April 21, 2020
The American energy market is in crisis due to the impact of COVID-19, butalsothe senseless and malicious actions of the OPEC countries and the Russians.
This is why I helped put forwardbipartisan, bicameral legislation that will provide $3 billion in funding to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) by purchasing crude oil produced in the United States.
The legislation is particularly timelyon the heels of American oil pricesgoing negative for the first time in history.It answers the call made by President Donald J. Trump and Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette to fill the SPR in order to improve America’s energy security, expand our nation’s crude storage capacity, and provide stability to the market for American energy producers.
Unfortunately, partisan politics prevented Congress from including this request in previous COVID-19 response packages. This legislation is a targeted, prudent action that would allow the department to act quickly to address a temporary oversupply of oil in the market. It is good for taxpayers, energy producers, and America's energy security. As future response packages are debated, I hope this bill will be included.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the first COVID-19 diagnostic test with a home collection option. Using a kit created by LabCorp that contains nasal swabs and saline, patients can self-swab to collect their nasal sample, and mail in the sample to a LabCorp lab for testing.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration fast-tracked the release of $110 million in emergency grants to states, territories, and tribal applicants in order to increase access to treatments for substance use disorders and serious mental illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Administration for Community Living is offering $955 million in grants to help older adults and people with disabilities receive home-delivered meals, care services in home, respite care and other needed support.
The Health Resources and Services Administration will soon release $15 million in grants for tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian health organizations for COVID-19 preparedness and response.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is encouraging clinicians who participate in the Quality Payment Program to contribute to scientific research on COVID-19 through participating in a clinical trial.
The National Institutes of Health released treatment guidelines for COVID-19. These guidelines were developed by a panel of U.S. physicians, statisticians, and other experts to guide health care providers during this outbreak.
The Texas Hospital Association released aFAQs document to guide member hospitals in response to Governor Abbott’s April 17 Executive Order concerning the conditions under which hospitals may perform essential surgeries and procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Similarly, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission posted this guidance for hospitals to comply with the certification requirement.
Mobile Testing Sites around Texas are set to increase as Governor Abbott announced that the Texas National Guard will mobilize more than 1,200 personnel in 25 teams across the state. As of now, the first two Mobile Testing Teams will go to Fredericksburg and Floresville.
Until tomorrow, this is your doctor's note.
Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.