the frontlines of this pandemic. Mr. Michael Hinshaw Jr., Chief Operating Officer at HSM, noted that he is 'beyond proud of how our company has worked tirelessly over the past several weeks to get this new operation up and running in an incredibly short time frame. These efforts demonstrate HSM’s values and reflect our family culture and our employees’ sense of duty to help our country however we can.' I certainly join Mr. Hinshaw and the entire 5th district in applauding HSM for this brilliant and patriotic initiative.
"Likewise, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a group of 2,000 volunteers has come together to create Project Mask WS, a mask sewing project dedicated to creating masks for medical personnel and front-line workers to combat the N95 mask shortage. So far, this group of selfless volunteers has distributed 25,000 masks to health care providers, recruited thousands of helping hands, and raised more than $25,000 to buy supplies and mask materials. The masks are now being used by a number of facilities and doctors’ offices including Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Novant, Davie County EMS, and Salem Chest Specialists.
"These stories of Americans helping other Americans are inspiring.
"Congress and the Trump administration are doing their part too.
"While Congress has passed significant legislation to help families, workers, and small businesses suffering from the health and economic consequences of the coronavirus, our job is not over.
"We need to make sure the legislation we’ve already enacted is working properly and the funds we’ve approved are spent properly. In order to do this, we need to continue to hear from people on the ground about what is or isn’t working.
"More importantly, we cannot keep throwing money at this pandemic and we shouldn’t pursue partisan pipe dreams that have nothing to do with combating COVID-19. We also need to protect businesses so they can reopen and operate safely for both workers and customers without being threatened by frivolous lawsuits.
"Additionally, as our states begin the initial phases of reopening businesses, schools, and the economy at-large, it is my firm belief that Congress should follow suit and lead our country by example. The hardworking Americans of this country need to see Members of Congress conducting the work they elected us to do.
"That is why I support Leader McCarthy’s call to establish a clear, safe, and effective plan for reopening Congress. As McCarthy said last week, '…conducting the business of the People’s House is the definition of 'essential work'...'.
"I’ll wrap up by saying we are no strangers to comeback stories. America’s economic engine is not down for the count. Everyday Americans are stepping up. The private sector is helping lead the charge. Americans helping Americans. Neighbors helping neighbors. We will defeat COVID-19 together.
"Again, I thank all of those participating in today’s discussion and look forward to hearing from Committee Members."