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Bernie Sanders

D

Twitter Followers: 12.5M

2020

2019


Congress Bills
Quick Facts
Personal Details

Bernie Sanders is an independent member of the U.S. Senate from Vermont who caucuses with the Democratic Party.

Sanders announced that he was running for president of the United States for a second time on February 19, 2019. He suspended his presidential campaign on April 8, 2020.

Sanders previously ran for the presidency in 2016, coming in second to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.

In 2018, Sanders won re-election to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat and as an independent. In his 2006 Senate election and his 2012 re-election, he won the Democratic primary and then declined the nomination ahead of the general election so he could appear on the ballot as an independent.

Sanders was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1991 to 2007.

Sanders regularly endorses candidates in races across the country. For more information about his endorsements, see this page.

Sanders was born in 1941 in Brooklyn, New York, where he grew up. He earned his B.A. in political science from the University of Chicago in 1964 and went on to lecture at Harvard University and Hamilton College in New York. Sanders has also worked as a carpenter and a journalist.

After spending six months in a kibbutz (a communal settlement) in Israel, Sanders moved to Vermont in 1968. In the 1970s, he ran unsuccessfully for governor of Vermont twice and for U.S. Senate twice as a Liberty Union Party candidate. He was elected mayor of Burlington as an independent in 1981, defeating Democratic incumbent Gordon Paquette by a margin of 10 votes, and he served as mayor until 1989.

During his mayoral tenure, Sanders ran unsuccessful bids for governor and U.S. House as an independent before being elected to the House in 1990, where he served until joining the U.S. Senate in 2007.

Sanders sought the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, which he lost to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He received around 43 percent of the popular vote in the primaries compared to Clinton's 55 percent, and he received support from 39 percent of delegates at the national convention to Clinton's 60 percent.

Though Sanders has held elected office as an independent since 1981 and sought the Democratic nomination for president, he identifies as a democratic socialist.

Below is an abbreviated outline of Sanders' academic, professional, and political career:

  • 2007 - Present: U.S. Senator from Vermont
  • 1991-2007: Member of the United States House of Representatives
  • 1981-1989: Mayor of Burlington, Vermont

Education

  • BA, Political Science, University of Chicago, 1964
  • Attended, Brooklyn College, 1959-1960

Professional Experience

  • BA, Political Science, University of Chicago, 1964
  • Attended, Brooklyn College, 1959-1960
  • Former Employee, Bread and Law Task Force
  • Former Researcher, Vermont Department of Taxes
  • Lecturer, Hamilton College, 1989-1990
  • Lecturer, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1989
  • Director, American People's Historical Society, 1976-1981

Political Experience

  • BA, Political Science, University of Chicago, 1964
  • Attended, Brooklyn College, 1959-1960
  • Former Employee, Bread and Law Task Force
  • Former Researcher, Vermont Department of Taxes
  • Lecturer, Hamilton College, 1989-1990
  • Lecturer, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1989
  • Director, American People's Historical Society, 1976-1981
  • Chair of Outreach, Democratic Leadership, United States Senate, 2017-present
  • Senator, United States Senate, Vermont, 2006-present
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2016, 2020
  • Candidate, United States Senate, Vermont, 1972, 1974, 2006, 2012, 2018
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives, Vermont, District At-Large, 1990-2006
  • Candidate, United States House of Representatives, Vermont, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004
  • Mayor, City of Burlington, 1981-1989
  • Candidate, Governor of Vermont, 1972, 1976, 1986

Former Committees/Caucuses

Co-Chair, Prescription Drug Task Force

Former Chair, Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, United States Senate

Former Member, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife, United States Senate

Former Member, Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee, United States Senate

Co-Chair, Congressional Child Care Caucus, 2003-2004

Officer, Congressional Progressive Caucus, 1991-1998

Co-Founder, Congressional Progressive Caucus, 1991

Current Legislative Committees

Ranking Member, Budget

Member, Energy and Natural Resources

Member, Environment and Public Works

Member, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Member, Subcommittee on Children and Families

