PARSIPPANY — Regional Recovery Task Force Co-Chairs Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and Pete King (NY-02) led the first session of the bipartisan group last week to hear from former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who is currently advising the governments of Maryland and Massachusetts on their COVID-19 responses. Sherrill and King, alongside members from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, are leading an effort to address recovery efforts, including reopening the Northeast in a safe and responsible way.
“Dr. Gottlieb is a leading expert on how the nation should respond to and recover from COVID-19,” said Rep. Sherrill. “He provided members of the task force with crucial information, from science-based predictions regarding the course of the virus to recommendations for actions our states and Congress can take to get the country back on its feet as safely as possible.”
“Dr. Gottlieb has an extraordinary record of achievement,” said Rep. King. “The insight and analysis he provided regarding the Coronavirus pandemic was exceptional and much appreciated.”
“It was great to hear from former Commissioner Gottlieb on what has been working in Maryland and Massachusetts as they continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “It is critical that we learn from the successes and failures of other parts of the country, to have every option on the table. Our efforts to safely reopen the country need to be coordinated at the local, state, and federal levels. I look forward to continuing to work with this Task Force as we prepare for the eventual reopening of our country.”
“Dr. Gottlieb, who I had opportunities to meet with personally in early March, has been an influential voice since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Meuser. “His analysis was helpful in determining how to get America back to work while ensuring our workers and families stay safe.”
“It was valuable for the Northeast Regional Task Force to hear directly from Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a leading expert in medical policy and public health,” said Rep. Stefanik. “His recommendations for how Congress can work to respond to COVID-19 from a public health perspective while getting people back to work on a regional basis were extremely helpful in this time of uncertainty. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with my bipartisan colleagues on solutions based on the experts we hear from.”
Members of the task force bring a wide array of experience based on their backgrounds, on their work on the ground in their districts, and from their committees of jurisdiction in Congress. Based on this experience and their conversation with Dr. Gottlieb, the task force highlighted key opportunities for federal action:
Supporting state and local investments in mobile testing capabilities to reach high-risk communities and employees in work settings. Additionally, encouraging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to draft and release guidelines that will allow businesses to safely remain operational if a positive case is identified;
Federal investment to ensure the creation of a more robust contact tracing infrastructure and isolation facilities;
Supporting alternatives to mass transit where possible and having mass transit authorities enforce social distancing and regularly clean surfaces with disinfectants.
Rep. Sherrill and Rep. King formed the Regional Recovery Task Force with Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jim Himes (D-CT), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Dan Meuser (R-PA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ). The task force is working with leading experts across key fields to put forth bipartisan recommendations and policy proposals for near- and medium-term efforts to get Americans back to work, and address critical questions facing the United States in the coming weeks and months, particularly in the Northeast.
The Regional Recovery Task Force’s first report can be found by clicking here.