U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin said he believes Montgomery County will see more funding after the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help with COVID-19 costs.
“At the end of the day I think there will be a second round of funds coming to state and local governments, which will affect not only Montgomery County but your municipalities,” Cardin said at a virtual meeting with the county council.
He referred to the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which passed in the House of Representatives but not yet in the Senate. It is another fiscal relief package for state, local and municipal governments.
He said he also expects an update to the Payment Protection Program (PPP) under the CARES Act designated to help small businesses keep up with payroll during the COVID-19 crisis. The update would allow for more flexibility in use of funds. Cardin predicts this will pass within the next week.
The federal government must have an ongoing role during this pandemic, Cardin said, but he thinks President Trump’s administration has not been effective.
“This has been a disaster. America should be leading the global community in dealing with this pandemic. Instead, we are giving out misinformation, we are encouraging people to do things that are not safe,” Cardin said.
“We’ll get through this but it’s certainly been more challenging because of the Trump administration’s policies or lack of policies, or inconsistent messaging or wrong messaging.”
Recently, Trump has received backlash for advocating for the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine, which is used for malaria, lupus and arthritis, to prevent and treat COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) warned Americans about potential health risks associated with using hydroxychloroquine outside of hospitals and clinical trials.
On Wednesday Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) within the NIH and White House Coronavirus Task Force member, said the science proves that hydroxychloroquine is not reliable in treating COVID-19.
“I’m not so sure it should be banned, but clearly the scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy for it,” Fauci said on CNN. He said the drug could cause cardiovascular problems.