By Mark F. Gray
AFRO Staff Writer
Maryland Congressman Anthony Brown (D- District 4) has been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle. The fourth District Representative was front and center as Congress approved a multi-trillion dollar stimulus package.
As the U.S. House of Representatives scrambled to convene in hopes of voting on the stimulus package, Brown was thrust into the spotlight of the critical hearing. He presided over the House of Representatives as speaker pro tempore, during the debate and final passage of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act also known as the “CARE Act.”
“It was an absolute privilege and honor to preside over [the March 27] historic debate and vote,” said Brown afterwards in a statement. “This is just the beginning of our work to combat this virus and restore our economy.”
The fourth District Congressman from Prince George’s County visited several places to get a first glimpse of how the impact of the coronavirus is affecting the County. Brown visited Kenmoor Middle School to witness how children were taking advantage of the grab and go lunches that are being distributed in a building that is not being used for academic instruction. Kenmoor is one of 36 sites that are being used for meal distribution throughout the County as Maryland schools remain closed through at least April 24.
Brown also co-sponsored the Medical Supply Chain Emergency Act legislation hoping to add pressure so President Trump could implement the Defense Production Act of 1950. The legislation would federalize the manufacturing and distribution of scarce medical supplies that are jeopardizing patients and health care professionals nationwide. It would prohibit medical suppliers from price gouging and putting healthcare facilities against each other for surgical masks, scrub suits and ventilators.
The bill would specifically force President Trump to identify private sector companies to help provide at least 500 million N95 respirators; 200 thousand medical ventilators; 20 million face shields; 500 million pairs of gloves; and 20 million surgical gowns along with other medical equipment deemed necessary.
He also attacked the Trump administration for not following through on promises that are leaving hospital and health care workers on the front lines without adequate equipment and fighting against each other in a bidding war for supplies.
“Maryland and other states need more aid. First responders and frontline health care workers are facing an unprecedented challenge that will require unprecedented action from the federal government,” said Brown. “We need more masks, ventilators and other critical medical equipment. With lives at stake, this can’t be limited action. Simply put, this can’t wait.”
Brown also joined 18 other House Democrats calling for a national shelter-in-place order to combat the spread of COVID-19 nationwide. In a letter to President Donald Trump, the lawmakers urged aggressive action by the federal government to try and ease the stress on hospitals treating the rise in the amount of patients. On March 30, President Trump announced the extension of social distancing guidelines through April 27.
“There is no doubt that an action of this magnitude will temporarily disrupt daily lives and cause short-term economic pain,” the letter reads. “But it will help prevent an extended outbreak and response that could plunge us deep into a long-lasting recession.”