Member, Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety

Member, Subcommittee on Energy

Member, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife

Member, Subcommittee on National Parks

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security

Member, Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Member, Subcommittee on Water and Power

Member, Veterans' Affairs

Religious, Civic, and other Memberships

  • BA, Political Science, University of Chicago, 1964
  • Attended, Brooklyn College, 1959-1960
  • Former Employee, Bread and Law Task Force
  • Former Researcher, Vermont Department of Taxes
  • Lecturer, Hamilton College, 1989-1990
  • Lecturer, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1989
  • Director, American People's Historical Society, 1976-1981
  • Chair of Outreach, Democratic Leadership, United States Senate, 2017-present
  • Senator, United States Senate, Vermont, 2006-present
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2016, 2020
  • Candidate, United States Senate, Vermont, 1972, 1974, 2006, 2012, 2018
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives, Vermont, District At-Large, 1990-2006
  • Candidate, United States House of Representatives, Vermont, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004
  • Mayor, City of Burlington, 1981-1989
  • Candidate, Governor of Vermont, 1972, 1976, 1986
  • Member, Coalition on Population and Development
  • Member, Friends of Ireland
  • Member, National Guard and Reserve Components Organization
  • Member, Northeast-Midwest Coalition
  • Chair, Vermont Liberty Union Party, 1971-1976

Other Info

Astrological Sign:

Virgo

  • Paint Salesman

  • Homemaker

  • 7

— Publications:

  • Absolutely Absurd: The Life & Times of Bernie Sanders, Sleepy Hollow Press, 2002; Outsider in the House, Verso, 1997

Elections

2020

Presidency

An election for president of the United States will be held on November 3, 2020. Sanders announced that he was running for president on February 19, 2019. He suspended his presidential campaign on April 8, 2020.

2018


General election
General election for U.S. Senate Vermont

The following candidates ran in the general election for U.S. Senate Vermont on November 6, 2018.

Bernie Sanders (Independent)
67.3%
183,649 Votes

Lawrence Zupan (R)
27.4%
74,663 Votes

Brad Peacock (Independent)
1.4%
3,787 Votes

Russell Beste (Independent)
1.0%
2,763 Votes

Edward Gilbert Jr. (Independent)
0.8%
2,244 Votes

Folasade Adeluola (Independent)
0.7%
1,979 Votes

Jon Svitavsky (Independent)
0.5%
1,280 Votes

Silhouette Placeholder Image.png

Reid Kane (Liberty Union Party)
0.4%
1,171 Votes

Bruce Busa (Independent)
0.3%
914 Votes
Other/Write-in votes
0.1%
294 Votes

Total votes: 272,744

Democratic primary election
Democratic primary for U.S. Senate Vermont

Incumbent Bernie Sanders defeated Folasade Adeluola in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate Vermont on August 14, 2018.

Bernie Sanders (D)
94.4%
63,322 Votes

Folasade Adeluola (D)
5.6%
3,748 Votes

Total votes: 67,070

Republican primary election
Republican primary for U.S. Senate Vermont

H. Brooke Paige defeated Lawrence Zupan, Jasdeep Pannu, and Roque De La Fuente in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate Vermont on August 14, 2018.

H. Brooke Paige (R)
39.6%
9,805 Votes

Lawrence Zupan (R)
37.9%
9,383 Votes

Jasdeep Pannu (R)
18.3%
4,527 Votes

Roque De La Fuente (R)
4.3%
1,057 Votes

Total votes: 24,772


2016

Presidency

Sanders was a Democratic candidate for the office of President of the United States in 2016. He made his candidacy official on April 30, 2015. He was the second Democratic candidate to formally announce his entry into the race, following Hillary Clinton. On July 12, 2016, Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton for president but not did formally suspend his campaign.

2012

Sanders ran for re-election in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Vermont. Sanders ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on August 28, 2012. He also ran as an independent. He defeated John MacGovern (R), Cris Ericson (United States Marijuana Party), Laurel LaFramboise (VoteKISS), Pete Diamondstone (Liberty Union) and Peter Moss (Peace and Prosperity) in the general election on November 6, 2012.

