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Closing the Digital Divide | Vaccine Info

February 13, 2021
e-Newsletter Archive

Closing the Digital Divide

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Along with Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY), I introduced the Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Act this week. To help expand wireless technology and bring broadband access to rural communities,  we need a highly-skilled, professional workforce that is equipped to deploy this infrastructure. My bipartisan legislation takes important steps to help close the workforce shortage in the telecommunications industry. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen the need for next-generation connectivity for education, professional purposes, health care, and so much more.

Partisan Committee Markups

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This week, the Education and Labor Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee are marking up Speaker Pelosi’s partisan $2 trillion stimulus bill. Unfortunately, they have chosen a purely partisan approach and rejected a number of commonsense amendments including to:

  • Help protect jobs
  • Get teachers vaccinated quicker
  • Get our kids back in school
  • Assist with general vaccine distribution
  • Support mental health
  • Stop illegal immigrants from jumping ahead frontline workers, seniors, and teachers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Sever ties that institutions of higher education hold with the Chinese Communist Party

Additionally, as this bloated bill makes its way through Congress on a purely partisan basis, $1.3 trillion in COVID-19 relief already appropriated in previous relief bills sits unspent. Recently, I signed onto a letter urging the Biden Administration to distribute the $1.3 trillion unspent COVID-19 relief funds already appropriated by Congress. 

Advocating for Targeted Relief

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In the Energy and Commerce markup, I highlighted the story of Brooklyn Lanes, a beloved bowling alley, that has created cherished memories for so many in our community, including myself and my kids. After 50 years, the lack of certainty and prolonged shutdowns were too much to overcome and Brooklyn Lanes was forced to close. So many small businesses across Michigan are facing these same issues, which underscores the need for targeted relief to small businesses, those struggling the most, along with greater vaccine funding and getting kids back to the classroom.  These are commonsense solutions that I’ve continued to advocate for since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Unfortunately, this $2 trillion bill is filled with partisan agenda items unrelated to COVID-19. I signed onto a letter highlighting Energy and Commerce’s record of bipartisan success, emphasizing this is not the time to abandon a consensus-driven approach.

Protecting those with Pre-existing Conditions

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We must continue to protect our most vulnerable populations, and this week I cosponsored H.R. 892, Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act, which guarantees access to coverage, prohibits denying benefits due to pre-existing conditions, and bans premium rating based on health status. As I continue to advocate for health care reforms that lower costs and provide greater options for families, this bill will safeguard patients from being treated unfairly.

Vaccine Scheduling Information

Currently, the state of Michigan has received over 2 million vaccine doses and is distributing them through local health departments and hospital systems. If you have questions regarding distribution and scheduling in your county, please visit the following websites for more information:

Branch/Hillsdale Counties
Branch-Hillsdale Community Health Agency
ProMedica

Eaton County
Eaton Health Department
Sparrow

Jackson County
Jackson Health Department
Henry Ford

Lenawee County
Lenawee Health Department
ProMedica

Monroe County
Monroe Health Department
ProMedica

Washtenaw County
Washtenaw Health Department
Michigan Medicine
St. Joe's

You can find additional information about COVID-19 vaccines and relief, including the recent renewal of the Paycheck Protection Program, on my website as well. As always, I remain committed to serving you and helping move our country forward.

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