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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (IA-01)

WASHINGTON, DC – Wednesday, Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) met, via video conference, with letters carriers who serve Iowa’s First Congressional District. Finkenauer provided an update on potential aid amid the COVID-19 crisis, expressed her commitment to ensuring letter carriers have the resources they need to continue to serve during the crisis, and heard about potential areas where the federal government could assist employees. 

“Our letter carriers and postal service employees are helping ensure folks receive medicine and other critical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic,” Congresswoman Finkenauer said. “They’re on the front lines of this crisis, and they deserve our support to continue this essential work. I’m committed to ensuring the U.S. Postal Service has the resources it needs to serve every community in my district and across the country. I’m also fighting for hazard pay, personal protective equipment, and increased testing for our letter carriers.”

The meeting included the following: Tom Kinn, NALC Congressional Liaison; Kim Karol, State Chair for APWU (American Postal Workers Union), Bernal Guttierez, President of Waterloo NPMHU (National Postal Mail Handlers Union) Herb Copley, State Chair for NALC (National Association of Letter Carriers), and Joyce Newman, State President of NRLCA (National Rural Letter Carriers Association).

The meeting followed Tuesday’s release of Finkenauer’s priorities for Congress’s next Coronavirus relief package, and the plan which includes protecting the U.S. Postal Service as follows:

We depend on the United States Postal Service for numerous critical functions, and its services are needed now more than ever. With so many Iowans not leaving their homes and depending on packages to receive prescription drugs, notes from loved ones and more, we must protect one of our oldest institutions. The next package should:

  • Ensure the USPS continues to provide key services, is supported financially, and makes reasonable contributions to support its employees.

Congresswoman Finkenauer’s Ongoing Response Efforts:

On April 23, Finkenauer voted to help pass additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, hospitals and healthcare providers, and increased funding for COVID-19 testing.

On April 21, Finkenauer helped introduce the COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act to increase safety standards for essential workers and at-risk employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill was introduced amid concerns over rising COVID-19 infections and reports of inadequate protections for employees at some Iowa meat processing plants.

On April 20, Finkenauer sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons urging the FTC to delay no further in investigating ongoing concerns about out-of-state investors and corporations buying mobile and manufactured home communities in Iowa and taking advantage of their residents with unfair business practices. This issue has been a top concern in Iowa for months, and become more pressing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 17, Finkenauer sent letters to three federal agencies asking for enforceable safety standards, COVID-19 testing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees at meat processing plants in Iowa. Finkenauer sent oversight letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Labor (DOL), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to highlight the urgency of the situation facing hard-working Iowans at these plants, and request immediate assistance. USDA and the CDC later took steps complying with Finkenauer’s request.

On April 15, Finkenauer helped lead more than 40 Representatives and Senators in writing a letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli expressing concern that regulations for visa programs are standing in the way of the strongest possible medical response to COVID-19.

On April 13, Finkenauer led a bipartisan letter addressed to Jovita Carranza, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Association, expressing concern that there is no longer a full-time Director for the Office of Rural Affairs and urging the SBA to provide the Office of Rural Affairs with the necessary staff and resources to ensure that rural small businesses are able to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 9, Finkenauer held telephone-town hall to discuss mental health impacts and resources around coronavirus.

On April 9, Finkenauer sent a letter to HHS Secretary Azar asking for information about how the $100 billion in the CARES Act for hospitals and health care providers will distributed, including information on Iowa’s share of the funding.

On April 2, Finkenuer sent letters to 11 federal agencies seeking updates on aid programs authorized by recent legislation to address the COVID-19 crisis.

On March 27, Finkenauer sent a letter to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds urging her to issue a statewide ‘stay-at-home’ order.

On March 27, Finkenauer voted for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) an emergency aid package to help hospitals, frontline workers, and working families across Iowa and the country.

On March 26, held a telephone town hall for constituents in the First Congressional District. Business and workforce leaders from around the district answered questions about personal financial impacts of coronavirus response.

On March 25, Finkenauer released her priorities she pushed to have included in the third coronavirus response supplemental – Preparing Iowa Communities & Protecting our Families.

On March 19, Finkenauer held a telephone town hall for constituents in the First Congressional District. Health officials from Black Hawk and Linn counties participated and answered questions, as well as the liaison for Dubuque City and County Emergency Health Response Team.

Finkenauer also sent a letter to federal health officials on March 19, urging them to ensure Iowa medical professionals have the necessary protective equipment to treat patients.

Finkenauer joined a call for President Trump to use his authority under the Defense Production Act of 1950 to increase production of necessary medical supplies. On March 18, President Trump announced he would use the authority to avoid supply shortages.

On March 17, Finkenauer reached out to community leaders in Iowa asking for their concerns, priorities and more info on how the outbreak is affected local economies. 

On March 15, Finkenauer sent a letter to Governor Kim Reynolds encouraging the state to create a more centralized location for key information, including consideration of school closures.

Finkenauer voted to pass an emergency package to help Iowa families and health professionals impacted by coronavirus on March 14.

Taking early action, Finkenauer voted to approve a critical coronavirus funding package to help expand testing and research. Finkenauer also sent an oversight letter to the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar seeking specific answers on whether local health agencies and hospitals have the tools they need.

On March 13, Finkenauer helped host a Small Business Committee hearing on Coronavirus and asked a witness about health and safety, and financial security for hard-working Iowans impacted by coronavirus. 

Finkenauer followed up that hearing with an oversight letter asking the Small Business Administration (SBA) about their progress on providing information on small business assistance to Iowans along with what methods they will be doing outreach to Iowa businesses. Later that day, the SBA posted this information webpage. 

Finkenauer also published a coronavirus informational page to help Iowans access important information regarding the global pandemic. The page is available at https://finkenauer.house.gov/coronavirus-information 

Finkenauer’s office has been in contact with area hospitals, business organizations, schools and colleges with respect to the virus to understand any ongoing concerns. Finkenauer has also spoken with Governor Kim Reynolds for an update on Iowa’s response to coronavirus.

MIL OSI USA News