U.S. Senate, Vermont, General Election, 2012

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Independent Green check mark transparent.pngBernie Sanders Incumbent 71.1% 207,848
Republican John MacGovern 24.9% 72,898
Third Cris Ericson 2% 5,924
Third Laurel LaFramboise 0.3% 877
Third Peter Moss 0.8% 2,452
Third Pete Diamondstone 0.9% 2,511
Total Votes 292,510
Source: Vermont Board of Elections, "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Full history


Policy Positions

2020

Budget

1. Do you support expanding federal funding to support entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare?
- Yes

Education

1. Do you support requiring states to adopt federal education standards?
- Yes

Energy & Environment

1. Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
- Yes

2. Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, geo-thermal)?
- Yes

Guns

1. Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
- Yes

Health Care

1. Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
- No

Campaign Finance

1. Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
- Yes

Economy

1. Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
- Yes

2. Do you support lowering corporate taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
- No

Immigration

1. Do you support the construction of a wall along the Mexican border?
- No

2. Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
- No

National Security

1. Should the United States use military force to prevent governments hostile to the U.S. from possessing a weapon of mass destruction (for example: nuclear, biological, chemical)?
- Unknown Position

2. Do you support reducing military intervention in Middle East conflicts?
- Yes

Abortion

1. Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
- Pro-choice

Budget

1. In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
- Yes

Trade

Do you generally support removing barriers to international trade (for example: tariffs, quotas, etc.)?
- No

Defense

Do you support increasing defense spending?
- No

Vermont Congressional Election 2012 Political Courage Test

Education

1. Other or expanded principles
- I believe states, which along with communities have traditionally been the main support for our public schools, should be the entities which decide on reforms. I strongly support both early education (and child care) and extended education (after school programs, summer programs) as ways to strengthen our education of children and youth. I strongly support Pell grants, which help make college more affordable to the children of working families

2. Do you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants?
- No

Guns

1. Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
- Unknown Position

2. Other or expanded principles
- I believe that most concerns about owndership, purchase and possession of guns is best addressed at the state level. As a senator, I believe in deferring this question to the states.

Health Care

1. Other or expanded principles
- The Affordable Care Act is a step forward toward universal health care, but it is imperfect, and so I voted for it but without strongly endorsing it. I have long believed that health care is a right of every citizen -- every citizen -- and that the best way to achieve a strong and fair health care system is through a Medicare-for-all, single payer system. I have consistently introduced, and strongly supported, legislation to establish a single-payer approach to health care.

2. Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
- Yes

3. Should individuals be required to purchase health insurance, as mandated in the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
- Yes

Social Security

1. Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?
- No

2. Other or expanded principles
- I am opposed to the privatization of Social Security.

Campaign Finance

1. Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- Citizens United, which decided that corporations are persons and have an almost unlimited capacity to contribute to political campaigns and the issues which shape political campaigns, is one of the two or three worst decisions in the history of the Supreme Court. I jhave introduced legislation which would, by constitutional amendment, reverse Citizens United.

Economy

1. Other or expanded principles
- [...support the temporary extension of tax relief?] Candidate answered "Yes" and "No". I support the extention of tax relief for middle class and working families. I do not, emphatically, support the extension of tax breaks for those earning over $250,000 a year. I believe that federal investment in infrastructure both creates jobs, and makes our nation stronger and more economically competitive. In terms of stimulating our economy and creationg jobs -- as well as sustaining those trapped by this severe economic recession -- I think both unemployment compensation at food stamps are essential to support Americans devastated by the recession.

2. Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
- Yes

3. Do you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
- Yes

4. Do you support spending on infrastructure projects for the purpose of job creation?
- Yes

5. Do you support the temporary extension of unemployment benefits?
- Yes

6. Do you support the 2010 temporary extension of tax relief?
- No Answer

Immigration

1. Do you support allowing illegal immigrants, who were brought to the United States as minors, to pursue citizenship without returning to their country of origin?
- Yes

2. Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration law by state and local police?
- No Answer

3. Do you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
- No

4. Other or expanded principles
- Legal immigration is and should be our practice and our goal. But with 11.5 undocumented immigrants currently residing in the US, we must address that reality. I support the DREAM Act, which would confer citizenship on young people who grew up in the United States if they serve in the military or graduate from high school. The 14th amendment of the Constitution makes the federal government, not the states, the arbiter of citizenship.

