Capito Statement on President Trump’s Decision to Declare Coronavirus Pandemic a National Emergency

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) released the below statement following President Donald Trump’s announcement Monday declaring a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.


“President Trump’s actions today are necessary and helpful in our nation’s effort to contain this pandemic. As chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee, I’ve worked hard to provide funds that can be used in challenging times as these. I will continue monitoring this situation and working with officials at all levels to make sure we are preparing and protecting our communities.”


Background on Senator Capito’s Coronavirus efforts:


Senator Capito continues to be focused on this issue, particularly in ensuring the appropriate agencies have the funding they need to mitigate the spread of the virus, test those feeling ill, and treat those infected. As chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Capito has made a point to ask the agencies she funds if they are prepared and ready to combat the coronavirus. Below are more details on Senator Capito’s efforts:


  • Met with a number of officials, including:


o   Vice President Mike Pence, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services (WVDHHS) Commissioner and State Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp, members of the Coronavirus Taskforce, and others on the issue.


  • Spoke with West Virginia Hospital Association President and CEO Joe Letnaunchyn and West Virginia Health Care Association CEO Marty Wright.


  • Voted in favor of the emergency supplemental funding package to help states treat, prevent, and prepare for the Coronavirus. A portion of the funding provided for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is specifically tied to the FY2019 Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) grant awards for states and localities. In West Virginia, this means the state will receive at least $5 million in funding.


  • Attended a senators-only Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee briefing to ask questions directly of leadership from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the State Department, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).


  • Spoke with West Virginia Governor Jim Justice about West Virginia’s preparedness and readiness.


  • Asked various government officials about the role of the aviation industry in containing the spread of the disease.


  • During two Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee hearings:


o   Questioned Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator David Pekoske about TSA’s coordinating efforts with health agencies.


o   Asked Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf about the department’s efforts to monitor and control the coronavirus.