– Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) – House Homeland Security Committee ranking member– today delivered an opening statement at a full committee hearing entitled, “Examining the National Response to the Worsening Coronavirus Pandemic: Part II.”Rogers’ remarks, as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I’m glad we are finally meeting in person. Our experiment with virtual hearings hasn’t gone very well.
Nearly everyone was marred by technical issues that caused prolonged delays and frustrated Members on both sides.
Going forward, I urge you to hold all of our hearings in person.
Doing so improves our productivity and facilitates participation by administration witnesses, like Administrator Gaynor today.
I understand your frustration with the Administration’s restrictions on appearing at virtual hearings. That’s why I appreciate your working with FEMA to facilitate the Administrator’s in-person testimony.
As I said before, our hearts go out to those who have lost their loved ones to COVID-19 and those who are currently undergoing treatment.
COVID-19 is an unprecedented global pandemic that requires an unprecedented response.
Unfortunately, the Administration’s response effort was undermined from the start as China hid the disease from the world.
The Chinese Communist Party hoarded life-saving medical supplies, while they encouraged foreign travel, seeding the virus across the globe.
Facing an extraordinary public health crisis and China’s deadly coverup, the Trump Administration has responded with a whole of government response.
Since March, FEMA has helped lead the response effort. The agency has –
Coordinated the delivery of over 20 billion items of PPE to medical personnel, emergency responders, and critical infrastructure workers;
Administered 56 major disaster declarations covering every state and territory; and Obligated over $145 billion to support federal, state, and local response.
While those efforts should be commended, more hard work is ahead.
The number of positive cases continue to rise and hospitals in some areas are reaching capacity.
Demands for PPE and response funding from FEMA will continue to grow.
I am interested in hearing from the Administrator about what our states need, where the bottlenecks exist in the supply chain, and whether our domestic manufacturing capacity for PPE and medical supplies is sufficient.
As hurricane season heats up, I am also interested to hear FEMA’s plan to deal with the COVID crisis, while also managing response to a major natural disaster.
Our country has faced outbreaks of serious disease in the past.
In each case, we’ve marshalled our collective resources and ingenuity to overcome the crisis.
I’m confident that will be the case with COVID-19.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.