National Security

1. Should the U.S use military force in order to prevent Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon?
- No

2. Do you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict?
- No

3. Other or expanded principles
- While we must aggressively pursue international terrorists and all of those who would do us harm, we must do it in a way that protects the Constitution and the civil liberties which make us proud to be Americans.

Administrative Priorities

Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.
- REversing the decline of the middle class, which is in good measure due to outsourcing of American jobs and an unfair tax code which has greatly reduced taxes on the wealthy while their share of both the ntion's ealth and its income have soared dramatically, REducign glob al warming and creating new, good-paying jbos by investing in sustainable energy and eenrgy efficiency. Bringing transparency to the banking industry, to the Federal Reserve, and to military contracting.

Environment

1. Do you believe that human activity is contributing to climate change?
- Yes

2. Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
- Yes

3. Other or expanded principles
- Global warming, and climate change, are one of the great challenges we face today. We must act aggressively to reduce carbon emissions. Solar, wind, thermal and biomass can greatly help us to move in tht direction. I ction. So can the development of hybrid-electric and electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and greater investment in mass transit.

Capital Punishment

1. Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
- No Answer

2. Other or expanded principles
- No Answer

Energy

1. Do you support reducing restrictions on offshore energy production?
- No

2. Other or expanded principles
- Global warming is real, and a threat to not only future generations, but to our very planet itself. I strongly support sustainable energy -- solar, wind, biomass, geothermal -- as a way to reduce carbon emissions, and to reduce our dependence of foreign oil.

Marriage

1. Do you support same-sex marriage?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- No Answer

Abortion

1. Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
- Pro-choice

2. Other or expanded principles
- I support a woman's right to choose.

Afghanistan

1. Do you support United States' combat operations in Afghanistan?
- No

2. Do you support a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan?
- Yes

3. Other or expanded principles
- I support a timetable for quick and complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan. We went to war against Afghanistan to capture Osama bin Laden. He is now dead, and our reason for being there no longer pertains/.

Spending and Taxes

Spending

Indicate what federal spending levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.

1. Agriculture
- Slightly Decrease

2. Arts
- Maintain Status

3. Defense
- Greatly Decrease

4. Education
- Greatly Increase

5. Environment
- Slightly Increase

6. Homeland Security
- Maintain Status

7. International aid
- Maintain Status

8. Medical Research
- Slightly Increase

9. Scientific Research
- Maintain Status

10. Space exploration
- Slightly Decrease

11. United Nations
- Maintain Status

12. Welfare
- Maintain Status

13. Other or expanded categories
- 1 Develop sustainable energy and create green jobs6 Eliminate corporte welfare

Taxes

Indicate what federal tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.

1. Other or expanded categories
- Payroll taxes: I favor ending the payroll tax reduction, which was instituted as a short-term measure to stimulate the economy, because over the long term it will weaken the Social Security Trust Fund. I favor removing the cap on payroll taxes for those earning over $250,000 a year, because doing so would guarantee that all Social Security benefits could be paid for the next 75 years. I believe, I stated earlier, that the wealthy and corporations need to pay their fair share of taxes.

2. Capital gains taxes
- Greatly Increase

3. Corporate taxes
- Greatly Increase

4. Excise taxes (alcohol)
- Maintain Status

5. Excise taxes (cigarettes)
- Maintain Status

6. Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
- Maintain Status

7. Income taxes (low-income families)
- Slightly Decrease

8. Income taxes (middle-income families)
- Maintain Status

9. Income taxes (high-income families)
- Greatly Increase

10. Inheritance taxes
- Greatly Increase

11. Payroll taxes
- No Answer

Budget

Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing the federal budget.

