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NAVREF Advocacy Update

23 Mar 2021 10:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  1. The House passed a bill last week extending the deadline for applying for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to May 31, and the Senate is expected to take up the legislation as soon as tomorrow. The popular PPP, created by Congress last year and recently expanded to include most 501(c) nonprofit groups, offers forgivable loans to businesses and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Both the House and the Senate have overwhelmingly passed a version of the VA Vaccine Act. This legislation authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide the COVID-19 vaccines to more veterans and to their caregivers.
  3. The Senate HELP Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee held hearings this week to review the Biden Administration’s pandemic response and ongoing COVID-19 vaccine distribution with CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, NIH NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, HHS Chief Scientific Officer for the COVID Response Dr. David Kessler, and FDA CBER Director Dr. Peter Marks.  In their testimonies, the Administration officials underscored how utilizing past scientific discoveries in combination with new partnerships led to the development of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics at a record pace. They also spoke to concerns regarding equitable vaccine distribution, and how scientists are navigating emerging variants by modernizing existing research techniques. Addressing “long COVID-19” and the impending mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic also remain top priorities.
  4. A new version of the Endless Frontier Act may come to the Senate Floor as early as next month. Based on last year’s bill, the legislation would establish a new directorate at NSF and authorize $100 billion over five years to build out our nation’s technological capacity. You can view the bill from last Congress here and a recent letter from former NSF directors and National Science Board chairs here
  5. March 24 - The House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing to examine the VA medical supply chain response to the pandemic.
March 24 – Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs hearing:  Coping during COVID:  Veterans’ Mental Health and Implementation of the Hannon Act

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