|Rep. Rogers’ full remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support our efforts to defeat the spread of coronavirus.
This bill will help people that are hurting because of this deadly outbreak.
For those of us from rural districts, like mine, our hospitals cannot handle an onslaught of patients. Hospitals in my district face a situation as dire as it’s ever been in my nearly 18 years in Congress. The capacity just isn’t there.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, most hospitals in Alabama’s Third District were operating with less than a 1% profit margin. They were barely making payroll as is. This bill helps rural hospitals by enabling them to buy essential supplies, build needed infrastructure for broadband and tele-health, and keep cash flowing so they remain able to treat patients. This is good news.
As the Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee, I want to acknowledge the hard working personnel at the Department of Homeland Security. These men and women interact with the public daily, be it at TSA, CBP, ICE, and many more. They are putting themselves in harm’s way with this deadly contagion.
I say ‘Thank you’ for your dedication to ensuring the safety of our homeland.
This bill provides DHS with a number of its requests to combat this deadly virus. I’m thankful for that. Yet, there are more vital DHS priorities were not funded or authorized in this bill.
For some reason, we could not see fit to provide the full amount of requested funding for CBP or ICE to deal with this crisis. There isn’t any dedicated money to purchase Personal Protection Equipment for CBP or ICE.
These professionals work face-to-face with migrants and they deserve proper protection. This won’t be the last time Congress has to act to mitigate the impact this virus is having on America.
I want to thank President Trump for his leadership and the willingness of Republicans and Democrats to come together to put America’s needs first. There will be the need for more help. There will be the need for more legislation.