In order to balance the budget,

1. do you support reducing defense spending?
- Yes

2. do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
- Yes

3. do you support reducing Medicaid spending?
- No

4. do you support reducing Medicare spending?
- No

5. Is balancing the budget a legislative priority?
- Yes

6. Other or expanded principles
- We should move toward serious deficit reduction, most importantly by taxing the wealthy, who do not pay their fair share of the tax burden, and by closing tax loopholes for large corporations and corporations which ship jobs abroad to fatten their corporate profits. We should NOT blance the buget on the shoulders of the elderly, children, the poor, veterans or the currently hard-pressed middle class.

Articles

Duckworth, Colleagues Call for Inspector General Audit of Osha's Inadequate Enforcement Amid Growing Worker Illnesses and Deaths During COVID-19 Pandemic

May 29, 2020

Dear Mr. Dahl: We are writing to request that your office conduct an audit of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) handling of inspections and citations during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and the Department of Labor's (DOL) decision not to issue an OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to address the heightened risks for frontline workers during the pandemic. Since President Trump's March 13, 2020 declaration of a national emergency, the number of OSHA-issued citations has dropped by nearly 70%, and the inspection rate has also dropped dramatically. An OSHA spokesperson reported the agency has not issued a single citation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this same period, thousands of essential workers have become sick, and many have died after being exposed to coronavirus at their workplaces. We are writing to seek an audit of OSHA's response to the pandemic, including an explanation for why citation and inspection numbers have dropped so dramatically during this national emergency, and whether DOL's refusal to issue an ETS is not in compliance with the law. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) mandates that DOL "shall provide… for an emergency temporary standard to take immediate effect" if the Secretary of Labor "determines (A) that employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards, and (B) that such emergency standard is necessary to protect employees from such danger." Essential workers continue to fall ill and die due to workplace coronavirus exposure. More than 9,000 health care workers fell ill with coronavirus between February 12 and April 9; dozens of grocery store workers have died due to COVID-19; and in New York City alone, more than 80 transportation workers have died. This is just a small sampling of the thousands of workers spanning dozens of industries who have become sick -- often gravely so -- on the job. It is beyond dispute that coronavirus constitutes a new hazard which poses grave danger to employees, and that current safety standards are inadequate to protect workers from this hazard. Despite the growing numbers of sick and deceased essential workers, DOL has refused to issue an ETS. In response to a letter from a group of Senators requesting OSHA issue an emergency standard, DOL wrote: OSHA is able to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) when there is a minimum level of workplace safety practice that is necessary to protect workers, but is not being followed by employers. …at this time, we see no additional benefit from an ETS in the current circumstances relating to COVID-19. OSHA's rationale is plainly faulty. There is no evidence that employers are sufficiently protecting workers--in fact, there is an abundance of evidence to the contrary. State and local governments have had to close essential businesses after they have failed to prevent and mitigate coronavirus outbreaks among employees. The city of Worcester, Massachusetts ordered a Walmart store to close on April 29, 2020, after more than 20 employees tested positive for coronavirus -- the first of whom tested positive on April 8, 2020; now, more than 80 workers have tested positive. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear ordered Amazon to close a warehouse in Shepherdsville after multiple employees tested positive for coronavirus. Smithfield Foods did not suspend operations at their Sioux Falls facility, where more than 850 workers have become ill, until South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Sioux Falls, South Dakota Mayor Paul TenHaken requested the facility close for 14 days. Furthermore, OSHA has largely abdicated its investigation and enforcement responsibilities for even existing standards. As of May 18, OSHA has only opened 310 COVID-19-related inspections, despite the agency receiving more than 3,990 COVID-19-related complaints. OSHA inspections dropped from on average 217 a day to 60 a day after the national emergency declaration, and the number of OSHA citations has decreased by nearly 70% compared with the prior two years.15 Stunningly, OSHA stated in an April 13, 2020 enforcement memo (which the agency recently announced will be rescinded) that, in most cases, all workplaces other than healthcare and emergency response should not even receive on-site inspections in response to COVID-19-related complaints, but rather only a non-formal phone/fax inspection. While OSHA needs to ensure that its own inspectors are safe during this pandemic, the agency cannot do so by abdicating its mission to "to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions." Additionally, OSHA stated in an April 16, 2020 memo that it may issue a citation in the case that "the employer cannot demonstrate any efforts to comply" with OSHA mandates, but urged Area Offices to take "attempts to comply in good faith … into strong consideration in determining whether to cite a violation." A former OSHA official cautioned that these efforts erode enforcement efforts, potentially allowing employers off the hook for violations based on efforts as minimal as a phone call to seek protective equipment. And despite a requirement for employers to report on workplace deaths, "former OSHA leaders say the agency has not openly reminded hospitals and nursing homes to file such reports in recent weeks." OSHA did release revised enforcement policies on May 19, 2020 announcing the agency is "increasing in-person inspections at all types of workplaces" and "enforc[ing] the recordkeeping requirements of 29 CFR 1904 for employee coronavirus illnesses for employers." While we are hopeful that these changes, which went into effect on May 26, 2020, will lead to increased coronavirus-related inspections and enforcement activity, we believe it is critical to audit OSHA's efforts to date, and what impact the updated guidance may have. Due to our grave concerns that OSHA is failing to meet its core mission of protecting worker health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, and failing to meet legal requirements to adopt an ETS to prevent additional, unnecessary worker illnesses and deaths, we ask that you open an audit of OSHA's actions and decisions during the pandemic expeditiously. Thank you for your work and your consideration of this request.

