April Retiree Meeting Cancelled

 Hello Brothers and Sisters,
I hope everyone is doing well and staying as safe as the times will possibly allow. There is no question that this CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19) is the most serious outbreak of a disease most of us have witness in our life time. We hold out hope and sincerely pray that there is an end to this life threatening and changing event in the not so different future.

I will say I haven't been pleased with the White House handling of this danger virus that has killed and continues to infect and impact so many lives.

The president didn't appear to take this serious until March and then he down played the impact although this had been openly going on in China since November of last year. You can not ignore the SCIENCE OR MEDICAL community regarding the public health. You can have your on personal thoughts and opinion about this extreme pandemic, my position is based on facts and careful review of all info that has been made available. I did factor out the political front many attempted to put up to cover the mistakes that have been make. It may hurt but I can handle the truth and I don't need it sugar coated.

As most you are already aware our April retiree was cancelled and those at the last meeting were informed of the necessity to start altering our schedule. If the situation doesn't change there is a good possibility we will not have a May meeting. We will notify everyone the best we can so please pass on the information as you become knowledge of any cancellations.

I would encourage you that if you have a problem with any of our health care provided pleased first call the customer service phone number on the back of your card.
I have added a couple of articles you may find of interest.
1) GM production in the much needed of safety and medical equipment. I believe President Trump has treated GM extremely wrong in the misinformation regarding this subject.
2) Senator Jones out line of the 2 trillion dollar aide package and how it will be distributed. I would caution anyone that if you fear economic/socialism you may not want to accept any of this aid provided by the government.

I pray that you all we remain safe and virus free and it will not be too long before we can continue our meeting under much happier and safe conditions.

In solidarity,
Chuck

Trump orders GM to make ventilators, without contract, at someone else's factory, by tweet
.

A day ago, Donald Trump claimed that governors were exaggerating their need for ventilators, apparently after watching some Fox News segment making the claim (not joking). Friday morning, he was screaming on Twitter about the need for more ventilators. Our resident coronavirus expert, Mark Sumner, writes about the absurdity of it all:

After spending the evening telling Sean Hannity that those greedy governors—especially pushy female governors—didn’t really need the ventilators they were desperately requesting, Donald Trump appears to have realized that literally cutting off air to Americans is a bad look. So on Friday morning, Trump did an all too typical 180 and took to Twitter to do what he does best: Blame other people for his mistakes.

On Thursday evening, The New York Times explained how Trump completely blew off an all-but-complete deal to have GM manufacture thousands of desperately needed ventilators while refusing to invoke the Defense Production Act. But on Friday, Trump demanded—demanded—that GM get right on with making ventilators, apparently for free. Only Trump addressed that demand to a Twitter account that wasn’t GM. And he ordered them to use a factory that they sold months ago.

For days, General Motors and Ventec Life Systems had been working on a deal that would use GM’s manufacturing capability to accelerate production of Ventec’s ventilators. Together, the two companies projected they could make as many as 80,000 ventilators over the next two months. The federal government’s contribution to this deal was simple enough: they would agree to buy most of these ventilators, providing GM with an up-front payment to help cover the cost of converting an existing auto plant in Indiana for the task. GM assured officials there was no issue with retooling, and Ventec and GM were reportedly moving at “breakneck speed” to meet the critical medical need.

That was before Trump decided that giving people ventilators was too pricey. With an estimated price tag for the deal at around $1 billion, that would put the ventilators at roughly $13,000 each—which is actually on the low end of what ventilators usually cost.

Trump was prepared to announce the deal on Wednesday, and hinted that he had big news coming during that day’s coronavirus-themed praise session. Instead, the deal—which reportedly included some ace negotiation from Jared Kushner—collapsed. Instead of providing thousands of generators, Trump simply went on Hannity to explain that breathing is overrated. “You go to hospitals who have don’t even have one [ventilator] in a hospital,” said Trump, “and all of a sudden everybody is asking for vast numbers.” How dare they.



Friends,

The Senate just passed the largest rescue bill in American history, and it’s going to help a lot of the people who are struggling right now.

I have done everything I could to build bipartisan consensus and get this done. That’s not easy up in Washington under the best of times. Mitch McConnell's draft bill that the Senate voted down Sunday would have left a lot of people in the cold. At times over the last 72 hours, negotiations were heated, with five of my colleagues out due to the virus and its impact, but I believe we were all looking out for the long-term best interests of our country, our families, and the economy. We know the Coronavirus presents a challenge like none we have seen in our lifetimes.

But we got there and passed with a big bipartisan majority – a bill that will do the following to help those in need:
• $130 billion in funds for hospitals, almost double what Mitch McConnell was proposing a few days ago. This will help them make sure they have the supplies they need to protect our doctors and nurses who are on the front lines.
• $150 billion in funds for states. Mitch McConnell had provided them with no direct aid despite the fact that they have been forced to spend millions of dollars to make up for the inadequate federal response.
• Unemployment benefits that leave no one behind. Senate Democrats won concessions that will provide unprecedented protections for our workers including four full months of unemployment benefits including full salaries. Benefits are also extended to self-employed workers AND workers in the gig economy.
• Direct cash payments to most Americans. If you make under $75,000, you will receive $1200. The amount will phase out for those making more.
• Protection for renters and homeowners. The aid package includes protections that prevent evictions during the crisis.
• Loans for small businesses affected by Coronavirus. Senate Democrats worked to add direct grants that will help small businesses avoid red tape and get the money they need right away.
• We were also able to remove Mitch McConnell's “anonymous bailout” language. After stories about members profiting off of stock sales in the midst of this crisis, I thought it was important that we prohibit elected officials, including the President, from receiving loans under this package.
This is a good start to get Americans the help they need right now.

Now it’s up to the House to pass this bill so we can keep rebuilding. But this crisis will demand more of each of us. This bill didn’t do everything I wanted, and I believe we will have to do more - and as this virus unfolds across our country, I have no doubt we will be back to add to the protections and support this bill provides.

We have more than four times the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S than we did when this bill was introduced Thursday.

I know I keep quoting Smokey the Bear, but it’s really important to remember that while we are going to do everything we can in the Senate to ease the economic burden and keep you safe, YOU are the front lines of the fight against Coronavirus. But no vote in Washington is going to stop this virus. Only you can do that.

This is especially not the time to let up. I’m concerned that I am hearing talk of backsliding and even some of our public officials still underestimating the crisis we are in and the number of Americans that are at risk.

The experts keep saying that the only way we are going to drastically “flatten the curve” and reduce the number of critical cases is to continue social distancing. We all still have to do our part. The good news is that social distancing works. It’s up to you and every other American to do what the medical professionals are telling us.

We can and will beat this if we all do our part. We will make it through this together. The number of cases will continue to rise, but they will go down over time, and this will be over sooner if all of us do our part. I am doing everything I can to bring that day closer for all of us.

We are all in this together.

- Doug Jones


PS: On a personal note, I am so happy to be headed home to Louise and my family. Stay safe everyone.


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