Nebraska’s U.S. Senate delegation Friday issued statements in support of President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.
Sen. Deb Fischer said “President Trump made the correct move in declaring the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency. Even more resources will now be available to supplement states and localities to combat this growing outbreak. Nebraskans should continue social distancing, thorough hand washing, and staying home when sick during this pandemic.”
Sen. Ben Sasse agreed with his colleague the President’s actions are warranted, saying “Big national threats — in this case, a virus that crosses international borders and state lines — are why we have a federal government in the first place. Declaring a national emergency is the right move for President Trump. The federal government needs to dramatically increase the availability of diagnostic testing kits. States need to responsibly promote social distancing to protect at-risk populations. Our families need to listen to mom: wash our hands, cover our coughs, and stay home if we feel sick. Nebraskans are tough and we’re smart. We’ll beat this.”
Under the Stafford Act, the president can declare a national emergency for a public health incident. This unlocks federal resources that can be used to supplement efforts by state and local officials to respond to the emergency. It also can authorize emergency protective measures like distribution of emergency medicine and other necessities.
Senator Fischer has introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to address the coronavirus outbreak by increasing access to respirators for health care workers and first responders. Read more about that legislation here.