The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an ongoing public health and economic crisis in our Hawai‘i and throughout the world. As of November 4, 2020, I had cosponsored 66 bills and led or cosigned 159 joint congressional letters in response to the pandemic. I also voted for 6 major COVID-19 relief bills. These efforts will help facilitate the federal response to confront our public health crisis, alleviate the economic crisis, provide tools for our keiki to learn remotely, ensure the safety of our essential workforce and prepare our country for any future public health crises. Below are examples of some actions I have taken in Congress in response to this crisis.
Below are examples of some actions I have taken in Congress in response to this crisis.
Addressing the Public Health Crisis
October 13, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to House leadership urging extension of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act’s Troubled Debt Restructuring and Central Liquidity Facility provisions for an additional year in the next relief package.
October 13, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to House leadership urging modification of the seasonal employer rule so businesses are able to calculate their full-time employment numbers to include their down seasons and provide additional funding for seasonal entertainment operators and location-based businesses.
September 29, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Treasury Department asking for an explanation for the SBA’s delay in processing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness applications.
September 21, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner requesting the IRS extend its deadline for non-tax filers to submit their information to receive their Economic Impact Payment (EIP).
September 25, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 8345, theAir Carrier Worker Support Extension Act, which would extend the COVID-19 relief airline Payroll Support Program through March 2021. Text available here.
September 24, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 7241, the Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program Act, which would create a second round of PPP for recipients with less than 100 employees and losses of 50% or more due to COVID-19. Text available here.
September 23, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 7777, the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act, which would provide expedited forgiveness to PPP loans under $150,000 if the recipient submits a one-page form. Text available here.
September 1, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requesting more flexibility with Coronavirus Relief Funds, created by the CARES Act, so that states and localities may pursue permanent broadband infrastructure projects.
August 14, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 7481, the Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards A Recovery in Twenty-twenty (RESTART) Act, which would establish a PPP successor that would grant SBA loans to small businesses with less than 5,000 employees and whose revenues have dipped by at least 25% since the pandemic. These loans would cover 6 months of payroll, benefits and fixed operating expenses and would be forgiven up to the total amount of losses caused by the pandemic.
August 3, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to House leadership urging additional assistance to charitable nonprofit organizations in the next COVID-19 relief measure.
July 20, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the SBA asking it to rectify issues in the detailed PPP data it previously released.
July 15, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to House and Senate leadership on extending the airlines’ Payroll Support Program in next COVID-19 response bill.
July 17, 2020: Cosponsored H.R 7397, which would amend the PPP to allow 501(c)(6) Chamber Organizations and Destination Marketing Organizations (local tourism boards) to receive PPP loans. Text available here.
June 24, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 6956, the Farming Support to States Act, which would provide $1 billion for food and agriculture aid to states. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would allocate funds to all states and territories, with substantial funding targeted to states based on their contributions to regional and national food systems. Text available here.
June 24, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 7197, the Restaurant Act, which would establish a $120 billon fund for independent food service or drinking establishments that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund would provide grants to restaurants that are not publicly traded and have $1.5 million or less in revenue. Funds could be used to cover payroll, benefits, mortgage, rent, protective equipment, food or other costs. Text available here.
June 18, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 7216, the Small Business Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Tax Credit Act, which would create a tax credit up to $25,000 to help small businesses with the cost of purchasing PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic. Text available here.
June 15, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell requesting economic support for the commercial real estate market, especially for those with commercial mortgage-backed security debt.
June 2, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the Senate Leadership and Senate Small Business Leadership asking that in future COVID-19 legislation they consider directing the Treasury Department and SBA to provide a streamlined forgiveness application process for PPP loans under $350,000.
May 19, 3030: Cosponsored H.R. 6807, the Vote Safe Act, which would guarantee all Americans the right to safely vote by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full text available here.
April 23, 2020: Voted for the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which provided $483 billion to support our medical providers, expand COVID-19 testing nationwide and increase funding for small business assistance programs. A detailed section-by-section summary can be found here.
March 25, 2020: Cosponsored H.Res. 906, calling on the President to invoke the Defense Production Act to mobilize private industry to manufacture and distribute COVID-19 test kits and protective equipment for health care providers. Text available here.
March 25, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 6319, to provide better oversight of federal aid related to COVID-19. This bill would establish a Congressional COVID-19 Aid Oversight Panel to review the use and impact of federal aid in addressing the COVID-19 emergency. Text available here.