Letter to Dr. Robert Redfield, Director for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - Concerns Over Declining Child Immunization Rates

May 29, 2020

Dear Dr. Redfield, We write to express significant concern regarding the recent decline in routine childhoodimmunization rates in the United States during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,and urge you to take immediate action to encourage and support routine pediatric immunizationsthrough the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to recent data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adecline in provider orders for non-influenza childhood vaccines, and measles-containingvaccines including the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, began one week after PresidentTrump declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. InMay, the Michigan Care Improvement Registry found a drastic decrease in vaccination ratesamong children across nearly every age group. The percentage of children five months andyounger who remain up-to-date on recommended vaccines declined from 67.9 percent in 2019,to 49.7 percent in May 2020. The New York City health department reported a 63 percent dropin the number of vaccine doses administered to children between March 23 and May 9, includinga 91 percent drop for children ages 2 and above. The administration of routine pediatric immunizations remains critical throughout the duration ofthis public health emergency. The decline in immunizations is largely attributable to efforts byfamilies to adhere to social distancing guidelines to reduce both their exposure to, and the spreadof COVID-19. But if this trend of decreased immunization rates among children continues, theUnited States could face yet another public health crisis: increased risk of outbreaks of vaccinepreventable diseases. Such outbreaks would put lives at risk, and place additional stress on our health care system and public health infrastructure at a time when these systems are struggling torespond to the COVID-19 pandemic. To avoid this potential crisis, we urge the CDC to immediately develop an action plan thatincorporates targeted public outreach and education efforts on addressing vaccine hesitancy andemphasizing the importance of pediatric immunizations; resources for communities that haveseen reductions in their immunization rates since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; andguidance for parents and families on how to safely access pediatric immunizations during theCOVID-19 pandemic, including best practices regarding personal protective equipment (PPE)use and other precautions to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in health care settings; andnecessary efforts to ensure rapid catch-up for children who are not up to date on critical pediatricvaccines. In addition to developing the plans described above, we request that you respond to the followingquestions no later than July 1, 2020 to help us better understand how the federal government isworking to address the alarming drop in pediatric immunization rates: 1. What specific steps is CDC taking to reverse the dramatic drop in vaccinations since midMarch?a. How does CDC plan to capture accurate real-time data on pediatric immunizationrates and identify potential solutions, particularly in vulnerable communities? 2. What outreach and education efforts are underway at CDC to address fears amongparents and families related to bringing children into health care settings during theCOVID-19 crisis?a. Is CDC planning a public information campaign to address vaccine hesitancy, andif so, how will CDC ensure that the necessary communication on the importanceof routine immunizations is reaching parents and families?b. How will CDC ensure that families receive guidance on safe access to care forchildren during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the appropriate use of PPE?c. How will CDC communicate with health care workers, and provide the necessarytools to inform communities about the importance of receiving pediatricimmunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic?d. What guidance is CDC providing to pediatricians and other health care workerson procedures to ensure that they can safely provide and promote routine pediatricimmunizations?e. Given the significant increase in unemployment due to COVID-19, many familiesare finding themselves uninsured. How will CDC raise awareness of the Vaccinesfor Children (VFC) program to ensure that families know their children can stillaccess routine immunizations, and how does CDC plan to support participatingVFC providers as they work to catch up VFC-eligible children on missedvaccinations, while also preparing for the upcoming flu season? 3. How will CDC monitor the ongoing availability and ordering of pediatric immunizations,including doses and other essential medical devices, PPE, and other supplies needed tostore, transport and administer vaccines, and what plans are in place to address anysupply chain disruptions?a. Is CDC taking steps now to ensure that the availability of pediatricimmunizations, and necessary medical devices and supplies, is not impacted whenproduction and domestic distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine is underway?4. Has CDC developed or reviewed modeling or projections that predict the potential impacton future vaccine-preventable outbreaks if the current pediatric immunization ratecontinues throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic?5. Does CDC require additional resources from Congress in order to support efforts toreverse the decline in pediatric immunizations? If so, what level of funding would besufficient? We appreciate your timely response and look forward to working with you on this critical issue.

