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Coronavirus response roundup: Letters from lawmakers

Select missives from members of Congress regarding the pandemic

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is leading the questioning of any Deutsche Bank assistance to Trump companies.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is leading the questioning of any Deutsche Bank assistance to Trump companies. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Warren, Democrats question Deutsche Bank about Trump properties: Four Senate Democrats want to know what assistance Deutsche Bank may be providing to businesses owned by President Donald Trump or members of his family during the COVID-19 epidemic.

In a letter spearheaded Led Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the senators state, “The American public has a right to know if Deutsche Bank is providing special financial favors to the President or his family’s company so that they can determine if these favors are affecting Trump Administration policy as it relates to Deutsche Bank.”

Warren has been joined on the letter by Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the ranking Democrat on the Banking Committee, along with Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

Ernst wants to make sure victims of domestic violence get access to stimulus checks: Republican Sen. Joni Ernst wants to make sure that the Internal Revenue Service gets economic stimulus payments in the hands of people who are victims of domestic abuse.

“Even in normal circumstances, leaving an abusive situation requires immense courage and has ongoing emotional and financial struggles. Including domestic violence resources when providing Americans details on how to collect their stimulus, including information on how survivors can get access, is vital to their livelihood and ability to build a new life,” the Iowa senator wrote in a letter dated Monday to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.

Ernst cited statistics about increased domestic violence reports in Seattle, Washington, which was a particular hot spot the early phase of the fight against the novel coronavirus.

House Democrats renew Postal Service aid push: Some House Democrats are urging House and Senate leaders to include relief for the U.S. Postal Service in the next coronavirus response legislation, including $25 billion in direct appropriations and debt relief for the mail service.

Virginia Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the chairman of the subcommittee on Government Operations of the Oversight and Reform Committee, led the letter along with Reps. Brenda Lawrence of Michigan and Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney of New York. Other members also signed the letter.

“While the House of Representatives develops additional legislative solutions to support our nation’s economy and help it recover from the effects of this public health crisis, we remind you that the Postal Service is vital to America’s economic recovery from this global health crisis and should no longer be left out of coronavirus relief legislation,” the members wrote. “National mail delivery plays a critical role in the American economy that is too often overlooked.”

The most recent coronavirus economic response package would allow USPS to borrow up to an additional $10 billion, but the lawmakers say the increased lending authority is insufficient to ensure continued operations.

Republicans bristled at what they called a “bailout” of the Postal Service during negotiations over previous packages last month and did not want an overhaul of USPS funding attached to an earlier legislative response to the coronavirus.

House members fight COVID-19 price gauging: A bipartisan coalition of House members, led by Georgia Republican Rep. Buddy Carter, introduced a bill this week to prevent Americans from being scammed by price gouging and false claims about treatments and prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposal would require the Food and Drug Administration, Health and Human Services Department, Postal Service and the Internet Crime Complaint Center to inform the public about reported scams to spread awareness for people to avoid them. The information would have to encompass scams including telemarketing, mail, internet and robocall fraud and instructions on how to report scams to the authorities.

“As the nation grapples with the COVID-19 response, bad actors are taking advantage of the pandemic by scamming or price gouging innocent Americans,” Carter said in a statement. “The more Americans know about the scams, the easier it will be to protect themselves.”

The proposal is cosponsored by Democrats Ann McLane Kuster of New Hampshire and Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware and North Carolina Republican Rep. Richard Hudson.

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