March 14, 2020: Voted for second emergency measure to address the severe impacts of COVID-19 on the personal health, safety and financial security of Americans. This measure will assure paid sick leave, confirm free coronavirus testing, support stronger unemployment benefits, expand food assistance for vulnerable children and families, protect front-line health workers and deliver additional funding to states for the ongoing economic consequences of the pandemic.
March 3, 2020: Voted for $8.3 billion emergency supplemental funding measure to rapidly accelerate development of a vaccine against COVID-19, get dramatically more test kits our into communities, give healthcare workers the equipment they need, provide aid to state and local governments which are shouldering most of the front-line efforts and extend emergency loans to small businesses and non-profits.
Alleviating the Social and Economic Crises
December 21, 2020: Voted for H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which included $900 billion in a second major round of desperately needed COVID-19 emergency relief assistance to address the health, economic and social needs of the nation during the pandemic. The bill has since become law.
December 16, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to leadership requesting an increase in the maximum SNAP benefit by 15 percent in the next COIVD-19 relief measure.
December 14, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging it to revise the guidance on Pandemic-EBT distribution for last school year in order to provide flexibility for states in administering a new program and close gaps in access for children.
December 10, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the President and Congressional leadership on supporting extension of unemployment benefits.
December 9, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture requesting that it extend the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program from December 11, 2020 to January 30, 2021.
November 19, 2020:Joined Congressional joint letter to U.S. House leadership asking that it waive the matching fund requirements for agriculture businesses who receive funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program and Value-Added Producer Grants Program.
October 15, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on reverting back to prior Provider Relief Fund reporting requirements to make it easier for hospitals to receive Provider Relief Funds.
August 28, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 7651, the Healthy Skies Act, which would establish a Transportation Security Administration pilot program to conduct temperature checks for COVID-19. Text available here.
June 29, 2020: Voted for H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act, which would expand affordable access to health care and life saving prescriptions.Text available here.
May 8, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 6514, the Worker Health Coverage Protection Act, which would subsidize COBRA premiums for workers laid off or furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full text available here.
April 23, 2020:Testified before the House Small Business Committee to explain the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Hawai‘i small businesses and advocate for additional assistance to the tourism and hospitality industry.
April 10, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 6384, the Community Meals Fund, which would award grants to nonprofits so they could partner with small and mid-sized restaurants for the preparation and distribution of food to children, individuals, seniors and families who need it most. Text available here.
April 6, 2020: Joint letter to USDA calling for an immediate expansion of the Online Purchasing Pilot for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as well as to include more retailers in the program.
April 3, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 6240, the All Dependent Children Count Act, which would expand the definition of dependent, for the purpose of the recovery rebates, to include students up to age 24 and permanently disabled adults. Text available here.
April 1, 2020: Joint letter to the Treasury Department, Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration and Internal Revenue Service urging all to automatically send cash payments to Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries and veterans receiving pensions rather than waiting for individuals to request a payment.
March 30, 2020: Joint letter to the Department of Housing & Urban Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services urging them to help the homeless and subsidized housing recipients during this pandemic.
March 27, 2020: Voted for the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It provides immediate help to workers and struggling small businesses, as well as supplemental funding for those on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. A broad summary of the CARES Act is available here. A more detailed section-by-section summary can be found here.
January 7, 2021:Joined Congressional joint letter to the Internal Revenue Service condemning its decisions to defer Economic Impact Payments for those who qualify but did not receive because of an issue with their tax returns until they receive their 2020 tax refund.
December 7, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to U.S. House leadership requesting an extension of the Coronavirus Relief Fund incurred cost deadline by ideally one year.
December 3, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the Administration urging it to extend the authorization for COVID-19 Title 32 National Guard support beyond the end of the calendar year.
December 2, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to U.S. House and Senate leadership urging that they include H.R. 7197, the RESTAURANTS Act, which I cosponsored, in the next COVID-19 relief bill.
November 25, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the Small Business Administration Administrator urging the Small Business Administration to issue complete and concise guidance for small businesses and banks to navigate the Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness process.
November 24, 2020: Joined a Hawai‘i Congressional delegation letter to President Trump in support of the continued Title 32 use of the Hawai‘i National Guard for COVID-19 response through March 2021.
October 16, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 7854, the Leveraging Options for Counties and Localities Act, which would extend the deadline for states and local governments to use their Coronavirus Relief Funds by one year. Text available here.
August 19, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to U.S.-based airlines on policies to ensure the health and safety of all passengers and employees.
