Rep. Payne, Jr. Proposes a National Day of Mourning for Coronavirus Victims
Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. has introduced a House resolution to declare January 21st, 2021 a National Day of Mourning for all the Americans who have died from the COVID-19 coronavirus. The day would include a moment of silence and ask President-Elect Joe Biden to issue an order for American flags to fly at half-staff in commemoration.
“Thousands of Americans have lost the chance to mourn their loved ones due to this coronavirus,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “We need to commemorate these Americans as a show of unity for the entire country. Unfortunately, the coronavirus has taken away our ability to conduct the traditional funerals and other community services that help families and friends celebrate their deceased loved ones. But this day will serve to honor these Americans and give us a chance to mourn and grieve them as a nation.”
The day will honor the more than 250,000 Americans who have died from coronavirus. In addition, the resolution highlights how the coronavirus has been far more deadly in minority communities.
Meanwhile, Congressman Payne’s legislation to reimburse schools for the cost of face coverings due to the pandemic has passed the US House of Representatives as part of the FEMA Relief Assistance Act.
Congressman Payne, Jr.’s bill, the Masks for Students Act, would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to continue to reimburse local K-12 schools nationwide for the masks purchased to protect in-school students during the coronavirus global pandemic. The new bill contains even stronger language to support schools and states that FEMA would not be able to reject any request for reimbursement from schools for coronavirus protective equipment. Both bills were reactions to the Trump administration’s decision to stop FEMA from reimbursing schools after the decision to redefine masks as an operating expense instead of an emergency expense during the coronavirus global pandemic.
“It does not make sense to tell schools to keep their students and employees safe and then not support them in that effort,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. “They need all the help we can give them. I am pleased the House included the bill I introduced with my New Jersey colleague, Rep. Tom Malinowski, into the larger effort to use FEMA to protect our country. We are still in a national medical emergency and schools in New Jersey and nationwide should not be punished for keeping students and workers safe.”
“As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, it is more important than ever that our children and teachers are equipped with the necessary PPE at school,” said Rep. Malinowski. “I was proud to join Rep. Payne, Jr. in leading this effort to ensure New Jersey schools can continue to be reimbursed for masks purchased during this crisis.”