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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01)

VILLIAGE OF OAK CREEK— Today, in response to continued national disorganization among COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) issued the following statement:

“When the administration’s Coronavirus Response Task Force was established, Vice President Pence stated that we need an all government, all American approach to combat this public health crisis. I completely agree.

“That is why I am confused and appalled by the lack of leadership and coordination from the administration during this national emergency.

“While I agree that we must continue to empower states to conduct swift, on-the-ground response efforts without worrying about red tape, we cannot leave governors and state officials adrift without guidance and resources from the federal government.

“These essential state, county, and city operations need a central focal point from which they can draw communications plans, educational outreach materials, and recommended logistics, not to mention physical supplies and direct aid.

“The administration has indicated that governors should be shouldering the responsibility of each individual state’s response. This is ridiculous; the federal government has at its disposal our military force, FEMA, and countless other large agencies and resources. We cannot expect states to perform effective mitigation strategies without our help.

“Additionally, the purchasing and ordering of massive stockpiles of cotton swabs, masks, and ventilators should not be left to burden states, counties, and individual hospitals, but should be spearheaded by the federal government.

“Countless state and local leaders I’ve spoken to have not received information on even the unemployment assistance, food assistance, and loan assistance now available to them through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law by the president this week.

“As I stay in contact with families across Arizona’s First Congressional District—especially those in rural and tribal communities—it is clear we are experiencing a breakdown in coordinated communication, educational outreach, and real response efforts.

“I will continue to call on the administration to uphold its promise of an all government, all American approach to addressing this public health crisis.”

In a press conference yesterday, the administration placed blame on governors for lack of timely response efforts, saying, “First of all, governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work, and they are doing a lot of this work.  The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping.  You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.  The governors are supposed to be — as with testing, the governors are supposed — are supposed to be doing it.”