Mike's Agenda

COVID and Pandemic Preparedness

From the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mike worked to mitigate the public health and economic crises caused by COVID-19 and provide relief for families, local small businesses, and countless others in the 49th District and across the nation.

Mike immediately converted his monthly town halls into a virtual format and invited local public health experts to answer his constituents’ questions and make sure they had the information and resources they needed. He also created a COVID-19 resource guide to help families and small businesses better understand the new resources that were available to them.

Mike worked to pass multiple bipartisan relief packages to bolster the nation’s public health response to the virus, support those who lost their jobs, and help local small businesses stay afloat.

In the first weeks of the pandemic, he helped pass the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act delivered $2.2 trillion in aid for hospitals and frontline medical professionals, more than a billion for San Diego and Orange County governments, a $600 weekly increase in unemployment benefits, direct cash assistance for those in need, $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers on payroll, and much more. He also supported the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act to ensure the Paycheck Protection Program worked for the smallest local businesses and increased funding for testing and health care workers.

Despite those early legislative successes, it was clear that additional relief was needed to limit the spread of the virus and protect our economy. Mike fought to pass the HEROES Act, a comprehensive bill that met the scale of the crisis we were facing. While then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked that relief, Mike continued to advocate for state and local funding to help maintain essential services, increase funding for testing and vaccine development, provide another round of Paycheck Protection Program and direct cash assistance, feed hungry families, get veterans back on their feet, and much more.

After months of pushing for bipartisan compromise on another relief bill, Mike helped pass legislation that included $600 in direct cash assistance, a $300 per week increase in unemployment, $325 billion for small businesses, $32 billion for vaccine procurement and distribution, $82 billion for schools, and much more.

Under President Biden, Mike was proud to help pass the American Rescue Plan, which included $20 billion to distribute vaccines, $1,400 direct payments, stronger unemployment benefits, $27.5 billion in rental assistance, $7.25 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, strengthened SNAP benefits, and provided more than $105 million for state and local governments and nearly $125 million for school districts in North County San Diego and South Orange County.

The American Rescue Plan also made the child tax credit fully refundable for 2021 and increased the annual amount from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child, which benefited 124,800 children in our Congressional district.

Pandemic Preparedness

Mike also is working hard to help prevent future pandemics. He is fighting for action to combat so-called superbugs, strains of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, which the World Health Organization has warned is one of the top ten threats to global health. The rapid global spread of superbugs is making infections increasingly difficult to cure with existing antimicrobial remedies. These superbugs infect three million Americans and kill more than 35,000 people every year, according to the CDC. Mike introduced the bipartisan Saving Us from Pandemic Era Resistance by Building a Unified Global Strategy (SUPER BUGS) Act, which directs the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of State to work with our allies around the world to develop and commercialize new antimicrobial drugs that can cure infections from superbugs.

Mike also introduced the Biomedical Innovation Expansion Act to provide the National Institutes of Health with more than $1.6 billion to help address superbugs. The bill also provides resources through the NIH Innovation Fund and increases support for all current NIH Innovation Fund activities to 2030.

In addition to his leadership on superbugs, Mike has cosponsored the Preventing Future Pandemics Act to address public health risks that wildlife markets pose, the Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act to create a grant program in support of state and local health department immunization systems, and the Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act to reform the Strategic National Stockpile and increase domestic manufacturing of important public health supplies.

Mike has voted to increase investments in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies that protect public health, and he will continue to support additional federal investments for the work our health agencies do to prevent and better prepare for future pandemics.