Democratic View: A Federal Role on the Pandemic? Exactly!

This column is from the Chair of the Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee, Joe Shapiro, who writes an opinion about the federal government and the COVID-19 pandemic.

This column is from the Chair of the Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee, Joe Shapiro, who writes an opinion about the federal government and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Getty Images / Getty Images / iStockphoto

As we move past the recent election toward the future of America under a new presidential administration, we still have lots of immediate challenges, most especially COVID, that need immediate, serious attention at the federal level as well as the active management we have been seeing here in Connecticut at the state and local levels. The election will have an impact on how these needs get addressed, and the fact that they will get addressed at all.

Looking to the future right after the networks’ announcements that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election, Senator Richard Blumenthal commented that “an exciting, new era lies ahead when America will have the leadership it needs and deserves, ending a dark, dangerous time for our nation.” He went on to point out that “the path ahead is both challenging and inspiring: we must conquer the pandemic, put America back to work, and fight to restore the rule of law and deeply shared values that make our nation great.” Senator Blumenthal invited all of us to be part of the solution to these challenges, noting that “we have far more in common than in conflict, but the wounds inflicted on our country over the last four years will take hard work to heal.” And he promised: “I will continue to fight for Connecticut and our people's health care, economic progress, and common values.”

Subsequently, Senator Chris Murphy, expanding on the pandemic issue that faces us right now, observed that “health care workers still don’t have the resources they need to protect themselves and care for others. The pandemic continues to rage. And small businesses and workers are hurting. And yet,” he noted sadly, “Republicans won’t come to the table to get a COVID relief bill done.”

Senator Murphy also focused on the necessary role of the federal government in helping our communities here in Connecticut, writing that “small businesses across our state are already hurting -- and they face tremendous uncertainty as winter approaches and the pandemic continues to rage. We need to provide them with assistance ASAP.” And to provide that assistance ASAP, Senator Murphy announced, “I'm urging my Republican colleagues to come to the table and get this done.”

Yet we still do not have even an attempt by the current administration or the Republican-led U.S. Senate to solve the crisis. We should not have to wait until Inauguration Day for a serious federal attempt to address local hardships caused by COVID. But if the current President and the U.S. Senate continue their obstante refusal to deal with the pandemic and its consequences, we at least have the assurance that the incoming administration is working hard to address this issue, and many others, on Day 1.

President-Elect Biden recently stated, “The workers on the frontlines of this pandemic are making extraordinary sacrifices every single day. They deserve leaders who will listen and work as hard for them as they are for their communities. As president, that’s exactly what I’ll do.”