Loosening up traffic restrictions, trying to ensure social distancing and tracing Covid-19 in eastern Oregon is not working out too well. In fact, it may be roaring up to set the Beaver State back to square one because of an anxious start to “get back to normal.” Trying too hard too fast.
WYDEN OUTLINES AFFORDABLE HOUSING PRIORITIES FOR NEXT COVID-19 RELIEF PACKAGE
Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today outlined policies to preserve and expand affordable housing that he will push to include in the next COVID-19 relief bill.
“The pandemic and resulting economic crisis have laid bare the fact that millions of Americans are one or two missed paychecks away from not being able to pay their rent or mortgage. This country needs more affordable housing, not less, and Congress can’t allow this crisis to foster homelessness and further reduce the supply of affordable housing,” Senator Wyden said. “My priorities for the next COVID-19 relief bill include common sense policies that would help preserve existing affordable housing and create new affordable housing by ensuring projects in the pipeline are not abandoned.”
A summary of Wyden’s policy priorities follows:
· Suspend “red tape” compliance for 12 months so LIHTC projects can continue: The LIHTC industry is following social distancing recommendations to safeguard the health of LIHTC residents, property management staff, state and local inspectors, and builders. While needed to protect public health, these actions have resulted in shortages of construction materials, delays in permitting and local approvals, and severe interruption of property managers’ ability to interact with residents and key partners to continue regular property operations. Moreover, state housing agencies have limited ability to complete development approvals and regular compliance monitoring while the crisis is ongoing. This provision would delay a number of compliance deadlines so that existing LIHTC housing can continue to function and new LIHTC housing can be developed with fewer obstacles.
Merkley, Wyden Announce $5 Million for Oregon’s Rural Health Clinics To Increase Coronavirus Testing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that $5 million in federal funding will be distributed to 102 rural health clinics throughout Oregon to help boost their coronavirus testing capacity.
The funding was part of a $25 billion fund for increased testing that Congressional Democrats insisted on in thePaycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which Congress passed last month.
“The high-quality treatment and care that Oregon’s rural clinics and dedicated health care professionals provide to families across our state are more invaluable than ever as we continue to grapple with this public health emergency,”said Merkley. “It’s our responsibility to make sure these heroes have the resources and support they need to stay safe and do their jobs. I’m pleased that this funding will help provide that support, and I will continue to fight for every available resource they need to continue treating our rural communities.”
“Testing is crucial to combat coronavirus, and rural clinics throughout our state are essential to perform those tests for Oregonians counting on them for care during this public health crisis,” Wyden said. “These health care superstars in every nook and cranny of Oregon must have full federal support to continue their heroic work, and I am glad these needed funds are heading their way. There’s lots more that must be done for rural Oregon during COVID-19, and I’ll keep battling to provide our state every possible federal resource.”
Health experts have continued to emphasize that increasing testing is an essential cornerstone to understanding and responding to the full scope of the coronavirus crisis, and to reopening communities.
Merkley recently led his colleagues inpushing the Trump administration to immediately craft, release, and implement a planthat includes robust testing for the coronavirus and expanded contact tracing, and has been outspoken inlaying out a visionfor adequate testing and contact tracing efforts in Oregon and across the country. Throughout the crisis, Merkley has stayed in regular contact with rural and frontier health care providers, andwas part of a bipartisan effortto push HHS to consider the needs of rural hospitals and hospitals with high percentages of Medicaid and Medicare patients as the agency distributed the $100 billion healthcare fund included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.