August 7, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 7920, the Healthy and Safe Travel Promotion Act, which would authorize a new $5 billion grant program for “Tourism and Healthy Travel Promotion.” It would also amend the CARES Act to allow funding provided to state, tribal and local governments to be used for travel promotion. Text available here.
August 6, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to House leadership on inclusion of tourism assistance in next COVID-19 package.
August 1, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to President Donald Trump requesting a continuation of a federal National Guard COVID-19 deployment in Hawai‘i.
July 29, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 7642, the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services Act, which would provide $10 billion in emergency economic relief funding, in the form of grants and other economic assistance to motorcoach operators, school bus companies, U.S. flag passenger vessel operators and other U.S. transportation service providers designated by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation. Text available here.
July 27, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to House and Senate leadership calling for a minimum of $32 billion for emergency funding to help transit agencies dealing with COVID-19.
July 20, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking for more information about the agency’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
June 9, 2020: Introduced H.R. 7128, the Air Travel Public Health Emergency Act, which would direct the Federal Aviation Administration to allow states to implement reasonable restrictions on incoming passengers during a public health emergency. Text available here.
June 8, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to leadership in favor of ocean and coastal stimulus programs in next recovery bill.
October 1, 2020: Introduced H.R. 8480, the Visit America Act, which would establish an Assistant Secretary for Travel and Tourism within the Department of Commerce appointed by the President with responsibilities to set and pursue international visitation goals, ensure public and private sector coordination on travel and tourism, set visa processing goals with the Departments of State and Homeland Security, promote travel exports abroad and more. Text available here.
May 19, 2020: Joined Hawai‘i Congressional Delegation colleagues in letter to the US Department of Agriculture Secretary urging him to include additional specialty crops in the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
May 13, 2020: Wrote the Federal Aviation Administration regarding the need for pre-boarding screening requirements for passenger flying into Hawai‘i. More information available here.
April 24, 2020: Original cosponsor of H.R. 6623, the COVID-19 Language Access Act. This bill would require federal agencies to translate any COVID-19 information prepared for the general public into each of certain languages, including languages critical to our community in Hawai'i such as Tagalog, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, and Korean, among others. Full text available here.
April 21, 2020: Original cosponsor of H.R. 6592, the Coronavirus Relief for States Act. This bill would provide $500 billion of federal relief for State governments, critical for States with balanced budget requirements such as Hawai'i. Full text available here.
April 14, 2020: Letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) requesting a timeline for providing more e-Tran logins needed for Hawaii’s financial institutions to more quickly process Payroll Protection Program loans.
April 10, 2020: Joint letter urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to incorporate Hawai‘i specific agriculture programs into its guidance for the $9.5 billion available to help farmers dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
April 8, 2020: Joint letter to the Census Bureau calling for expanded outreach to Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 3, 2020: Joint letter urging the Department of Commerce to accelerate the distribution of fisheries aid funding.
March 24, 2020: Case-Gabbard letter to Secretary Ben Carson of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in support of Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim’s request for additional Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funding and flexibility.
March 24, 2020: Delegation letter to the President in support of Governor David Ige’s request for additional personal protective equipment and supplies for Hawai‘i.
March 23, 2020: Joint letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Purdue encouraging consideration of the needs of specialty crops when implementing COVID-19 measures.
Supporting Students, Workers and Veterans in Lockdown
December 8, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the Internal Revenue Service urging it to extend the operation of the Economic Impact Payment mailbox and ensure the Economic Impact Payment processing staff is in place until all eligible Americans receive their Economic Impact Payment.
December 3, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to Labor Secretary Scalia calling for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to explain why it did not investigate 80% of COVID-19 whistleblower claims and why there have been increased investigation times during the pandemic.
November 19, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the President on continuing student loan and interest accrual freeze due to COVID-19.
November 12, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter urging the National Personnel Records Center to address the COVID-19 backlog of veterans’ records.
October 8, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the IRS asking it to expand outreach efforts to alert non-filers that they can still receive their EIPs.
October 6, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the USDA raising concerns with last-minute changes to the administration of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program and asks how the USDA will mitigate concerns raised in the letter.
October 3, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 6958, the COVID-19 Dependent Care Flexible Spending Arrangement Rollover Act, which would permit the unused balance of any dependent care flexible spending arrangement at the end 2020 to be rolled over to 2021. Text available here.
October 1, 2020: Voted for H.R. 925, the updated Heroes Act, which would provide $2.2 trillion in COVID-19 relief, including $436 billion to help state, local, territorial and tribal governments; $120 billion dedicated to restaurants; and a second round of direct payments of $1,200 per taxpayer. Text available here.
