WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) joined Vice President Mike Pence, Governor John Bel Edwards, members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and members of the Louisiana Congressional Delegation for a press briefing to conclude the Vice President’s visit to Louisiana, which included a roundtable discussion at LSU’s Tiger Stadium to discuss the state’s response to COVID-19, fall reopening plans and university sports programs.
Vice President Pence also announced a revolutionary new COVID-19 testing initiative that will provide point of care rapid response COVID-19 testing to every nursing home across the country. Whip Scalise thanked Vice President Pence and the entire Trump Administration for their continued support and commitment to providing Louisiana the resources we need to combat the Coronavirus in our communities.
Additionally, Whip Scalise emphasized the need to safely reopen our schools in the fall in a manner that ensures the health and success of our children and students.
“I really welcome Vice President Mike Pence to Tiger Stadium. As an Indiana Hoosier, we appreciate that he’s come here today, but Vice President Pence has been here every time we’ve needed him. The Trump Administration top down, every time there’s been, whether it’s a shortage of PPE, additional relief packages, the Trump Administration and this [White House Coronavirus Task Force] led by Vice President Pence have been non-stop working to make sure that we have the things that we need to continue to confront this pandemic. It’s still out there, but we also know that we’ve got to start safely reopening. As Governor Edwards has led the way to show that we can open our schools, that we have to open our schools. It’s not a question of whether or not the schools will reopen, it’s how best to safely reopen. And today’s roundtable was really informative as we saw the heads of the LSU system, the Southern System, the Student Body President representing the University of Louisiana system, talking about the importance of safely reopening schools. It’s got to be our challenge to ensure that we’re there for our kids to make sure that they can go back to school, and they can go back in a safe way. It’s not the same thing to be taught at home. Not only do they need that instruction, but we’ve seen psychiatrists giving studies, we’ve seen pediatric studies that have shown the damage it causes to our kids not being in school. So, it’s our challenge to make sure that we put the protocols out there to safely reopen, and I appreciate Vice President Pence’s leadership in doing that.
“And I also want to thank the Vice President and his whole team, of course Admiral Giroir, good to see you back here in Louisiana, but you’re doing a great service to our nation, and CMS Administrator Seema Verma. What they just announced today, don’t underestimate how important that is when you look at the crisis and the deaths. Over 40 percent of America’s deaths from Coronavirus have happened to seniors in nursing homes. They represent less than one percent of America’s population, yet account for over 40 percent of the deaths. And as we’ve dug into the data to find out who to protect and how best to protect people all across the country, we know the most vulnerable [need protection], and the fact that they’re going to be putting these testing facilities into every nursing home in America is a revolutionary breakthrough. What you’ve done with Operation Warp Speed to find cures, to find vaccines, the testing that’s being done today and the red tape that’s being removed by agencies like the FDA. I can’t thank President Trump and Vice President Pence enough for their efforts to lead us through this so that we ultimately find a vaccine, find a cure. But in the meantime, and oh, by the way, over 70,000 vials of Remdesivir that have been allocated to Louisiana from the National Stockpile, thank you for that Mr. Vice President. But we’re going to continue working at warp speed to address this, but it’s critical that we reopen our schools and I appreciate the conversation we had here today to get that done.”