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January 22, 2021

Pressley, Warren Applaud Biden’s Swift Action on their Calls for Equitable Data Collection and Response

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) issued the following statement on President Biden’s executive order to ensure an equitable pandemic response and recovery, which contains several provisions championed by the lawmakers from the onset of the pandemic.

“History has shown us that in the face of any public health crisis, Black, Brown and Indigenous communities disproportionately suffer. This is why we have repeatedly pressured our federal government from the onset of this pandemic to collect and publicly report on the stark racial disparities in COVID-19 cases and fatalities, and ensure that lifesaving resources are getting to the communities most impacted.

“The President’s executive order answers these calls by taking a critical first step towards building a national COVID-19 response and recovery strategy that includes everyone—regardless of their race, age, gender and disability status. By investing in robust data collection nationwide, targeting relief for our hardest hit communities, and creating a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force made up of individuals with relevant lived experience and expertise in community-based healthcare services, this executive action will help ensure our most vulnerable communities get the life-saving support and resources they need to weather this crisis.

“With the pandemic continuing to ravage families in Massachusetts and all across the country, we must keep our Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities front and center as we work towards an equitable, long-term recovery. We thank President Biden for taking this meaningful action and look forward to partnering with the administration to ensure the order is implemented transparently, inclusively, and effectively.”

From the onset of the pandemic, Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Warren have led efforts in Congress to ensure an equitable federal response to the pandemic that addresses existing racial disparities in the United States.

  • In April 2020, they led their colleagues in introducing the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act, legislation to require the federal government to collect and publicly release racial and other demographic data on COVID-19. The bill also would establish an inter-agency commission to make recommendations in real time on improving data collection and transparency and responding equitably to this crisis. Aspects of the legislation were included in an COVID-19 relief package signed into law later that month.
  • In March, the lawmakers urged HHS to collect racial and ethnic demographic data on testing and treatment for COVID-19 to identify and address racial disparities.
  • The lawmakers also sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) calling on the agency to immediately release racial and ethnic data of Medicare beneficiaries who are tested or hospitalized for COVID-19.
  • Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Warren have also written to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asking for HHS’s report on the administration’s efforts to address racial disparities in health care access and outcomes, as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  • At the request of Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Warren, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has agreed to investigate how COVID-19 relief funds have been distributed to disproportionately affected communities. 

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