September 28, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the IRS calling for a process by which a survivor of domestic abuse can notify the IRS that he/she is a victim of domestic violence and has not received an EIP as a result of theft or any similar action taken by their abuser.
August 13, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 7691, the Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which would ensure that workers who earn a mix of traditional (W-2) and independent (e.g. 1099) employment income are able to fully access the unemployment assistance provided in the CARES Act. Text available here.
August 11, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 7809, the Helping Open Properties Endeavor Act, which would establish a commercial lending facility from the Economic Stabilization Fund as part of the CARES Act to help provide them with liquidity to prevent foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Text available here.
July 30, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 7764, the Child Nutrition Relief Act, which would allow the USDA to grant Families First Coronavirus Response Act school nutrition waivers beyond school closures to schools that are open and practicing social distancing and will enable the waivers to be extended through the end of School Year 2020/2021. Text available here.
July 23, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development urging it to rescind the Administration’s proposal of allowing homeless shelter providers to deny access to individuals based on their gender and/or self-expressed gender identity.
June 29, 2020: Voted for H.R. 7301, the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act, which would address the needs of renters and homeowners who have been severely impacted by the pandemic through targeted relief measures.
June 24, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 6729, the COVID-19 Homeowner Assistance Fund Act, which would create a $75 billion assistance fund to prevent mortgage foreclosures and keep people housed during the pandemic. Text available here.
June 3, 2020: Joined Congressional joint letter urging the USDA to extend the waivers issued to state agencies for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, in accordance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
May 15, 2020: Voted for H.R. 6800, the original Heroes Act. Among other things, it would provide another round of economic impact payments worth up to $1,200 for most Americans, create a $200 billion fund to provide hazard pay for essential workers and provisions to protect worker safety, expand student loan relief, preserve health coverage, extend unemployment benefits, provide housing assistance and more. A one-page summary can be found here.
May 14, 2020: Joint letter to President Trump seeking to keep National Guard servicemembers on federal status rather than state orders during the pandemic, provide flexibility on leave benefits and provide access to enhanced health care benefits.
May 1, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 6563, the Emergency Educational Connections Act of 2020, which would establish an Emergency Connectivity Fund to provide grants and loans for elementary and secondary schools and libraries to provide Wi-Fi hotspots, modems routers, and other devices supporting internet service for students and staff. Full text available here.
April 30, 2020: Joint letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation and Department of Homeland Security requesting they require pilots, flight attendants, and Transportation Security Administration agents, Amtrak employees and other frontline communication workers to wear personal protective equipment.
April 16, 2020: Joint letter to House Leadership requesting emergency support for libraries in the next COVID-19 response bill.
April 13, 2020: Joint letter to House Leadership on including additional assistance for museums in the next COVID-19 response bill.
March 26, 2020: Cosponsored H.R. 6322, the Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act. This Act allows the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to continue to pay veterans on work-study allowances and protects other veterans benefits threatened by the pandemic response. The bill has since become law. Full text available here.
Keeping in Touch with Hawai‘i (Talk Stories)
January 7, 2021: Congressman Case Reports to Hawai‘i: On the Start of the 117th Congress
December 18, 2020: Congressman Ed Case on Richard French Live: COVID Stimulus Aid and the Partisan Divide in Congress
November 30, 2020: Congressman Ed Case Reports to Hawai‘i: COVID-19 Food Drives
November 28, 2020: Congressman Ed Case Reports to State House Select COVID-19 Committee (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQYeHq7zXDQ)
October 9, 2020: Congressman Ed Case Talks Story with Kapolei Chamber of Commerce About COVID-19 Assistance (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykgdisfeiZo
August 24, 2020: Congressman Ed Case on ThinkTech Hawai‘i and the Implications of the Attack on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) during COVID-19
August 5, 2020: Congressman Case Reports to State House Select Committee on COVID-19
July 1, 2020: Congressman Case Joins Tsismisan: Census Talk Story Series
June 22, 2020: COVID-19 Tele-Talk Story Community Meeting
May 1, 2020: Virtual Arts Advocacy Day 2020 Talk Story with Hawaii Arts Alliance.
April 30, 2020: COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall with State Representatives Val Okimoto and Lynn DeCoite.
April 29, 2020: COVID-19 Care Conversation sponsored by the Hawai’i Executive Collaborative and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
April 8, 2020: COVID-19 Tele-Talk Story Community Meeting
March 18, 2020: COVID-19 Talk Story with Congressman Case and Lt. Governor Josh Green.