[HARTFORD, CT] – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined U.S. Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) and U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CT), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) in announcing legislation that would establish a bipartisan commission to provide a full accounting of the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, just as similar commissions have been established after other great national tragedies.
The Coronavirus Commission will conduct a rigorous and comprehensive review of U.S. government preparedness in advance of this pandemic, the Federal government’s response to it, and provide recommendations to improve our ability to respond to and recover from future outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics. This legislation is modeled after, and closely mirrors, legislation enacted in 2002 to create the 9/11 Commission in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States. As with the 9/11 Commission, the Coronavirus Commission will also examine state and local governments' preparedness and response.
“Once we overcome this heartbreaking crisis, the American people deserve to understand how and why we were so unprepared. Our future depends on it. A nonpartisan, independent investigation – much like what was conducted after 9/11 – is absolutely necessary to understand the mistakes that were made and develop the lessons learned,” Blumenthal said.
The Coronavirus Commission would:
Numerous experts, including several former members of the 9/11 Commission, provided feedback on the legislation. As a result, the bill contains a number of improvements including a presumption in favor of public hearings, mechanisms to encourage in person meetings among the commissioners, and several other additions that build on the 9/11 commission structure.
The legislation can be found here.
The legislation being introduced today is co-sponsored in the House by U.S. Representatives Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), David Trone (D-MD), and Denny Heck (D-WA).