Congressman Gonzalez Joins Bipartisan, Bicameral Group Calling on Administration to Ensure National Guard Servicemembers on COVID-19 Front Lines Receive Benefits Earned

May 28, 2020

Dear Mr. President, Secretary Esper, and Administrator Gaynor: We write today to raise a number of issues impacting the National Guard personnel deployed in support of the fight against Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The National Guard has been critical in executing the nation's pandemic response efforts. Thousands of National Guard servicemembers have been providing invaluable support for testing civilians and Guard personnel, logistics and warehouse distribution, planning for Emergency Operations Centers, homelessness outreach, and much more. We also recognize that National Guard servicemembers have been supporting state efforts in high threat and high risk areas, namely, medical support to prisons; frontline testing at hot spots and critical infrastructure locations; supporting tracing operations; and providing direct care to COVID-19 positive citizens, including at care facilities like Veterans Living Centers and homeless populations. Our national success in flattening the curve will not be possible without the contributions of the National Guard. We believe it is critical to ensure that all National Guard personnel are taken care of during this crisis and after, recognizing that the threat of COVID-19 will not immediately go away and the National Guard is likely to be called on again in the future. Therefore, we urge you to consider our recommendations for addressing the following concerns immediately. Federal Status: We ask that you consider keeping all National Guard servicemembers supporting the COVID-19 mission on 502(f)(2) status rather than transitioning to State Active Duty (SAD) orders regardless of future FEMA reimbursement. This will ensure healthcare commensurate with the work they are performing is available. This will also ensure they are able to continue support to the nation's effort without uncertainty of status. If orders are to be extended on a month-to-month basis, we ask that all orders are 31 days or longer in duration and that the announcement of extensions be made early in the month in order to allow for preparation by each state's leadership teams. Leave: We are encouraged by the recent change that will allow National Guard members to sell back unused leave without penalty or roll over accrued leave to another activated status. We ask that you continue to provide National Guard members with flexibility in how they may utilize leave accrued during the COVID-19 response, and ensure necessary federal funding to support the different leave usage options. Healthcare: We ask that you ensure the National Guard members activated in support of COVID-19 are provided Transition Assistance Management Program (TAMP) benefits for 180 days after coming off orders, similar to their Reserve counterparts. GI Bill and Retirement Benefits: We believe that the service of National Guard members during this unprecedented emergency is deserving of the recognition intended by educational and retirement benefit programs in the spirit in which they were created. We encourage you to be inclusive of pandemic response affiliated military service to ensure that National Guard personnel are not being inappropriately prevented from accessing the benefits earned by their service.We are proud of the incredible contributions of the National Guard. They have been a critical team member in the nation's fight against COVID-19. We welcome your support in ensuring they are kept safe, healthy, and receive the benefits they deserve.

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